The Dodgers have become baseball's version of the 1990s Buffalo Bills
From 1990-93, the Buffalo Bills were AFC champions. They played in the pop culture event of the year -- the Super Bowl -- and lost. Every time. For four straight seasons, the Bills took an Icarus-like flight toward the top of the football world and crashed.
The Dodgers have become MLB's version.
The two cities could not be more different. Buffalo is a cold, upstate New York city with about 250,000 residents. Los Angeles is a sunny-and-75 sprawling metropolis of nearly four million people. A snow-covered city like Buffalo just seems to fit with the idea of a perpetual almost, while Los Angeles' palm trees, movie studios and glamorous, beautiful people just doesn't.
And yet, here we are.
The Dodgers have dropped two consecutive World Series. The year before, they washed out in the NLCS. They've won six consecutive NL West titles -- one of just three teams to accomplish such a feat since divisional play began in 1969 -- and yet the best they've finished is as World Series participant. Given the stark difference between baseball's playoff series bracket and the NFL's win-and-advance system, you could argue that the Dodgers are the more unlucky of teams. (The Bills' run also extends two years further back. They lost in the conference championship and divisional round the previous seasons.)
The makeup of the teams is even similar. The Bills were loaded with stars and future Hall of Famers in quarterback Jim Kelly, running back Thurman Thomas and defensive end Bruce Smith. Is that much different than the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner?
And is Scott Norwood's missed field goal in the 1991 Super Bowl much different from the usually dominant Kenley Jansen blowing the lead in Game 4?
But this post isn't meant to drag the Bills or Dodgers.
After all, the Bills still stand out in our memory simply because they were so good for so many years. There's something remarkable to be able to deliver hope and dominance to your fans year after year after year and come so close to immortality that you, in a backward way, also become immortal.
The point of sports is, ostensibly, to win championships. But that's not actually true. That binary win or don't-even-bother mentality leaves out the fun of following along every season and offseason. The actual point of sports is to provide hope and joy that unites a fan base and energizes a city. While losing on the grandest stage at the end of the season hurts, it also means you had the greatest possible experience in the months leading up to it.
There's always next year. And for these two teams, that actually meant something.
Of course, for all the similarities, there is still a giant difference: The Dodgers are still loaded with stars, a strong farm system and the type of financial backing that every team not called the Yankees or Red Sox can only dream of. So, while the Dodgers haven't won a World Series this decade, it's only a matter of time.