I am not a Yankee fan.
Nope. I don't like the Braves either.
Yet, when you look back at their lengthy periods of excellence, you've just got to tip your caps to both organizations.
The Yankees will not be playing postseason baseball for the first time in the Derek Jeter era; that's a 13-year streak that ended earlier this week. As Jared Smith put it, "October Just Won't Be the Same" without the Bombers.
Meanwhile, the Braves had won 14-straight division titles (not counting the strike year of '94) until their run ended in 2006.
There will be those who say the Bronx Bombers haven't won a thing since 2000, or Atlanta won just one World Series title.
But could you imagine all those consecutive appearances in the MLB postseason, the most difficult playoff system to qualify for in professional sports?
Just ask the New York Mets. The 2008 Metropolitans were expected to dominate the NL East, especially with the acquisition of former Minnesota ace Johan Santana to go along with big names like Delgardo, Beltran, Wright, and Pedro on that talent-laden roster.
Santana has been very good this season, but not dominant—a la Pedro Martinez circa 1997-2000. Santana hasn't given the Mets that invincible aura the way Roger Clemens did for the Red Sox of the 1980s or Jimmy Key for the Yankees in 1993-'94.
The Mets' bullpen has been brutal, giving up several blown leads and on Wednesday, they failed to nail down a victory after taking a four-run advantage for an alarming eighth time this year.
And there was last year's fiasco when they couldn't "hang on" to a seven-game lead in the division with only 17 to play.
So, it is tough being the favorites and actually performing up to expectations.
(Note: I'm not dissing the Mets. I still think they'll make the postseason. After all, they're battling the Brewers, right? And no, CC Sabathia—he and his 10-2, 1.78 record—isn't going to pitch Friday or Saturday for Milwaukee.)
And just ask the L.A. Dodgers of the Kevin Brown era (1999-2003). The Bums never once made the postseason during that stretch, and in fact, they finally won the NL West the year after Brown was sent to the Bronx.
The Seattle Mariners couldn't win the AL West in 1998, despite having the trio of Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, and Ken Griffey Jr. together for the final season. (As a side note: Don't you feel sorry for Ichiro? The M's best player hasn't sniffed the playoffs since his rookie year in 2001.)
It's tough to live up to everyone's (read: experts') expectations.
Right now, it seems the L.A. Angels (four AL West titles in the last five years) and Boston Red Sox (five postseason berths in the last six seasons) have been the models of consistency.
But they're not in the same class as the Braves or Yankees.
Neither Atlanta nor New York will be in the dance this year, and I'm sure many out there love that fact. Still, let's give both organizations their due. Let's applaud them for their incomparable levels of success.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!