Wednesday, September 13, 2006

MLB Wednesday Wrap: Braves Reign Over!

I wasn't sure when to discuss the end of the Braves' streak of consecutive division titles, but the morning after their mathematical elimination seems as good a time as any.

Here's my question: Where does the Braves' streak rank among all-time streaks in baseball? How about all-time team streaks in sports? Is it up there with UCLA's hoops run? I'd argue that relative competition in baseball over the last 15 years made the Braves' run MORE impressive than UCLA's.

I've said this for as long as I've written the Quickie: The Braves' consecutive-division-title streak is the most impressive ever in team sports. More than UCLA. More than the Yankees. More than Oklahoma's 1970s winning streak (though consecutive games and consecutive division titles, especially in two different sports, is really apples-to-oranges.)

(The only real downside to the Braves' run? All those division titles, with only ONE World Series title to show for it. I've argued this before: I'll take 2 playoff appearances – and 2 World Series championships (Marlins) – over 14 playoff appearances and only one W.S. title.)

So, in the Comments Question of the Day, where do you rank the Braves' streak? How huge was it? Of all reasonable MLB streaks -- individual and team -- is this the most likely to go unbroken? I'm no Braves fan, but it's worthy of the question.

More Wednesday MLB Notes:

David Ortiz is whining with the way the media portrayed his griping about the AL MVP voting. What a clod: He said what he said, and now is probably worried that he alienated MVP voters by saying it. He's the MVP all right: "Most Valuable P----."

AL Central Mania: The White Sox lost another game to the Twins (who beat the A's) and the Tigers (who edged the Rangers).

On the plus side, if there's a single-elimination playoff between the teams for either the Wild Card or the division title, the White Sox would have home-field advantage, courtesy of the ol' coin flip.

(The defending champs are SO FAR AWAY from being able to use that coin flip. Maybe they can trade it to the Twins in exchange for getting a game back in the Wild Card standings. What a trade that would be!)

The Mets can clinch the NL East division title tonight. See above item, but Mets fans under the age of, say, 21 can't remember a time when the Braves didn't win the division. That's wild.

Hideki Matsui is back in the NYY lineup (4 hits) and Sheffield may be back later this week. And the Yankees just became a lot more dangerous. Right now, even with the iffy pitching, they're my pick to win the AL title. And it gives me no joy to say that.

Albert Pujols beat Brad Lidge... all together now: "AGAIN."

The Blue Jays say they lost $22 million this season. Given that they took on $20 million in new salaries, that's not so surprising. It's too bad they lost the money they spent, because it was heartening to see them spend to try to be competitive in the first place. Hopefully, they'll still stick to their plan to continue spending this offseason.

-- D.S.

40 comments:

Mark (Austin, TX) said...

The Braves streak ranks as probably the best streak in pro sports (you can't really compare it to college sports for a variety of reasons). Yes it would be better if they had won more titles, but 14 straight years of division titles is one of the most impressive streaks ever.

Look back over baseball history, before free agency and the big money, and the Yankees couldn't do it, the Dodgers couldn't do it, the Sox couldn't do it, only the Braves did it, in a setup that discourages exactly that kind of dynasty building. I think this will sit there with Maris' 56 game hitting streak as something that will never be broken.

Braves streak #1, Bills streak of 4 straight superbowls #2, Patriots/Steelers 3 out of 4 superbowls #3.

I think the White Sox are done now. I don't think there is any way they can make up the ground they need to in the last 20 games. The defending champs are done.

Brad Lidge needs to be traded, he will never be that kind of uber closer again while in Houston.

Toronto losses more money than the Marlins payroll, yet the Marlins' are in the playoff hunt. I continue to find those kind of numbers funny.

CMFost said...

None of those streaks compare to the celtics of the 50's and 60's. Yeah 14 straght division titles is good, going to 4 straght Super bowls is impressive and winning 3 out of 4 super bowls is also pretty good but it is nothing compared to the Celtics 8 Straight NBA Championships and 10 in 11 Years.

That is the most impressive streak ever no question.

Jon said...

The Braves steak will be beaten eventually. With the Yankees cash flow it could be broken within the next few years. While it is impressive it's not that outstanding because they rarely did anything with it. I'd rather be the Marlins fan like you say winning every few years and then just being awful/fire sales in between.

White Sox are done now. Detroit is awful right now, but minus the 3 games against the Sox next week ther rest of their games are against the Orioles, Blue Jays and Royals. That's cake.....but then again they are the Tigers.

So, with Papi killing his chances for MVP by running his fat mouth, Dye probably losing out as it looks like the other Sox will also be missing the playoffs and the Twins trio stealing votes from each other does that mean Jeter sneaks in and wins the MVP?

