The Dodgers lost in the 2016 National Championship Series 3-2 to end one of the most magical and accomplished seasons since the world series team in 1988. The season was a roller coaster ride, they were a tough out in the playoffs, and succumbed to a better team with a better roster that had magic, fundamentals, and momentum on their side.
All in all you think you’d be understanding of the outcome, especially after the NLDS that saw us pull off one of the best postseason games this decade right?
Andrew Toles wetting the bed in the field, Corey Seager struggling at the worst possible moment, Yasmani Grandal be inept at the plate for all but one postseason game, Kenta Maeda run out of gas after his hardest workload ever, Joe Blanton finally regress at just the right time. Clayton Kershaw looking human in an NLCS game 6 again with the culprit being a balky back. Pedro Baez reverted back to his ‘slow the game down, literally’ form.
Taking all this into consideration, while Kyle Hendricks and the unapologetic domestic abuser closer began closing the door on this Dodger team I began to think “just how deep does the Dodger torture run, and is it the worst in the league?”
Well, lets consider a few things:
Torture can come in many ways, none of which are necessarily preferable to the other. It can mean low leverage failure in which a team blows for years and years and never breaks through.
Maybe they make the playoffs here or there but lose without much resistance. They had a few great things going for them, all time greats on and off the field, but just never break through. Teams like these are huge bummers, the Orioles, the Pirates, the Brewers are the names at the top of this list. They’d give almost anything to break through, but really they’ve gotta get to consistent contender first.
There are the historically challenged teams who have gone a long ass time without winning squat. This list is shorter cause the Cubs and Cleveland have broken through this year, winning pennants to meet up in the world series. The Nationals fit the bill, while the Rangers won a pennant recently they have dealt with playoff brutality frequently and haven’t broken ThCruz. *covers mouth* sorry about that. These teams have been in the playoffs a decent number of times to have felt pain recently, and have the historical futility to back it up.
The Dodgers have the 6th worst pennant drought in all of baseball. They have been futile for nearly 30 years only behind the Nationals who have never won a pennant, same with the Mariners. The Pirates last won in 1979, the Brewers last appearance in the fall classic came in 1982, the Orioles made it the year after them in 1983 but haven’t been back since. And then you have your Los Angeles Dodgers. 1988, the year my father learned to believe in magic. That team was something else, it has been the measuring stick for so many Dodger playoff teams and that’s something that no team since then has been able to measure up to since.
But even that category sells the Dodgers short. Boy. The Dodgers have taken this category to a whole new level!
ELIAS: If the Dodgers lose the NLCS, they will set an MLB record for the most consecutive postseason trips without reaching a World Series.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 22, 2016
If you’re keeping score at home, that’s 10 times in a row! Ten times in a row they could not get 7 wins in the postseason to propel them to the world series.
The MLB Record nature of that stat was jarring, there is no other team in the history of baseball who have made the postseason 10 times in a row and didn’t win a pennant.
Not the Nationals. Not the Brewers. Not the Pirates. Not the Red Sox. Not the White Sox. Nobody!
See the reason that the stat is so rare is that a postseason berth is relatively rare and when they do happen, they have a chance to be really, really special. The aforementioned teams are of the nature where they are just happy to be playing postseason baseball.
The Dodgers have perfected making it to the postseason and blowing a series they are supposed to win, blowing a lead in a series they are supposed to lose, blowing individual games they are supposed to lose but have a lead late anyways.
I can’t say much more about this franchise other that they have packed an MLB record amount of sadness into a 27 year span. 10 times in 27 years is a 37% chance to be in the postseason in any given season and they have not been able to win the pennant.
The Padres have won a pennant more recently than the Dodgers.
The Rockies have won a pennant less than a decade ago.
The Marlins have won two pennants since their inception in 1993, which was 5 years after 1988.
I mean the frickin Padres.
Maybe you don’t subscribe to the notion that a pennant is particularly important, maybe you think that there are worse teams to root for, but from a personal perspective high leverage suck is the worst out there. It harms for a long time and if there is too much of it, the memories of Matt Carpenter, Matt Stairs, Matt Adams, Daniel Murphy, Jonathan Broxton start to blend together. They are sharp, but they are part of one big narrative: that your team sucks in the playoffs.
So this is the finality of realizing that the Dodgers are one of the cursed team. They are cursed because since 1988 they have packed in a record amount of heartbreak without the payoff of a pennant to fall back on, something the Padres and Rockies, and Mets can all fall back on.