With about half of the season under our belts, there are many questions: Perhaps the most perplexing question is what to make of the Milwaukee Brewers. Are they a legit contender or the luckiest team in the history of baseball?
Currently the Brewers are being sparked by an ex-MLB failure turned Korean Baseball Organization star who has connected for 20 home runs, a 31-year old journeyman who has exploded onto the scene with a .353 batting average, and a failed third baseman for the Red Sox who now has collected 15 home runs and 53 RBIs as a starter.
Oh, and that is without the six-time All-Star Ryan Braun. Baseball is perplexing sometimes, without easy answers.
On the mound, the Brewers have been powered by stellar performances from starters Jimmy Nelson and Chase Anderson, backed up by Corey Knebel, who just broke the record for consecutive innings with a strikeout for a reliever to start a season.
For a team that is supposed to be in the middle of a rebuild and looking from the bottom up, the Brewers find themselves atop the NL Central. The Chicago Cubs are close, but the St. Louis Cardinals are falling fast. What now? Go all in and lay the hand on the table or fold and survive for another hand?
Over the course of 50 years, the average MLB team should win 1.7 World Series (trust me, I did the math). That is the rate at which the average MLB team should be winning World Series. The Brewers were founded in 1970, or rather, 47 years ago.
For comparison across sports, the NBA and NFL have a rate of 1.5 championships per 50 years. What does that mean? Basically, the World Series, over the course of 50 years, go to more teams as a whole, than NBA Finals or Super Bowls.
There is more parity in the MLB than in the other top two professional sports, meaning any given year could be the year your team wins and rarely are there sustained runs of dominance.
The only example of dominance in baseball would be the New York Yankees of 1996 through 2003. That franchise won six of eight World Series. Other than that, there are no spells of dominance in the MLB.
Meanwhile in football, one doesn’t even have to look to the past. The Patriots who have won seven of the last 16 Super Bowls.
Need more proof? Over the past 35 years, the NFL has had five repeat champions, while the MLB has had a mere two.
Still need more? How about trying to think of the last Super Bowl that did not feature the Patriots, Broncos, Colts, Ravens or Steelers?
To sum up my argument, it is very hard in the MLB to sustain playoff caliber play, so when you have it, you go for it.
The best part about the position the Brewers are in is that they do not need to hemorrhage the future to play for the now. With the surplus of talent swelling in the farm system and at the major league level, the Brewers can package some of their players and prospects for pitching help that could put them in contention for a World Series this year.
Is it a risk that you trade a future All-Star or two? Indeed it is, but it may be an even greater risk if the Brewers sit on their hands and do nothing with the opportunity they have before them. They risk losing out on contending for a World Series.
This team is fun. This team is talented. This team is has a bright future. This team is contending now. It would be a shame for the Brewers to waste what they have. They need to go for it, not because they are all finished with the rebuild, but because they have been in the league for almost 50 years. The math shows they are due.