Let's be honest, you probably didn't have the Kansas City Royals penciled in as one of your choices to reach the 2014 World Series - neither did ESPN's David Schoenfield, but he's already proclaiming this year's Fall Classic as the worst ever.
By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
October 18, 2014 12:00PM EDT.
Making postseason predictions during spring training is a tradition in the baseball writing business.
That said, I'm confident if you were to look at every prediction made by a baseball writer in March you would fail to find a World Series match-up between Kansas City and San Francisco.
Unfortunately, rather than embrace the match-up that no one saw coming, ESPN's David Schoenfield published an article earlier this week calling this year's World Series the worst ever. He anchored his argument on the fact that neither Kansas City or San Francisco won their division and the two clubs combined for just 177 wins, the fourth-fewest in World Series history.
Fine. I can't argue the facts, but to blanketly call this year's World Series the worst ever - before a pitch is even thrown - is lunacy and Schoenfield should know better.
Looking at our year-end power rankings the Giants finished 7th and the Royals 11th, but any baseball person knows the best teams during the regular season rarely reach the Fall Classic. Instead, it takes a combination of dominance and luck to be playing in October.
[I published an article on this topic after the 2012 Giants won the World Series - you can read that here.]
I've noted this before on the site, but I've put together an extensive statistical model that ranks all 2,400 baseball clubs from 1900 to present. The model and formula are nearly identical to how I come up with the in-season power rankings.
Here's some context:
Of the 2,400 major league teams since 1900, the Royals rank 1,036 and the Giants 797 - meaning the average rank of the two clubs is 917. I looked back at the previous 30 seasons and found the teams in the 1987 World Series had a worse average ranking - the Twins (1,378) and the Cardinals (509) for a series average of 944.
So much for 2014 having the worst World Series, right?
Think back to that 1987 World Series. The Twins were far from a great team, having finished with an 85-77 record and a negative run differential, but they pushed the Cardinals to an entertaining seven-game series and ultimately defeated a superior team.
Yes, the '87 Twins rank as one of the worst teams to have ever won a championship, but to say the 1987 World Series was bad because the chalk didn't play for the title is a flawed way of thinking.
If the Giants go ahead next week and blow past the Royals then I could see the worst series ever argument carrying some weight, but until a pitch is thrown it's foolish to argue this year's World Series as being the worst ever.
I wonder if Schoenfield will change his mind if the series goes the distance with some extra inning and one-run games sprinkled in ... you know, not like that hasn't happened already this postseason.
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