Tuesday, September 24, 2013

With Pittsburgh In, Who Has The Longest Playoff Drought?

After two decades of futility, the Pittsburgh Pirates have qualified for the postseason for the first time since Barry Bonds' cap was three sizes smaller.  (That's 1992 for all you kids out there.)  In clinching a playoff berth, the Pirates have become the last National League team to qualify for the postseason in the 21st century.  So now that Pittsburgh has ended its drought, which National League squad has gone the longest without appearing in the playoffs?

Well, the Braves, Cardinals, Reds and Dodgers are all joining the Pirates this year.  The Giants and Nationals were playing in October last year.  And in 2011, the Diamondbacks, Brewers and Phillies were competing for the pennant.  That's ten of the fifteen teams in the N.L. qualifying for the playoffs in the last three seasons alone.  So who's left?

The Rockies made the playoffs in 2009 and the Cubs last qualified in 2008.  Both the Mets and Padres won their respective divisions in 2006.  That's 14 teams.  Which team has the longest playoff drought in the Senior Circuit?

The Florida (now Miami) Marlins.

The Marlins won the World Series in 2003, defeating the Yankees in six games.  They haven't been invited to the postseason party since.  So in the last decade, every National League team has made the playoffs.  But there are two American League teams who haven't sprayed champagne since the 20th century.

The Toronto Blue Jays won their second consecutive World Series championship in 1993, defeating the Atlanta Braves in six games.  Twenty years later, they're still waiting for their next postseason appearance.  The only team with a longer playoff drought than the Blue Jays should never have won a World Series.

In 1985, the year before the Mets won their last title, Kansas City met intrastate rival St. Louis in the I-70 World Series (named because of Interstate 70, which connects the two cities).  The Royals won their lone World Series championship with the aid of first base umpire Don Denkinger's blown call in the ninth inning of the sixth game.  Kansas City won the title the next night.  Nearly three decades later, the Royals have not yet returned to the postseason.

It seems like an eternity since the Mets last qualified for the playoffs.  For many Mets fans, seven years does seem like forever.  But be thankful you're not a Marlins fan.  Or even worse, think about those Blue Jays and Royals fans out there.  It's only been ten years since the Marlins and their dozen fans celebrated a postseason appearance.  Fans in Toronto and Kansas City have been saying "wait 'till next century" for just a little bit longer.

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