Carleton: Experience isn’t an advantage in pennant races

From Russell Carleton at on September 18, 2014:

It’€™s going to be a barnburner of a race in the AL Central. The Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers are running neck-and-neck to be champions of Middle America.

Obviously, the Tigers have the advantage because they’€™ve “€œbeen there before.” The Tigers have been to the ALCS the past three years, and have been through their share of pennant races. The team is filled with seasoned veterans who know how to manage a pennant race because of their vast experience. In a stunning feat of doublethink, the Kansas City Royals also have an advantage. The Royals’ last trip to the playoffs was when “1984”€ meant “€œlast year.”€ Come to think of it, the Royals’ playoff drought is older than most of the Royals’€™ regulars. But because they have a team of young guys, they are hungry. Starving really. They’€™re just a fun bunch of young guys who don’€™t know they should be scared. They play loose. Their lack of experience is actually their greatest asset.

The actual 1984 pennant races weren’€™t all that interesting. Oddly enough, the two division winners in the American League that year were Kansas City and Detroit. The Royals were a team of grizzled veterans who were in their ninth consecutive year (excluding the strike-shortened 1981 season) of finishing either first or second in their division. The Tigers, on the other hand, had finished second in their division in 1983, but had not been to the postseason since 1972. Funny how history has a nerdy sense of humor.

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Originally published: September 18, 2014. Last Updated: September 18, 2014.