Jon said...

UCLA's win streak was pretty impressive too...

Christian (High Point, NC) said...

"Mets fans under the age of, say, 21 can't remember a time when the Braves didn't win the division." Uh, of course they can Dan. The Braves streak started in the NL West. They've won the NL East division crown 'only' 11 years in a row.

Christian (High Point, NC) said...

Also, the Braves run is tainted by the fact that they were set to lose the division to the Expos back in 1994. In reality, they've won 14 crowns in 15 years.

Mmm, these grapes sure are sour!

Mikepcfl said...

Dan, how can the Braves' streak be that impressive, when even you say you would rather have the Marlins' success than the Braves? It shows incredible consistency, but not greatness. Winning a division title nowadays is nothing compared to winning the pennant before divisions were created. Without actual championships thrown in, it isnt that great. It is like winning honorable mention 14 years straight.

Rafael said...

No mention of Abreu's day? Cmon Dan.

I am always a little bitter about the Braves run because I was a Braves fan when I was young...Dale Murphy was my favorite player...And the Braves didn't start winning until after they traded him. I was too injured by that to root on (I was young and thought all teams should be loyal to players, oops). Then the strike knocked me out of baseball until the Reds season in 99 (which, I believe, brought more people back to baseball than the McGwire/Sosa roid fest of 98)

gerard e. said...

1. Very impressive run by the Braves. During the era of steroids, multi-purpose parks, neo-classical parks, transcontinental air travel, a permanent drought of pitching. Consider four potential Hall of Famers from that period- Cox, Smoltz, Maddux, Glavine. Even survived Deion Sanders.

2. Off-topic- both Philly papers report that Flyers Captain Keith Primeau will probably announce his retirement by the end of the week. He never recovered from the effects of multiple concussions last season. An honorable player who gave his best. Succumbing to a condition all too common in his sport. Why the KC Chiefs- with Trent Green out at least two weeks- and Carolina Panthers- with Dan Morgan's history of hearing bells and whistles after the refs' whistles blew- should be more intensely concerned.

hende said...

The Braves streak is mildly impressive, but doesn't compare to the Bruins or Yankees or any other streak of winning championships. Just making the playoffs is more of a (dys)function of your division, when compared to your success in the playoffs. I'd compare it more to the Bills' streak of Super Bowls, where the were clearly the best in a sample set, but outclassed in the big picture. Except when the Braves beat the Indians, of course.

CorrND said...

mark said:

"Toronto losses more money than the Marlins payroll, yet the Marlins' are in the playoff hunt. I continue to find those kind of numbers funny."

Agreed, but at least Toronto can point to their better record in the much tougher league.

And I also have to agree with the general consensus that consecutive championships are more impressive and cmfost's contention that the Celtics run is the most impressive of all championship runs.

the heroin sheik said...

Braves run would have been number one if maybe they could have thrown in another two ws wins. That celtics run is impressive but my money is on david wells' longstanding title as fattest man in baseball or michael irvins string of consecutive games played while under the influence of crack. Records are made to be broken and there are only 2 i am convinced will never be broken in my lifetime. Dimaggio's 56 and rickey hendersons stolen bases in a season. Dimaggio's might be broken but with baseball talent I just dont see someone breaking a hundred steals again in a yr.

WedgeMcWedgy said...

What about the St. Louis Blues making the NHL playoffs for 24 years straight 1980-2004, that needs to at least be the #2 streak if not #1 right?

However, the reason you might still consider the Braves a little more might be the number of teams from conference that make the MLB playoffs (4 out of 16) opposed to the NHL (8 out of 15).

Braves at least got 1 title, Blues have 0 Stanley Cups.

If anything though, what other team in pro sports than the Blues can say they've only missed the playoffs 4 times in their franchises 35+ year history?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised the Jays lost money this year. I wonder if their TV deal is less than it should be considering Rogers owns both the Jays and the network that 90% of the Jays games are on. The Jays get to be the hometeam to everyone in Canada as almost every game (possibly all) are broadcast across the country, as well as all the analysts and sports shows talking about the Jays as if they were the hometeam.

whocares said...

Is nobody on here going to call out the first guy's post? You're all baseball fans and going to let it slide that Mark said that Roger Maris has the consecutive games hitting streak? Uhhh, Joe Dimaggio anyone?

mkud said...

What, no mention of the harrowing Hernandez/Buck dugout fight during the Royals game last night. It's that kind of thing that reaffirms my belief in these athletes. You spend so much time railing against David Ortiz for a comment that may have been drawn out by a media member, and completely neglect a situation that truly affects fans.

Dan Shanoff said...

I should have mentioned the Royals brawl and Abreu's 6-RBI 1st inning. Agreed. -- D.S.

