After the Yankees were swept out of the playoffs this year, I posted a photo of a New York player looking anguished after a strikeout. I may have been happy about it, maybe even gloating. A friend asked me this thoughtful question:
"At what point do the Yankees become the underdogs? How long before failure stops being punishment for hubris, and just a sad existence to overcome?"
This excellent question gets to the very heart of some things with which our civilization is painfully wrestling. Let's start with the math:
There are 30 Major League Baseball teams. My initial thought was that every Major League Baseball team should win a championship before any other MLB team wins two. I'll call this thinking "Serialism" after the music composition device in which every note is used once before any one note is used twice.
Thinking of Serialism as equality, the Yankees last won in 2009, so the next time they should win, if baseball is fair, is 2039.
But is it that simple?
Since the World Series began in 1903, the Yankees have 27 World Series Championships. There are six MLB franchises that have zero. The Seattle Mariners have never even played in the World Series. The Yankees benefit immensely from having won those Championships.
Should the Seattle Mariners win the World Series 27 times before we celebrate another Yankees win? Would that be fair?
Or do we need to adjust for the fact that the Yankees were already playing when the World Series began in 1903 whereas Seattle didn't start playing until 1977? Let's try it and see if it feels right. (title of your sex tape/that's what she said)
The Yankees have won 27 out of the 120 seasons they've played, or 22.5%. The Mariners have played 46 seasons. Don't worry, I'll do the math for you.
If the league consisted solely of these two teams, Seattle would have to win 12 consecutive championships to have the same percentage of championship seasons. The Yankees would then have won 27/132 (20.45%) and the Mariners 12/58 (20.69%).
Would it be fair then? Not really, because there are still 28 other teams in the league. Oh my gosh, this just became a huge math problem. The final number is going to be ridiculous and way, WAY past 2039, isn't it?
Ok. I set up the spreadsheet, but it was too complicated to move forward with the "percent of championship seasons" metric. Someone with more time on their hands will have to crunch those numbers.
I simply decided to give every team the same number of championships. For every Major League Baseball team to have 27 championships and everything to be fair (if you accept that definition of fair), the earliest we could celebrate the Yankees being underdogs and winning a championship is...
Yes, the year. The Yankees should not win a World Series again until at least 2714.
Now, one could ask a similar question about political offices. After Joe Biden, when should we have another white man as the President of the United States? But golly, if I didn't have time to crunch those other numbers, I'm certainly not going to start that discussion online. Yikes.
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