Dodgers ‘dynasty’ could go way of 1996 Braves before they know it

1 year ago 172

ATLANTA — A 4th of a period agone to the time and 15 miles from the spot wherever the Dodgers and Braves played NLCS Game 6 connected Saturday night, a acquisition astir dynasties was taught that remains arsenic applicable contiguous arsenic it was then.

Namely, however hard it is to conception 1 — and that is adjacent portion 1 was being constructed astatine the time, conscionable unbeknownst to each the participants and viewers.

On Oct. 23, 1996, the Braves took a 6-0 pb successful World Series Game 4 against the Yankees and each of the beneath was existent midway done that contest:

—  Atlanta was successful the World Series for the 4th clip successful the past 5 Series (there was nary contested successful 1994) and was the defending champion.

— The Braves had constructed a five-game winning streak (closing the NLCS with 3 wins and taking a two-games-to-none pb successful the World Series) successful which they outscored the Cardinals and Yankees by a combined 48-2. They mislaid Game 3 to the Yankees, 5-2, but led Game 4 by six runs with 12 outs to go. If they hung on, the Braves would person John Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine lined up connected afloat remainder to triumph 1 much crippled to repetition arsenic champions.

—  At that moment, the lone important Atlanta presumption subordinate who was past his age-30 play was 32-year-old Fred McGriff. Andruw Jones was 19, Jermaine Dye was 22, Chipper Jones was 24 and Ryan Klesko and Javy Lopez some were 25. Smoltz was 29, Glavine and Maddux were some 30, Steve Avery was 26 and person Mark Wohlers was 26.

Tom Glavine and Greg MadduxTom Glavine and Greg MadduxAP; Getty Images

If you were successful Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium that evening — and I was — arsenic the sixth inning began and idiosyncratic would person said, “By the way, the dynasty is successful the different dugout,” you would person checked to spot if anyone had escaped a section insane asylum. The Yankees hadn’t won a title since 1978, had made the playoffs (newly expanded) successful 1995 for the archetypal clip successful 14 years and were hardly awash successful arsenic galore stars with playoff pedigree arsenic the Braves.

But, of course, the Yankees won that brainsick night, Oct. 23, 1996, led astir famously by Jim Leyritz’s tying, three-run homer disconnected Wohlers. They won the past 4 games of that series. They won that World Series and won 4 times successful 5 years. The dynasty was, impossibly, successful the different dugout.

The Braves kept winning part titles and kept losing successful the postseason. They person had 2 caller stadiums since, but their 1995 rubric remains the lone 1 the metropolis of Atlanta has from the 4 large sports leagues. The Braves had each the measurables for a dynasty. As the sixth inning began a 4th of a period ago, they were making folks deliberation astir wherever they mightiness onshore successful the pantheon.

But didn’t we consciousness likewise aft the Cubs won it all, finally, successful 2016? Didn’t it consciousness arsenic if that was conscionable the beginning? Yet present successful 2021 we watched playoffs with Anthony Rizzo connected the Yankees, Kris Bryant connected the Giants and Kyle Schwarber connected the Red Sox. We astir apt each are going to request to get connected a sofa with a shot therapist to find what we deliberation astir the Astros and their tainted 2017 title, but they person made 5 consecutive trips to astatine slightest the ALCS and present are sitting arsenic the AL champs again, waiting for the World Series to begin.

“More than thing to me, it is simply a mates of things,” Glavine said by telephone astir the quality to spell back-to-back to amended dynastic perceptions. “You truly person to person immoderate luck connected your broadside not lone to win, but triumph 2 successful a row. And you truly person to enactment healthy. Both of those things are hard to bash arsenic you spot present with the Dodgers.”

The Dodgers of this epoch had yet to afloat specify themselves arsenic Game 6 began. Were they going to pursuit dynasty oregon beryllium Glavine’s Braves? They person been to the playoffs 9 consecutive times, the archetypal 8 aft winning the NL West, and past twelvemonth they yet captured their archetypal title since 1988.

But it has felt arsenic if the Dodgers person chased past connected fumes this clip around, having to triumph a sudden-death wild-card game, a reminder that the other layers of playoffs besides enactment against a dynasty. The 2 faces of this Dodgers era, Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner, were retired injured Saturday, and truthful were Joe Kelly and Max Muncy. Max Scherzer did not person the beingness successful his arm to marque a scheduled Game 6 start. Kiké Hernandez and Joc Pederson, 2 cardinal supplemental pieces to the Dodgers’ caller run, were producing large moments for different teams successful the postseason. Kershaw, Scherzer, Kenley Jansen, Corey Seager and Chris Taylor are astir to beryllium escaped agents.

The Dodgers, who began this playoff tally successful 2013 with Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig arsenic cornerstones, person done a terrific occupation reconfiguring to stay elite. So who knows however agelong this volition spell on? Those Braves won 14 consecutive part titles, but they are not remembered arsenic a dynasty due to the fact that they won conscionable 1 title. No squad has won 2 successful a enactment since the Yankees’ 1998-2000 three-peat.

“The information we person not seen it successful caller history, back-to-back championships, tells you however hard it is,” Glavine said.