They have a 20-game lead in their division. They’ve already secured a playoff spot. As long as they’re in the playoffs, they’ll likely have home-court advantage. They are 10 wins away from the most wins in franchise history (which would surpass last year’s record). We haven’t seen such a good team in a long, long time.
If they don’t win the World Series, it doesn’t make sense.
I know I shouldn’t say that. I knew I should be all about “appreciating how good this team is!” “The playoffs are random and anything can happen!” and “The Dodgers don’t need a title for us to recognize that they are How incredible!” But, for better or worse, the baseball world is now a world that values playoff success over regular-season success. In terms of playoff success…well, that’s why the Dodgers are an NL West dynasty and not an MLB dynasty. The Dodgers could win 119 games this year — they could have won 162 — and if they didn’t win the World Series, they’d be considered the Warriors of the 1990s and early 2000s. I’m not saying it’s fair. I’m just saying it’s true.
For what it’s worth, it’s far from an insult to a team Worse than saying they were like the Warriors of the 1990s: Those teams were great, great, winning 14 straight NL East titles (14 straight!) and the 1995 World Series. The Dodgers haven’t even done that much already, all in all; they won eight straight NL West titles (despite winning 106 games) before finishing second last year, and they’re three games into the World Series and won as many wins as the Warriors. But admit it: when I say “1990s warrior,” you know exactly what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the disappointment of the playoffs. These Warriors had 14 consecutive World Series wins, but only took advantage of one. That is, fair or not, how they will be remembered.
And the Dodgers are now in their 10th year of a similar streak— — they did make it to the NLCS the year they finished second in the division, remember — and they have just as many World Series titles to their name. You could argue that their World Series title resonates more than the Warriors’ title in their first season after the strike.
The Dodgers’ only World Series title was during the shortened 2020 season , won at a neutral location in the form of Universal Life Stadium. I do believe the championship should absolutely count — everyone had a chance to win the World Series that year, only the Dodgers did — and I sympathize with the arguments that winning the series that year was actually harder, considering the small Sample season and extra round of playoffs. But I also think it’s fair to say that the public doesn’t feel that way about the 2020 World Series.
The Dodgers’ final decade of the playoffs was a series of heartwarming broken things. 2013 and 2014 for the Cardinals. The 2015 NLDS fell to Jacob deGrom and the Mets in Game 5. Against the doomed Cubs in ’16. The ’17 World Series loss to the Astros, one of the greatest ever, still reeling from the Astros’ logo-stealing scandal, may or may not have contributed to Houston’s championship. (Speaking of teams whose narratives don’t help the team in any way.)
Dodgers Team has won the World Series in six straight playoffs (2020) or lost to a team that has won the World Series before (2021 Warriors, 2019 Nationals, 2018 Red Sox, 2017 Astros and 2016 Cubs), which is actually pretty remarkable.
These are a lot of teams making history on the back of the Dodgers , which also contributed to the idea that the team is the darling of the regular season, but also a permanent postseason. While their regular-season success has been wildly inconsistent, it doesn’t help that their hated rivals, the Giants, have won two more titles than Los Angeles this century. All in all, which team would you rather be: a team that’s great every year but keeps losing in the playoffs, or a team that only makes the playoffs every few years but has a high win rate in the World Series. High teams…or at least twice as many as their opponents?
Of course, this is totally unfair. There isn’t a team in baseball that doesn’t envy the Dodgers. I’m not trying to deprive the Dodgers of their myriad achievements here. They should definitely be considered the favorites to make the playoffs. But are they a favorite in the field? I don’t think they are. This isn’t the first time they’ve been playoff favorites, and they’ve failed before.
This Dodgers is one of the best baseball teams I can remember watching one. Then again, so does the 2021 Dodgers. I remember the Warriors in ’21 — you know, the team that won the World Series — a lot more than I remember the Dodgers in ’21. Unless they win the World Series, the ’22 Dodgers, no matter how many games they win, will suffer the same fate. It’s not fair. But who says baseball is fair?