This article is part of our MLB Observations series.
Wednesday's "daily draft" on SiriusXM Fantasy might have been my favorite yet. Inspired by the defeated teams seen in The Last Dance, and the fantastic #Bulldozed YouTube series by Bomani Jones - you really should check these videos out. The goal here is to identify the near-great teams, the ones that never crossed the threshold to win a title. We invited Yahoo Fantasy's Scott Pianowski to join us, and he was a perfect guest for the format.
Here are the ground rules:
- Team Sports Only - As great as it would be to point out near tennis or golf greats, they don't count.
- One Title Disqualifies - Even though the Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz Atlanta Braves fell short so many times, they still won a World Series over the Indians in 1995, so they don't count.
- Era Specific - Ideally the time span should cover multiple years, but not the entire life of the franchise. The Pacers' ABA titles don't disqualify the Reggie Miller-led teams. Likewise, when a player leaves his known team to chase a ring elsewhere, that doesn't eliminate his original franchise.
In honor of Scott's awesome podcast and the drafts associated with them, this was a non-snaking draft, and we gave Scott first pick. While he acknowledged that it wasn't one of the obvious, canonical examples, it was one of the more fun teams - the Phi Slamma Jamma Houston Cougars featuring Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and friends. Liss & I followed with more obvious examples, the K-Gun Buffalo Bills and the Patrick Ewing Knicks respectively. But the fun in this draft was the discussion, anyhow - how close did they come, why they were so good, why did they fall short, were we cheering for or against them, etc ... The hour flew by. I really hope that you listen to the full show on demand on SiriusXM.com - it's worth your time.
Here are the full results to the draft:
|1||Pianow||Phi Slamma Jamma|
|1||Erickson||Patrick Ewing Knicks|
|2||Pianow||1990's Cleveland Indians|
|2||Liss||Phoenix Suns 2000|
|2||Erickson||Dan Marino Dolphins|
|3||Pianow||1980's Cleveland Browns|
|5||Pianow||Earl Campbell Houston Oilers|
|5||Erickson||San Jose Sharks|
|6||Pianow||Ray Bourque Bruins|
|6||Liss||1970s Red Sox|
|6||Erickson||Reggie Miller Pacers|
Results By Team:
|Phi Slamma Jamma||1990s Bills||Patrick Ewing Knicks|
|1990s Cleveland Indians||Phoenix Suns 2000s||Dan Marino Dolphins|
|1980s Cleveland Browns||2010-2020 Saints*||Fab Five|
|Justin Verlander/Miguel Cabrera Tigers||1990s-2000s Mariners||Stockton-Malone Jazz|
|Earl Campbell Houston Oilers||1970's Vikings||San Jose Sharks|
|Ray Bourque Bruins||1970s Red Sox||Reggie Miller Pacers|
Usually we ask for your "vote" on who won the draft, but in this case, I think the discussion of these teams and the noteworthy omissions are more interesting. That was definitely the flavor of the discussion on Twitter of this draft. So in that vein, here were my top omissions:
- Tottenham Hotspur over the last five years.
- Ted Williams-era Red Sox teams.
- Shaq/Penny Orlando Magic teams.
- Vancouver Canucks with the Sedin Twins.
- Marty Schottenheimer's non-Browns teams, with nearly equal and weird heartbreaks in Kansas City and San Diego.
Scott and Chris suggested that the current Clayton Kershaw-led Dodgers could be our biggest omission, and I think they might be right, though the story isn't over for them - they're still the odds-on favorite to at least get to the World Series, which is probably why I overlooked them.
Who else would you have included if you were to add your own six teams? Or maybe it's just one big omission? Let us know!