MLB teams have been officially working out at their respective Spring Training complexes for about a week now, but things are about to get real on Friday.
The games don’t count yet, but it’s the first time we’ll be seeing big league teams taking the field to play one another in an organized fashion since Game 7 of the 2017 World Series. Veterans will start getting into game shape, young players will begin trying to prove they’re worth a roster spot, position battles will commence, and most importantly, the road to the Fall Classic will get underway.
We’ve been pretty spoiled this century with regard to watching teams break long championship droughts. The Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs, and Houston Astros all went at least 25 years between championships (or their first, if you’re the Astros).
Three of those teams had to wait at least 80 years before hoisting another World Series trophy, too. Now that the Cubs’ 108-year championship drought is over, there’s a new club on top of this unfortunate list — the Cleveland Indians. They have come very close on a couple occasions, but haven’t won a Fall Classic since 1948.
What do the current World Series droughts look like for the rest of the league? The below list details all 30 teams, ranked from the longest to the shortest droughts.
|Team||World Series Titles||Last Title||Drought|
|San Diego Padres||0||N/A||49|
|New York Mets||2||1986||32|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||6||1988||30|
|Toronto Blue Jays||2||1993||25|
|Tampa Bay Rays||0||N/A||20|
|Los Angeles Angels||1||2002||16|
|Chicago White Sox||3||2005||13|
|New York Yankees||27||2009||9|
|St. Louis Cardinals||11||2011||7|
|Boston Red Sox||8||2013||5|
|San Francisco Giants||8||2014||4|
|Kansas City Royals||2||2015||3|
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Just Trying to Punch a Ticket
Seven MLB clubs have never won a World Series. That already seems like an unfortunate club to be in, but the Washington Nationals and Seattle Mariners distinguish themselves even further by never gaining entry into the Fall Classic.
Seattle hasn’t even made a trip to the postseason since 2001, which is the longest streak in baseball. General manager Jerry Dipoto has been doing everything he can in recent years to break that drought, but they’ve come up short each time. If the Mariners want to have a chance at emerging from a reasonably deep American League West division to grab one of the available playoff spots, they’ll need a healthy pitching staff, with James Paxton leading the way.
As for the Nationals, the roster is primed to reach October for what would be the fifth time since 2012 (and fourth since 2014). Getting to the playoffs hasn’t been a problem — it’s getting out of the first round that’s been tough. None of their four postseason appearances in Washington have resulted in advancing past the National League Division Series. The furthest they’ve gotten as a franchise (including the Montreal Expos) happened in 1981 when they reached the NLCS.
Just Trying to Get Back and Erase Bad Memories
Among this group of teams with no titles, we’re left with the Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, and Tampa Bay Rays. The Rangers and Padres are the only ones to reach the Fall Classic on multiple occasions, but there’s yet another smaller and distinguished group.
San Diego and Colorado are both unique because they’ve registered more World Series appearances than World Series games won.
The Padres lost to the Detroit Tigers in five games back in 1984 and were swept by that dominant New York Yankees squad in 1998. The Rockies’ lone Fall Classic appearance came in 2007, and they got there in impressive fashion — they swept the Phillies in the NLDS before doing the same to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS. Unfortunately, they were met by the Red Sox, who proceeded to sweep them for their second title in four seasons.
Tampa Bay nearly joined these two, but they beat the Phillies once in the 2008 World Series, so they get a push here.
The Wait Will Only Get Longer (Probably)
If baseball has taught us anything lately, it’s that the possibilities of what can happen are endless. However, there are a handful of teams that have already been waiting a while for a title and will probably have to wait a little longer based on the organization’s general direction.
There are currently five teams that have been waiting at least 30 years for a championship (the Dodgers, Mets, Tigers, Orioles, and Pirates). Of these squads, only the Dodgers stand out as legitimate championship contenders. New York has a chance to challenge for a playoff spot if they can keep the majority of their team off the disabled list, as well.
Baltimore is technically going for it since Manny Machado hasn’t yet been traded, but their additions to the rotation shouldn’t instill a bunch of confidence in what’s a very top-heavy AL East. The Tigers are in the beginning stages of a full rebuild, and while the Pirates want people to think they’re still trying to win, it’s hard to imagine that as being totally true after trading away both Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole this past winter.
About Matt Musico
Matt Musico currently manages Chin Music Baseball and contributes to The Sports Daily. His past work has been featured at numberFire, Yahoo! Sports and Bleacher Report. He’s also written a book about how to become a sports blogger. You can sign up for his email newsletter here.