Just as the 2017 World Series begins we find ourselves faced with a troublesome statistical problem, which could just make this the most unique Series in MLB history.
We know this is the first time in 47 years that two 100-win teams have met in a World Series: in 1970 the Baltimore Orioles (108 wins) bested the Cincinnati Reds (102 wins) winning four games to one.
So we recognize the Houston Astros (101-61) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (104-58) are making MLB history in 2017, but it doesn’t need to stop there.
The Dodgers and Astros will also be the 16th and 17th MLB teams to win 100 games in a regular season this century.
And this is where the first sign of trouble pops up (if you don’t count the roaming charges on Yasiel Puig’s tongue).
The first MLB team to win at least 100 games in the 2000s was the 2001 Seattle Mariners (116-46), who were ingloriously eliminated in the AL Championship Series by the New York Yankees four games to one.
Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist Steve Greenberg recently pointed out that of the 15 MLB teams to win at least 100 games this century, only one of those teams went on to win the World Series.
In 2009, the 103-win New York Yankees (it would be them again) took four games to one from the Philadelphia Phillies.
All this means that only 7% of all the teams who won 100 games in a season in the 2000s were able to actually win the World Series.
Which leaves the Dodgers and Astros in an uncomfortable percentile position. (See your doctor if that persists more than 162 games.)
From where I sit (in a desolate train station late at night somewhere in the rust belt) it looks to me like LA and Houston will clearly go to a Game 7, and then into extra innings.
A lot of extra innings.
I could be wrong here, but I was told by some Generals that baseball’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement now allows for a tie in the World Series.
If a WS Game 7 goes 30 extra innings, as I understand it, playing is immediately halted and both teams are declared Series losers.
Which means everybody loses. Because that’s just the way the raw numbers are working out this century.