I like and respect ESPN's Tim Kurkjian, but like all of us professional analysts, he sometimes says silly things. Just the other day, he told viewers that the Tampa Bay Rays can't possibly be one-hit wonders because teams rarely go from pennant winners one year to also-rans the next.
Now, I'm not saying the Rays will be one-hit wonders, but you don't have to employ a team of investigative reporters to unearth recent Series-to-suckers examples.
Just to jog Mr. Kurkjian's memory, here are five one-hit wonders in the last decade alone:
1. 2007-to-08 Rockies. They never should have started putting baseballs in a humidor.
2. 2006-to-07 Tigers. See what happens when you sign every free agent the Yankees don't want.
3. 2005-to-06 Astros. Apparently, it's impossible to recover after losing a World Series to a Chicago team.
4. 2003-to-04 Marlins. While the Cubs are in their 101st year of championship-free baseball, the Marlins have built, destroyed, built and destroyed two Series winners in the last dozen years.
5. 1998-to-99 Padres. But on the plus side, Tony Gwynn batted his weight.
The List (Non-Sports Version)
Top 5 dramas in HBO history:
1. The Wire. I just finished watching Season 2 On Demand and am eagerly awaiting the start of Season 3 ... and then No. 4, which is as good as any season of any show ever aired on any network. I had watched The Wire's five-season run when it was on originally and loved it then, but watching it again, with the perspective of knowing the show's arc, makes it even more enjoyable. Superbly acted and realistically written, The Wire is centered around the Baltimore Police Department's mostly hopeless fight against crime. But it's the many side stories - involving drug lords, corrupt politicians, public education woes, etc. - that make the show really special. If you've never seen The Wire, start renting it now. And that's an order.
2. Six Feet Under. Just about every character on this show, which is based in a funeral home, is outstanding. Especially noteworthy are angst-filled teenager Claire, her recently decloseted gay brother David and their deceased father (who regularly appears in dream sequences). I won't give the series finale away, but I will say the episode is as satisfying a conclusion as any I've seen.
3. Deadwood. I feel totally ripped off that this marvelous series lasted only three seasons. Early on, the media fixated on the vulgar language spoken by these 1876 pioneers. Soon enough, though, anybody who really took the time to watch this deliciously gritty show realized it was more than curse words. Ian McShane's evil entrepreneur Al Swearengen is one of the great villains in TV history.
4. The Sopranos. Many would rank this iconic show first, and I'd have no quibbles. That it could rank fourth on my list speaks well of the quality television HBO has produced over the years. If you're one of the few who doesn't already know about Tony Soprano and his fellow Mafia men, you owe it to yourself to enjoy this series. But rent or buy the DVDs; the sanitized syndicated version on A&E just isn't the same.
5. (tie) True Blood and In Treatment. After quite a few swings and misses - yes, I actually (and regrettably) watched the entire season of John From Cincinnati waiting for something to happen - the quality of these current series gives me hope that HBO will continue to offer up great television. True Blood is a smart, sexy, occasionally creepy show about vampires being assimilated into Louisiana society (and the women who love them). In Treatment follows a shrink (portrayed perfectly by Gabriel Byrne) who deals with his patients' demons - and his own.