By Sam Waters
As June wanes, MLB fans are tantalized by the standings. Four of the six division leaders have never won a World Series.
That’s half the teams that have never won baseball’s ultimate championship. It also includes one of two teams that has never even reached the Fall Classic.
Adding to the excitement, three more of the perennial postseason bridesmaids are hovering around five-hundred—the minimum requirement needed to feel optimistic about a playoff berth.
Those four division leaders are the Washington Nationals, Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies, and Houston Astros.
The Minnesota Twins, our fifth division leader, haven’t won a title since 1991. That leaves the New York Yankees as the only division leader we haven’t mentioned. Of course, their copious championship haul has been documented ad nauseam.
The Nationals are the only National League team that has never appeared in a World Series. The franchise has only played for the NL pennant once (1981) and that was when they were based in another country (when they were the Montreal Expos).
The other franchise with a big goose egg in the championship column are the Seattle Mariners. The M’s had an awful start to the 2017 campaign, but are currently within striking distance of a wildcard spot.
The Nationals joined the Majors in 1969. The Mariners joined eight years later. Together, they’ve combined for more than 7,000 losses.
In 2008, the Tamp Bay Rays came up short in their only World Series appearance.
The Texas Rangers have come up short in two World Series appearance. While they’re 12 games back of the division-leading Astros, they are hovering around the five-hundred mark.
Don’t hold your breath for the eighth team sans a World Series trophy. The San Diego Padres currently have a winning percentage under four-hundred and are one of the worst teams in baseball.
It might sound odd to say, “The Nationals are champs” or “The Astros win it all,” but so was envisioning a cosmos without a century-long Chicago Cubs World Series drought.
There’s a lot of baseball left to be played, but as things stand now, the Nationals and Astros will likely win their respective divisions.
The Nats currently have an eight-game lead over the New York Mets—who’ve lost more than they’ve won. The Astros can coast. They already have a double-digit lead in the A.L. West.
The Brewers and Rockies sit tenuously atop their respective divisions. Both teams are having their heels chomped on by quintessential National League teams, the Cubs and Dodgers (respectively).
The Nats and Astros both have good pitching staffs (as do the Rockies and Brewers) and both can knock the cover off the ball. Again, a lot can happen, but those teams are built to win.
Only the baseball gods know what the future holds. It’s more than a possibility that none of the zero-championship franchises reach MLB’s season finale. For example, a Yankees-Cubs World Series could be on the horizon.
A Yankees-Cubs World Series will be ginormous for two groups and two groups only: fans of the respective teams and the sports media. The match-up will probably turn-off the rest of the baseball world.
After all, who wants to watch the rich get richer?
A World Series involving any combination of the Nats, Astros, Rockies, and Brewers is likely to capture, and hold, the imagination of hardcore and casual fans. Who doesn’t want to see a franchise win their first ever title?
First-ever titles are becoming rare. Until the league expands, it can only happen eight more times.