It’s the best kind of recurring dream. The baseball kind.
The MLB Dream Bracket is back with a Dream Seasons edition, as 64 of the greatest single-season teams in history will compete in a simulated tournament that begins Thursday, May 21, and runs through Tuesday, June 9.
• Make your picks for a chance to win prizes
Whereas the original Dream Bracket involved each franchise’s all-time team -- commingling legends of yore with prominent players of the present day -- MLB Dream Bracket 2: Dream Seasons focuses on real rosters from specific squads. The Big Red Machine (1975), the Amazin’ Mets (1969), the Swingin’ A’s (1972), the “Idiot” Red Sox (2004) and many other superlative squads are taking the simulated stage to see whose best is best.
Once again, the competition made up of best-of-seven series will be produced by Out of the Park Baseball 21, MLB’s most realistic strategy game (PC and Mac). Select games will be broadcast by MLB Network’s Scott Braun and Jon Paul Morosi, and streamed live on MLB.com and the MLB and MLB Network Twitch channels.
• Team-by-team Dream Bracket 2 rosters
Filling out the 64-team bracket -- with the American League on one side and the National League on the other -- are two entries from each franchise, along with three Negro League teams (the 1931 Homestead Grays, 1942 Kansas City Monarchs and 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords) and one of baseball’s biggest “what-ifs,” the 1994 Montreal Expos.
With the exception of the Negro League teams, all of the teams selected are post-World War II. Efforts were made to space out the team years selected in order to capture distinct eras and stars. So rather than, say, the 2010 and 2012 Giants both being involved, it’s the 2012 San Francisco Giants and the 1954 New York Giants.
All told, the bracket includes 34 World Series winners, 18 teams that won 100 or more games in the regular season, 23 MVP seasons, 14 Cy Young seasons, 17 Manager of the Year seasons and 92 Hall of Famers.
• Complete bracket and info
The bracket was drawn up so that two teams from the same franchise are never in the same region. This reduces -- though of course does not eliminate -- the likelihood of two vintages from the same franchise actually facing each other. Teams were sorted into groups based on winning percentage, then seeded within those groups. World Series winners took priority over non-World Series winners, with regular-season winning percentages and run differentials then taken into account.
The Yankees’ all-time team was victorious over the Reds in the decisive seventh game of the MLB Dream Bracket. But now, the ’61 and ’98 Yankees are each on their own, possibly to square off against the likes of the 108-win 1970 Orioles or the 100-win (in a 144-game season) 1995 Indians. Perhaps the 116-win 2001 Mariners will fare better in the Dream Bracket than they did in the real postseason.
On the NL side, maybe the Big Red Machine will sputter against Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and the rest of the 2001 D-backs. Or the “Curse of the Billy Goat”-killing 2016 Cubs. Maybe the 2019 Nationals will continue the wild ride they went on last October by swallowing a fellow World Series winner, “Baby Shark” style.
Here is the full list of teams selected for the Dream Seasons bracket:
American League Bracket
Baltimore Orioles: 1970, 1983
Boston Red Sox: 2004, 2018
Chicago White Sox: 1983, 2005
Cleveland Indians: 1954, 1995
Detroit Tigers: 1968, 1984
Homestead Grays: 1931
Houston Astros: 2005, 2019
Kansas City Monarchs: 1942
Kansas City Royals: 1985, 2015
Los Angeles Angels: 1979, 2002
Minnesota Twins: 1965, 1991
New York Yankees: 1961, 1998
Oakland A’s: 1972, 1988
Seattle Mariners: 1995, 2001
Tampa Bay Rays: 2008, 2019
Texas Rangers: 1996, 2011
Toronto Blue Jays: 1985, 1993
National League Bracket
Arizona D-backs: 2001, 2011
Atlanta Braves: 1957, 1995
Chicago Cubs: 1969, 2016
Cincinnati Reds: 1975, 1990
Colorado Rockies: 2007, 2018
Los Angeles Dodgers: 1955, 1977
Miami Marlins: 1997, 2003
Milwaukee Brewers: 1982, 2011
Montreal Expos: 1994
New York Mets: 1969, 1986
Philadelphia Phillies: 1980, 2008
Pittsburgh Crawfords: 1935
Pittsburgh Pirates: 1960, 1979
San Diego Padres: 1984, 1998
San Francisco Giants: 1954, 2012
St. Louis Cardinals: 1967, 2004
Washington Nationals: 2012, 2019
The Dream Seasons bracket will begin with the round of 64 on May 21 and 22.
Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.