After the Dodgers lost Game 4 of the NLDS to wrap up their season much earlier than anyone had hoped, three Los Angeles Times writers — Jorge Castillo, Jack Harris, and Bill Plaschke — hopped on YouTube to vent. They, like most Dodger fans, were angry and frustrated, and in the process of their venting, they cast doubt on the legitimacy of L.A.’s 2020 World Series championship.
Castillo: “These guys talk about how this is a crapshoot — small sample size in October, anything can happen. Now we have a 10 year sample size of this team in October — and the only time they won the World Series was when the season was unlike any other.”
Plaschke: “And there’s an asterisk by that [championship] that’s getting bigger and bigger and bigger every year. That 2020 seems like a fluke.”
Later in the conversation, they talk about statistical probabilities, so we know they’re at least passingly familiar with the concept. So let’s look at the statistical probabilities of winning at least one World Series if you make the postseason ten years in a row, if things really were a “crapshoot,” meaning every team in the postseason has the same chances.
The first seven years, there were 10 playoff teams. In 2020, there were 16, then back to 10 for 2021, and up to 12 this year. So if it’s a crapshoot, the Dodgers had between a 6.25% chance and a 10% chance to win the World Series each year, and their overall chances of winning at least one WS in that decade are 63%.
The Dodgers have won one WS in that time. They might have won another one, but the other team cheated. Not sure if you heard about that or not.
Realistically, one WS and one they got cheated out of is a pretty solid result for ten years. That is, if you believe the 2020 World Series was legitimate, which Plaschke and Castillo apparently don’t. Nevermind that they’re the only team ever to have to win 13 games in a single postseason, including the last 11 while living full-time in a locked-down hotel. Nevermind that all 29 other teams dealt with the same unique circumstances and didn’t win the World Series that year. Nevermind all the arguments that lead to the only logical conclusion, which is that whoever ended up winning the 2020 World Series was going to be legit champions because everyone played by the same rules.
Only four times in this ten-year stretch have the Dodgers been the best team in baseball: 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2022. If the Astros don’t cheat, the Dodgers would be 2-for-4 on World Series titles when having the best record in baseball, which is actually pretty good.
Yes, it was a shocking disappointment for the Dodgers’ 2022 season to end when it did and in that way. But for respected journalists (and Plaschke) to emotionally jump to the conclusion that the 2020 title is somehow illegitimate because of the 2022 NLDS is asinine and ridiculous.
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