SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Ned Yost gets it. The odds are against the Kansas City Royals repeating as World Series champions.It has nothing to do with analytics or player evaluations. It's just a reality.Yost learned that lesson the hard way. He was on the Braves' coaching staff for 12 seasons during
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Ned Yost gets it. The odds are against the Kansas City Royals repeating as World Series champions.
It has nothing to do with analytics or player evaluations. It's just a reality.
Yost learned that lesson the hard way. He was on the Braves' coaching staff for 12 seasons during their record-setting run of 14 consecutive division titles from 1991-2005, in which Atlanta won the World Series just once -- in 1995.
Now, that doesn't mean that Yost is making any concession speeches in the final days of Spring Training. He's itching to get the season started on Sunday night at Kauffman Stadium in a World Series rematch against the defending National League-champion New York Mets.
Yost just knows -- and wants the Royals' players to know -- that there is a challenge ahead of them.
"I look forward to the opportunity," Yost said. "It's extremely difficult to manage it once, much less twice. I hope we get there and go from there."
Difficult for any team other than the New York Yankees. Over the years, the Yankees have run off championship streaks of five in a row (1949-53), four in a row ('36-39), three in a row ('98-2000) and two in a row (1977-78, '61-62, '27-28).
In the past 94 years, however, only four times has a franchise other than the Yankees won back-to-back World Series: the A's (1929-30 and '72-74), Reds ('75-76) and Blue Jays ('92-93).
The Giants have won three of the past six World Series. The three other years, they didn't even advance to the postseason, much less the World Series.
"The odds are against you because of all the parity in talent in baseball," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "Teams just getting to the World Series back-to-back years is impressive, like the Rangers (2010-11) and Royals ('14-15). It's not that easy. Look at the Braves, and all the success they had and to win one World Series. That tells you right there it's not easy.
"You get a hot team at the right time and the ball bounces your way. It makes it that much more difficult to get there back-to-back years."
Since the advent of Draft in 1965, there have been only four times a team has won consecutive World Series: The A's (1972-74), Reds ('75-76), Yankees (1977-78 and 1998-2000) and Blue Jays (1992-93).
And those 1998-2000 Yankees are the only teams to have won consecutive World Series since the addition of the best-of-five Division Series in 1995.
And now there is a Wild Card Game in each league to decide which teams join the three division champions in the Division Series round.
That means a team could play as many as 20 postseason games (19 if it is division champ) and has to win as many as 12 games (11 if it wins a division title) to claim a World Series championship.
"It used to be you just played a best-of-seven World Series and that was the postseason," said Bochy.
In 2012, the Giants swept the Tigers in the World Series, but to get there, they faced six elimination games, rallying from an 0-2 deficit against the Reds in the NLDS and a 1-3 deficit against the Cardinals in the NL Championship Series.
"Our focus is to come out of spring and get off to a good start, and at the end of the year have the opportunity to fight our way back [to a World Series championship]," said Yost. "Everybody starts the year dreaming of having that opportunity."
And the Royals know well how much of a challenge it is to get that opportunity.
"It took our organization 29 years to get back [to the World Series after winning its first World Series championship in 1985]," said Yost. "And then we got back [last year] and won the World Series."
Now, Yost is looking for an encore in October.
"One thing I took out of my days in Atlanta is you need the attitude in Spring Training from the first day of being focused on getting back in the playoffs," Yost said. "We have that focus with this group."
But will the Royals have something different at the end of the season than the Braves? Will they win a second World Series championship in a row?
Time will tell.
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com.