Near Dynasties

Near Dynasties

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:

  1. Team Sports Only - As great as it would be to point out near tennis or golf greats, they don't count.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 - it's worth your time.

Here are the full results to the draft:

1PianowPhi Slamma Jamma
1Liss1990s Bills
1EricksonPatrick Ewing Knicks
2Pianow1990's Cleveland Indians
2LissPhoenix Suns 2000
2EricksonDan Marino Dolphins
3Pianow1980's Cleveland Browns
3Liss2010-2020 Saints*
3EricksonFab Five
4PianowVerlander/Miggy Tigers
4Liss1990s-2000s Mariners
4EricksonStockton-Malone Jazz
5PianowEarl Campbell Houston Oilers
5Liss1970's Vikings
5EricksonSan Jose Sharks
6PianowRay Bourque Bruins
6Liss1970s Red Sox
6EricksonReggie Miller Pacers

Results By Team:

Phi Slamma Jamma1990s BillsPatrick Ewing Knicks
1990s Cleveland IndiansPhoenix Suns 2000sDan Marino Dolphins
1980s Cleveland Browns2010-2020 Saints*Fab Five
Justin Verlander/Miguel Cabrera Tigers1990s-2000s MarinersStockton-Malone Jazz
Earl Campbell Houston Oilers1970's VikingsSan Jose Sharks
Ray Bourque Bruins1970s Red SoxReggie 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!

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Jeff Erickson
Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of RotoWire and the only two-time winner of Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He's also in the FSWA Hall of Fame. He roots for the Reds, Bengals, Red Wings, Pacers and Northwestern University (the real NU).
Chris Liss
Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.
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