Jay said...

The Braves have definatley had the greatest streak of all time; I agree with Mark 100%- before the days of Free Agency, nobody could come anywhere close to it-

The 14 straight division titles displays the consistancy that the Braves came out and played with every day, every year- Over the past 14 years, no single team has been more dominant in multiple seasons; mabye 2 or 3, but never anything close to the consistancy that the Braves and Bobby Cox (the best manager in baseball, ever) have displayed.

Richard said...

Maybe I'm a bit biased because I'm from South Florida and a Marlins fan (one of the dozen). However, the Braves' "streak" while impressive, is not even going to be remembered in 50 years. DS, you said it yourself. 2 World Series titles from the Marlins is better. The UCLA run comprises of championships. Hell, I'd rather be a Broncos fan and have 2 straight titles in 97 and 98.

Anonymous said...

wedge - I'm sorry, but St. Louis' streak is not even in the same league as any other streak mentioned here, not to mention the Braves'.

First of all, the Braves streak is in DIVISION TITLES, not simply playoff appearances. How many divisions did St. Louis win in those 24 years?

Secondly, even if we were comparing playoff appearances...throughout about half of the Blues' streak, there were only 24 teams in the NHL, so fully 2/3 of the teams made the playoffs. For the first few years of the Braves' steak, ONLY division winners made the playoffs.

mark - Along with the aforementioned correction about DiMaggio's hit streak, the Steelers never won 3 of 4 Super Bowls. They won 2, then missed 2, then won 2. The Cowboys are the other team to win 3 of 4.

Kurt (CT) said...

Dan don't kid yourself. The Yankees are the team to beat in the entire league not just the AL. The Yankees 9th inning lineup last night (1 starter) could beat your Marlins with ease.

Rafael said...

I would argue that the Marlins 2 Series championships (can't say World Series anymore) aren't memorable.
You can ask me to name the last 5 champs and I don't think I can answer..same for football.
Reds last won in 1990. I remember that. I dont remember the Marlins and noone outside FLorida does either. (not to pick on the Marlins, I think this is true of all teams)

rafael said...

That made little sense. haha

I mean that fans of other teams don't remember the champions unless their team won or their team lost.

roboninja said...

I think the Braves streak is admirable, but really, with only 1 champiionship, it goes down more as opportunity wasted than anything else. The Indianapolis Colts of baseball (as long as P. Manning does not win one over the next 10 years).
As for the Blue Jays losses, it is rumoured that, since the same company owns the team, the stadium, and the TV sports channel they get broadcast on, there may be some internal money funneling going on. The owner of the company came out and said such losses of $20-25M / season are sustainable, so it is not like they are going to slash costs. In fact, it has been reported that the payroll will increase again next season for Riccadri.

Richard said...

OK, I have a better argument for you. You want to know how pointless the Braves "streak" is? Look at the 49ers. They won 10 or more games a season for 20 straight non-strike season. Probobly the most impresssive thing thats happened in the Super Bowl era. There isn't one person on the planet (including in the Bay area) that cares. All anyone remembers about the 49ers dynasty are the 5 Super Bowl wins. Dynastys are defined by championships, not runner ups. Who had the dynasty in the 90's: the Bills or the Cowboys?

1 of consequence said...

you would take 2 playoff appearances and 2 titles over 14 appearances and 1 title.

we had this exact debate at work about 2 months ago and i am inclined to take the 1 title and 14 playoff trips (maybe its because im from philly).

my question is, how many playoff appearances would it take (if 12 additional aren't enough) to make up for the one less title.

Thom & Amanda McMurray said...

I don't know where the streak ranks compared to others, but I noticed today that during the Braves' run every National League team has made the playoffs except Milwaukee (who spent part of that time in the AL) and Montreal/Washington. This includes Colorado(!) and Pittsburgh(!!). Heck, 8 of the 15 other teams went to the World Series during that strech. How's that for a generation-spanning streak?

CMFost said...

WedgeMcWedgy, St. Louis streak is impressive but it is not even the longest in NHL history. That Belongs to the Boston Bruins who streak went at least 26 years but i believe actually ended after 28 years in a row in the playoffs

The Sportsvixen said...

I'm 29 but didn't get really into baseball til I was in about 6th grade which was the last time they didn't win it. It's hard to say where the streak ranks, I think UCLAs is pretty damn impressive though considering you have kids graduating every 4 yrs and no opportunity to lock them down by long contracts as in the pros. I'm just glad the streak is over, and my Mets are the team that ended it. Haha Cox-suckers! The Braves fans were beyond obnoxious about it. I agree with the other poster who compared it to getting honorable mentions.

Anonymous said...

