By JERRY TAPP
Can the Brewers finally post back-to-back playoff seasons?
The beginning of 2019 Major League Baseball’s spring training is a time for most of the 30 MLB teams to start the chatter of a potential championship this season. Yes, title hopes run rampant in February.
Just making the playoffs is a key first step to any professional team’s championship run. It’s interesting to note that baseball probably has the most difficult path for teams to take towards a title, especially if you go by the numbers:
Of the four professional sports (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL), baseball has the fewest teams that make the playoffs after their regular season with 10 (and that’s after adding two additional teams to the post-season format just a few short years ago). The NFL is next with 12 of their 32 teams qualifying for the playoffs, and the NBA and NHL each have 16 of their teams advance to the playoffs.
The Brewers took that all-important first step last year when they made the playoffs and finished one game short of reaching the World Series. The question this year is: Can they repeat the 2018 season and make a return appearance in the ’19 post-season?
Considering that the Brewers have not made the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 1981-82, Brew Crew faithful have their fingers crossed that their team can do something this season that hasn’t happened in almost 40 years … back-to-back playoff seasons.
Last season seven of the 10 MLB teams that played in the post-season also played in the 2017 playoffs: Boston, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland, Colorado, Houston, L.A. Dodgers and the N.Y. Yankees. The Brewers, Oakland and Atlanta were the three teams that made the playoffs in 2018 after not making the post-season the previous campaign.
Of the 30 current MLB franchises, 26 have made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons at least once this century. Two franchises, the Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox, have never made the MLB post-season in back-to-back seasons in their histories.
Two other teams, the Brewers and the Baltimore Orioles, have previously appeared in the post-season in back-to-back seasons, but not this century (the White Sox failure to make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons is quite amazing considering they have been around as a franchise since 1901!). The Brewers, as mentioned above, last made the post-season in back-to-back years in 1981 and 1982, while the Orioles last made the post-season in consecutive years in 1996 and 1997.
Here’s a look at the last time each of the 30 MLB teams made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.
Never: Chicago White Sox
Never: Miami Marlins
2002-03: San Francisco
2005-06: San Diego
2008-09: L.A. Angels
2010-11: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay
2012-13: Atlanta, Cincinnati
2013-14: Detroit, Oakland
2014-15: Kansas City, Pittsburgh, St. Louis
2015-16: N.Y. Mets, Texas, Toronto
2017-18: Boston, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland, Colorado, Houston, L.A. Dodgers, N.Y. Yankees
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp