Redefining Dynasties

by Ross Friedman

<!-- Article Starts Here --!> 1 : a succession of rulers of the same line of descent
–Webster's Dictionary

What do we hear about sports dynasties? We often speak of Jordan's Bulls. It is now being mentioned that this current Yankee team is baseball's first dynasty since the Athletics won three straight World Series titles in the early '70s.

However, there is one problem with this. We have been defining dynasties in sports incorrectly. Cheapening them every chance we get. Jordan's Bulls were not a dynasty. Neither were Reggie's A's. Gretzky's Oilers and Lombardi's Packers? Not even close.

Granted these were all great teams. But in no way were any of them dynasties. Let's look at the Webster's definition of a dynasty. A succession of rulers under the same line of decent. In this case the players are the rulers and the team is the line of decent.

Well, Jordan's Bulls were not a succession of rulers. Jordan ruled. Gretzky ruled. Reggie ruled. In my never humble opinion, there are only four true dynasties in the history of North American sports. One is the Boston Celtics (although they currently seem well removed from that time). Next there is the Montreal Canadians. In college there is the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Finally there is the greatest dynasty of North American sports, the New York Yankees.

The New York Yankee dynasty is not a dynasty from three straight World Series wins. It's not a dynasty because they have won four of the last five championships. The Yankees are a dynasty because they have won 26 championships over the past 78 seasons. They are a dynasty because they have won their championships with a range of players from Babe Ruth to Derek Jeter, with names such as Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra, and Reggie in between.

However, now every time we hear the word dynasty, the true dynasties are cheapened. Three championships does not automatically give a team dynasty status as so many people now believe. People use the word because they are trying to make their team something they're not.

A true dynasty takes much longer than that and spans many years and generations. The Athletics and Cardinals are second in World Series victories at nine each. If either of them can win twice their "fare-share" of World Series, and the Yankees win no more, it will take them 250 years to catch up. That's a long time.

To truly be a dynasty, a child, father, and grandfather should all be able to have grown up watch the team they love (or hate) win championships.

Baseball has one dynasty. It has been a succession of hall of fame players winning championships in the great pinstriped decent. <!-- Article Ends Here --!>

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