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Four in four or something more?

Playoff streaks or a World series amidst misery? You decide.

Rick Stewart/Getty Images

(No, no spreadsheets in this one, I promise.)

Jeff Sullivan over at Fangraphs put together something highly thought-provoking yesterday. The question, at its core, is both simple but potentially hard to answer. As a fan, would you prefer that your team:

  1. Resemble the 2012-2015 Red Sox - specifically winning one World Series and having three last-place-ish finishes full of presumable misery; or
  2. Resemble the 2011-2014 Tigers, who were the best regular season team in baseball over that specific stretch, but did not bring home the trophy in those attempts. (Specifically, they fell in two ALCS, an ALDS, and a World Series.)
That's pretty much it, and I'm sure folks can go any which way. There's no right or wrong answer here, just a personal choice. As of around noon EDT on Friday, voters on Fangraphs have preferred one World Series and three sets of reserved seats in the cellar to four postseason near-misses by a margin of about 56-44. That poll is not broken down by team affiliation, though I think that would lead to further interesting or predictable insights. For example, I can see how the Cubs or Indians would really want to get that one title out of the way; after all, what's another terrible season to their fans, in the grand scheme of things?

Even among Braves fans, I can see how the thoughts might break down on similar lines... or not. For fans who have been around since the streak, is the lack of additional World Series titles a disappointment that leads to a vote in favor of another title despite all else? Or does it add the perspective that it's really the highly successful season that's exciting, rather than the ultimate prize at the end? Alternately, for more recent fans, does the lack of a title and at-times poor results in recent history justify a continual visit to the bottom of the standings for some moments of undiluted glory? Or is the idea of building a perpetual winner, even if that winner doesn't win everything a bigger concern?

I'll admit that I was surprised at the poll results; I'd have expected the broader Fangraphs community to support something more within a team's control (winning a lot in the regular season) as a favorable outcome as opposed to something that was predicated on a fortuitous small sample size victory. (In fact, if you'd have asked me to guess the poll margin before looking at it, I'd have said 80-20 in favor of the 2011-2014 Tigers, rather than the reality where I was way, way wrong.) But then again, the way that Jeff Sullivan formulates his question includes a guaranteed World Series victory, which may have a lot of intrinsic value.

So with that, I leave it up to you. One poll, two choices. We know how the broader set of Fangraphs readers voted, and I already know my answer - I'm interested to see how Braves fans will respond.

(Side note: You're free to consider this either in a vacuum or in the specific context of the Braves in the next four years. I can't really stop you, either way, nor am I sure it would change anyone's answer. But if you have specific feelings about your answer in a vacuum but feel that it's different for the current Braves franchise, feel free to explain why in the comments.)

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