The Los Angeles Angels have suffered through eight straight losing seasons and nine straight seasons without a playoff berth. They've been one of the most embarrassing teams over the last decade, failing to do much winning at all despite rostering two of the best players in the last decade in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.
The Angels haven't done much winning at all, but it's not like the team's in this year's World Series are that much better. The Arizona Diamondbacks had one playoff appearance in the last ten years entering this season and have ended just three seasons with winning records in that span. The Rangers had made the postseason twice in the last decade, and those were the only years in which they finished with a winning record.
Neither of these teams had advanced past the ALDS in the last decade and both of these teams had flaws in 2023. Despite them and their recent history, they're here in the World Series. This should give Angels fans some sort of hope that their time isn't too far off.
MLB teams simply need to focus on getting into the Postseason and letting the magic play out
Not a single person gave the 84-78 Diamondbacks a legitimate shot at making a run to the World Series. They had to win a series on the road against the 92-win Brewers just to advance to the NLDS. Waiting for them there was the 100-win Dodgers. After discarding both of those great teams without losing a single time, Arizona was matched up against the reigning NL Champion Philadelphia Phillies. They lost the first two before winning four of five including two on the road at hostile Citizens Bank Park to win the Pennant.
The Rangers run was just as unlikely. Some struggles down the stretch allowed the Astros to win yet another AL West title. This meant Texas entered the playoffs as a five seed and had to go on the road to face the 99-win Rays just for the opportunity to play the 101-win Orioles in the ALDS. Like Arizona, Texas swept both Tampa Bay and Baltimore to meet Houston in the ALCS. They knocked off the defending World Series Champs to earn a date with the D-Backs in the World Series.
Last season, the Rangers went 68-94, fourth in the AL West. They were even worse than the Angels who won 73 games. The Diamondbacks were one win better than the Halos as they finished with a 74-88 record, also fourth in the NL West. They both had different paths to getting where they ended up.
The Rangers relied a ton on free agency with Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Heaney, and Jon Gray examples of free agents they've added the last two years. The Diamondbacks have gone more of the player development route, watching guys like Zac Gallen and Corbin Carroll turn into superstars.
The point here is there isn't just one way to win and you don't have to be a powerhouse to do it. You simply have to get in and let things play out. Sneaking in as a six seed and coming in hot is just as scary as a 100+ win team that isn't playing its best ball. Obviously improvements have to be made, but the Angels making the postseason with this new format might not be too far off.