Braves didn't win the pennant in '96 due to the strike - even then Montreal would've won it....so to me any of the years pre-'96 should not count.

As for the Jays - if they were in any other division, they would be on top. Playing the Sox and Yanks and having them ahead of them is a total disadvantage - if the Marlins and the Jays switched divisions, the fish would be battling the D-Rays for the floor and the Jays would be in a dog fight with the Mets...or at least for the W/C.

Uncle Teddy (Ted Rogers - the owner) has comitted to raise the payroll from $77 - to possibly the low to mid $90's next season.

Signing Vernon to a long term extension is on everyone's mind up here in Toronto and will command at least $16.5 mil a season.....

The Jays are going to be a very...very dangerous team next year.

Tino said...

Thanks Whocares. I was wondering when someone was going to correct that bonehead remark. Maris by the way still holds the non-steroid HR record.

Benjamin Kabak said...

It's a tough call for me on the Braves' streak. On one hand, it shows great roster management skills by Schuerholz and great managing by Cox and Mazzone. But one of the other aspects of this streak has been very diluted competition. For much of this streak, one of the teams in the division was the MLB-owned and neglected Expos. The Braves beat up on the Expos/Nats during their run. Another team - the Marlins - has gone through stretches of success followed by utter failure. While the Mets have been on-and-off competitive and the Phillies have been alright, I believe that if you put the Braves back in the old NL West configuration, they never would have won all of these division titles in a row. Impressive? yes. Best streak in pro sports? Maybe not.

Stephen said...

I'm 24 and a Mets fan since being released from the womb. While I can remember other teams winning the NL East (Cardinals, Cubs, Pirates) to name a few, most of that's because I'm a baseball fanatic.

Really, what people don't realize is that the Braves have been winners of the "new NL East" Keep in mind that they won in from '91 to '93 in the old format of 2 divisions, under the NL West. After realignment took place, they have been the only winners of the NL East (although technically the Expos would have won the division in '94 if not for the strike).

So you can see that it is possible people, especially those getting intrested in baseball around that time, don't realize that

Mike said...

14 division titles is impressive and probably won't be approached for a long time. But I tend to look at unbeaten streaks over the course of several years to be more impressive. The fact that UCLA went more than two years (closer to three) without losing a game is amazing, so I would have to put that at the top.

I don't see Joe D's 56-game streak ever being passed. Think about it: when Pete Rose got to 44 games back in 78, he was still TWO WEEKS worth of games away. It's tough to put together a 12-game streak, let alone with the pressure of having a long streak going anyway. With all of the different variables in baseball now, that record won't be touched.

CMFost said...

14 Straight Division Titles - Impressive
4 Straight Super bowls - Not Bad
3 Super titles in 4 Years - Very Good

8 Straight NBA Championships and 10 in 11 Years - That by far is the greatest run in the history of Sports.

The only thing close would be the Bulls in the 90's when they won 6 in 7 years

Zipperhead said...

The Braves streak is not impressive despite only one series win, it is lame BECAUSE OF only one series win.

...Mets fan in the south

Anonymous said...

Streak isn't as impressive as it first looks, since in 1994, if I remember correctly they were about 6 games back of Montreal when the season was cancelled. Other than that, it was pretty impressive. I still prefer my Back to Back titles in 92 and 93, but that just might be me.

Doctor J said...

You r stupid David Ortiz was right, don't hate him cuz hes black. Derek Jeter is the p****

Anonymous said...

I hate the Braves. Bobby Cox is a wife-beater. I hope their demise signals a rebirth of my team, the team that has had a parallel 14 consecutive losing seasons since losing to the Braves in the NLCS game 7 in 1992, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

I also hate Barry Bonds, but not for the obvious, current events reasons. I hate Barry Bonds because Mr. Left Field Gold Glove could not throw out Sid Bream (I could throw out Sid Bream) at the plate with two outs and the World Series on the line. I had four tickets to each World Series game to be played in Pittsburgh, and Barry Bonds couldn't throw out Sid Bream, perhaps the slowest man in baseball in 1992, with two reconstructed knees, on a sharply hit single by Francisco Cabrera off Stan Belinda (why Stan Belinda was in the game, I will never know. Hey Leyland, leave Drabek in. Bring in Wakefield. Anyone but Stan Belinda. With the World Series on the line, I thought Stan might actually vomit before throwing a pitch. This is why the Tigers are about to drop out of the playoffs. Leyland has bad karma. I don't care about his success with the Marlins. Yes I am a little bitter.). Why Bonds even fielded the ball is a mystery. It was Andy Van Slyke's play, he had the better angle and he had the better arm.

Anyway, perhaps the Braves mojo will pass to the Pirates and they can have a winning record in 2007, or 2008, or maybe by 2009....

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