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This story was initially printed at Baseball Prospectus on September 19.
People aren’t constructed to grasp scale; it’s a confounding downside for elementary faculty academics and theoretical physicists alike. You may in all probability think about 5 oranges merely in your thoughts’s eye. When requested to conceptualize 50 or 500 oranges, although, you’d resort to some type of shortcut. Almost definitely, you’d put the oranges into units of fives or tens after which zoom out till these groupings amounted to an even bigger image. We’d typically name this “counting” relatively than a shortcut, nevertheless it’s helpful to keep in mind that the complete base-10 system is bigoted (see: clocks) and a way to beat comparatively onerous limits on human short-term recall.
The issue is this method turns into far much less helpful on the extremes: How do you get a 10-year-old to conceive of a interval 200 of their lifetimes previous? Otherwise you would possibly’ve heard this one from wealth inequality activists: a million seconds is round 12 days. One billion seconds is 31 years. On probably the most excessive finish: An atom is round 10-8 cm in diameter, a (theoretical) string is round 10-33 cm. The thoughts struggles to distinguish these numbers additional than “tiny” and “infinitesimal,” so once more another clarification is helpful: if an atom was the scale of our photo voltaic system, a string can be one tree. The purpose is that our scales of reference solely actually work within the confines of that which we are able to already think about. The Dodgers have damaged MLB’s context, and so require inventive strategies to quantify their success.
On June twelfth, the Giants beat the Dodgers, 2-0, ending off a sweep and reducing Los Angeles’ NL West result in half a recreation. At 37-23, the Dodgers have been on tempo for a decent 100-win season. After a win Sunday night time to complete off their season collection with a sweep, the crew ran its file to 64-21 of their final 85 video games; in that interval they’ve misplaced three of 27 collection (and cut up one other), with a web loss to the Mets on the daybreak of this month simply one in every of two because the All-Star break. They went 13-1 of their latter 5 collection with San Francisco, taking part in a significant position within the full breakdown of the membership which final season upended them. All that places them on the precipice of a top-three all-time end by each wins and profitable share, or because the Dodgers would possibly perceive it, acquainted territory.
Reaching the 2001 Mariners’ file of 116 wins stays practically unattainable even with 4 video games scheduled towards the Diamondbacks (they beat the Diamondbacks on Monday night, 5-2) and 6 towards the Rockies to complete the season. If you wish to hope, they’re 12-3 within the season collection towards Arizona and have been much better (117- versus 108-win tempo) at house, the place all however three of their remaining 16 contests will likely be performed. Nonetheless, they’d must win 14 of 16 contests to tie, and their profitable share says they need to solely win 11 of these video games. So, listed below are some alternative routes through which the 2022 Dodgers have shocked and awed:
- They personal the Sixteenth-best run differential of all time (+332). Eleven of the golf equipment previous them performed in years starting with a 18–. They need to quickly surpass the 1936 Yankees (+334) and 1902 Pirates (+335), giving them the third-best run differential of the trendy period. The Bombers of 1927 (+376) and 1939 (+411) stay respectively elusive and out of attain.
- The final groups to give up fewer than 500 runs in a full season (≥150 video games) have been the 1972 Orioles and Athletics. With 458 runs surrendered (3.14 runs per recreation), the Dodgers are on monitor to complete simply above 500 runs, although these 509 runs towards can be the fewest of the century by 16.
- With a nightly attendance of 47,936, they’re averaging the second-most followers of their historical past, and have misplaced simply two p.c of attendees (per recreation) from 2019 when 23 of 30 golf equipment are nonetheless within the crimson. They’ve averaged 17.8 p.c greater attendance than the next-highest membership, the Cardinals. It appears fully attainable they may in 2023 break that illustrious 4 million mark, crested by 4 groups in MLB historical past and none since 2008.
- They clinched so early they broke MLB.
- Plus there’s this: Actually, Third Punic Battle shit.
Okay, superb, the Dodgers are ridiculous. Extra at 11. However it’s very troublesome to determine a stretch in MLB historical past when a crew has dominated so totally for such a protracted interval. Since 2014, listed below are the highest 5 groups in MLB by profitable share:
There’s as a lot room between the Dodgers and Yankees (by win share) as there may be between the Bombers and Tenth-finishing Nationals. That is a kind of scale issues: how can one conceive of the size of that dominance? On a 162-game foundation, the Dodgers have posted 99 wins for a decade; eight video games higher every year than the next-closest contender. This, recall, in what is nearly actually probably the most disparate interval by way of team-to-team expertise ranges of the complete growth period: there are extra tanking opponents to beat up on, but additionally extra superteams that may match superlatives. Nonetheless: The Atlanta golf equipment that gained 14 straight titles did so with a .606 profitable share, however in these years the Yankees averaged 4 wins fewer, half their current deficit towards the Dodgers. There’s no AL analogue to this outfit.
There have been (per Stathead) 113 seasons in MLB historical past through which a crew has logged at the least 100 victories. Fourteen of these seasons have been since 2017, in comparison with 16 between 2000 and 2016. Of 39 groups to file at the least 104 Ws, eight have performed on this millennium; six in 2017 or extra just lately. The Dodgers personal three of these unbelievable seasons, logged within the final 4 full seasons, and are all however assured to get one other. The one yr stopping them from a four-season streak, the primary of its kind in MLB historical past, they’d one of the best profitable share of any growth period crew.
The playoffs are their very own beast, and to be understood as a clearly higher dynasty than, say, the 1991-2005 Braves, the Dodgers want slightly extra historical past and one other title. However the common season is the higher conduit for cogent evaluation and coherent narratives particularly due to its huge zoom, the angle afforded by a broader scale. The continuous growth of the playoffs is one cheapener of the common season, the ubiquity of tanking cycles one other, however maybe it’s simply as properly: at a interval through which the common season issues for the least it ever has, it so occurs the Dodgers have damaged the size.