Thoughts on MLB Network’s “25 Greatest Teams of the Expansion Era”

MLB Network has pulled a Rogers SportsNet move and aired a countdown special. The purpose of this special: list the 25 greatest teams of the MLB expansion era. I’m sure the other purpose was to do what all list specials do best: get fans arguing about why the list is wrong.

I didn’t watch it on TV, so I am not really sure what kind of objective criteria were used to determine what would make a team the GOAT. However, as you can imagine, the #1 team was a Yankees team, the 1998 version to be specific. (Ugh). But like any good fan, I have some thoughts about this list, and it has brought back some memories of World Series past.

  1. 1963 Dodgers are #25. How could any team starring Sandy Koufax be this low on the list?
  2. 1979 Pirates are #24. This made me think of the documentary film available on Netflix called “No No: A Dockmentary” about pitcher Dock Ellis and his 1970 no-hitter reportedly thrown while under the influence of LSD. The film also discusses the Pirates of the 1970s and their place in the racial politics of the era. This is recommended viewing for all MLB fans.
  3. 2001 Diamondbacks are #23. I remember the walkoff hit from this World Series very well. My whole Yankees-hating family was jumping up and down. According to the US national media, fans were supposedly pulling for the Yankees to win in the wake of the September 11th attacks. Not at my family’s house. It doesn’t matter what happens in New York – we never root for the Yankees.
  4. Don’t worry, I’m not going to discuss every team on the list.
  5. 2001 Seattle Mariners are #20. MLB Network has committed the cardinal sin of every GOAT list here by including a team that had a record-setting regular season but failed to win the championship title. You never do this. Regular season wins don’t matter without a title! Ask the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors, who broke the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ regular season wins record but failed to win the Finals by being the first team to lose with a 3-1 series lead. The 95-96 Bulls will therefore always be the greatest-ever NBA team because they won the Finals. It is known.
  6. 1995 Atlanta Braves are #11. This was the only time the powerhouse Braves of the 90s ever got a ring. I was rooting for Cleveland because I was a Kenny Lofton fan.
  7. 1976 Cincinnati Reds are #9. This team did not lose a single postseason game. How is this not good enough for the #1 spot?
  8. 2016 Chicago Cubs are #6. Not sure how they were better than a team that didn’t lose a postseason game, but this high ranking probably had to do more with their regular season performance and the epic World Series battle. I feel like they’d have been higher on this list if the Series hadn’t gone the full seven games and Joe Maddon hadn’t nearly blown it for the Cubs with his misuse of the team’s arguably most precious resource, flamethrowing RP Aroldis Chapman.
  9. 1998 New York Yankees are #1. Fuck the Yankees.

Featured image credit: Shutterstock.com

Videos of the MLB Network special can be seen below.