LOS ANGELES -- With their five-game triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2018 World Series, the Boston Red Sox have now won four titles in the last 14 years. Conveniently for these purposes, all of those titles have occurred within the current century -- i.e., the 21st Century.
Now here's an updated look at which teams have won titles (and how many) since Jan. 1, 2001 (yes, the current century began with 2001, not 2000):
- Red Sox (4)
- Giants (3)
- Cardinals (2)
- Diamondbacks, Angels, Marlins, White Sox, Phillies, Yankees, Royals, Cubs, Astros (1)
So the Sox's win in 2018 breaks that preexisting tie with the Giants. They now stand alone atop the heap with four rings. On those grounds alone you could argue that, yes, they're the team of the 21st century (thus far). Of course, this is baseball, and it's perfectly possible for a merely good team to get hot in October, benefit from the vagaries of the sport, and wind up champs despite an otherwise lacking resume. To address that matter, let's look at the five-best regular season winning percentages from 2001 through 2018:
|Rank||Team||Cumulative win percentage, 2001-18|
Yep, there are the Red Sox in second place behind the Yankees. So that's an edge for Boston's blood rivals, but there's really no comparing the two bodies of work when you consider that the Red Sox now have four times as many championships during the century in question. As for the Giants, they're in eight place -- i.e., too low to merit the bother of listing them.
The last century, of course, belonged to those Yankees, who won 26 World Series during that particular span of 100 years (98 years, to be precise, since the first World Series as we think of it was in 1903). The Red Sox in the 21st century are now on pace for 22 titles (this scribe will absolutely be around to see if they get there), so they'll need to up the clip just slightly if they're going have a better century this time around than the Yankees did last time around.
As for the here and now, though, the Red Sox -- fully 18 percent of the way through the 21st century -- lord over all they survey, so long as all they are surveying is MLB since 2001.
Now, though, let's talk about those "Yankees suck" chantsat Game 5 in Dodger Stadium both during the game and after the trophy was theirs. This is not the posture of the greatest team of the current century. This is "woebegone little brother" stuff. Part of the solemn responsibilities that go with "team of the century" laurels is not acknowledging those positioned on the lower rungs. No it's time for the manifestly inferior Yankees to say you suck in defiance of all evidence, as you have done to them for lo these many years.
Tamper with the natural order at your own peril, Red Sox. You team of the century, you.