Our own Jonathan Gamble recently put up an amazing piece defining a competitive window. If you haven’t read that, go do so now. Don’t worry, this is pre-written text. Even in the event of the apocalypse, the power grid should still be up for a few days. You’ve got time! It’ll still be where you left it when you come back. Done? Cool.
While reading that I came upon his opening definition:
In order to determine whether our “window” is open or not (and what constitutes an open window), I researched the past five World Series champions. For our purposes, we’re going to assume it is World Series-or-bust (losing in the Wild Card game isn’t good enough).
My immediate gut reaction was to disagree. That isn’t to say he’s wrong, (in fact I imagine he could pen a better argument than I would.) but it is to say that what an individual defines as “success” is variable. Take our own beloved Twinkies from 2001-2010. In that 10 year span they won the division 6 times, came in 2nd twice (one of which being losing a game 163) and 3rd twice.
That certainly feels like an “open” window to me. However, once we put the post-season into the discussion we see that only once did those same Twins win a post-season series, that being the 2002 team that beat the Moneyball Oakland team and paved the way for a Hollywood movie to feature a scene of a conspicuously skinny Eddie Guardado jumping for joy while Brad Pitt looks sad. That team would then manage to win an entire one games in the ALCS.
With the post-season in mind, was that 10 year run a success or a failure? I can certainly see the argument for both, even if I easily consider it a success. What do we as fans really want out of “our” teams? We’re strange creatures that can both profess our love for our favorite player and then harshly condemn them for leaving after “our” billionaire decides to not offer them their market value. We’re the ones who can enjoy every moment of a 162 game season only to bemoan the whole thing as a waste the moment they lose a playoff series.
It is here you lovely people come in! I would like to present to you two (somewhat extreme) 10 year histories of hypothetical teams, and then present you with a poll asking which team you would prefer to be a fan of. Please vote and discuss below to satiate my curiosity. I promise to track down every single user who doesn’t and openly weep into their morning breakfast cereal, you horrible and evil bastards.
Team A tanks the first 4 years, losing 90-100 games each miserable season. After one season of mediocrity they go all in and manage to win the World Series. The next season they lose early in the playoffs. In their 8th season things fall apart, and by the trade deadline the rebuild has began anew. The next 2 season are unmitigated disasters similar to the first 4.
Team B wins its division or the wildcard 7 times in its 10 year run. Two of the years it does not, the team takes second and is in the race until late in the season. One year of bad luck is mixed somewhere within, and the team is mediocre and mostly out of the post season equation by mid-season. Despite all the opportunities, Team B never once reaches the world series.
And the poll:
Which team would you rather be a fan of?
This poll is closed
(The joke option was going to be “Ignore both teams and replace baseball with a 24 hour livestream of Joe Mauer drinking milk” but I didn’t want to dilute the results.)
The options are fairly black and white, but I’m still really interested in the idea. Do more of us just want the sweet sweet joy of seeing our laundry win it all, or do more of us prefer having as much competitive and meaningful baseball as we can get our hands on, final results be damned.