Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Expanding Your Knowledge

With their win Monday night, the Colorado Rockies advanced to the World Series. Doing so is an amazing feat not just because they almost missed the playoffs this season, but also because of how young their franchise is. In case you've forgotten, the Rockies entered the league in 1993 with the Florida Marlins as baseball's Major League expanded. Another interesting note is that within a two-year timespan('93-'95) each of the other major sports leagues(NHL, NFL, NBA) also added a pair of expansion teams. Why don't we take a look at how they all have fared up to this point.

Expand Your Knowledge After The Jump

Colorado Rockies: The Rockies started play in 1993, and finished 6th in their division with a 67-95 record. They've tied or exceeded that winning percentage every year since then. The '06-'07 season has been their best to date in terms of wins and performance in the playoffs. Currently, they're making their first appearance in the World Series. Their previous best finish was in 1995 when they lost to the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.

Florida Marlins: The Marlins were the other expansion team added in 1993. They too finished 6th in their division that season with a record of 64-98. However, it only took the Marlins five years to make their first appearance in the World Series('97), and they ended up winning it all. The following year, 1998, the Marlins were a shell of the World Series team after a "fire sale" of most of their best players. That season they became the only team in MLB history to lose 100 games after winning the World Series in the previous season. The downturn would only last five seasons, however, as the Marlins made it to the World Series in 2003 and won it all again.

Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks entered the NHL in 1993, and finished 4th in their division with a record of 33-46-5. They missed the playoffs for their first three years before losing to the Red Wings in the conference semifinals in 1996. The Ducks made just one more playoff appearance, in 1998, over the next five seasons before making it to the NHL Finals and losing to the Devils in 2002. They missed the playoffs in 2005, but returned in 2005, losing to the Oilers in the conference finals. In 2006, however, the Ducks again made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, this time beating the Senators and taking the title.

Florida Panthers: The Panthers were the other NHL team added in 1993, and they finished 5th in their division with a record of 33-34-17. They missed the playoffs for their first two seasons, but in their third, 1995, they made it all the way to the NHL finals. Ultimately losing to the Avalanche. Over the next ten seasons, the Panthers made two more playoff appearances('96 & '99), but lost both times in the conference quarterfinals.

Toronto Raptors: The Raptors were one of two teams added to the NBA in 1995, and they compiled a record of 21-61 in their inaugural season. They missed the playoffs their first four seasons, but in 1999 they earned a playoff berth and were knocked out in the first round by the Knicks. They made their second straight playoff appearance in 2000, and advanced to the conference semifinals where the 76'ers beat them. In 2001, they returned to the playoffs, but lost again in the first round. This time to the Pistons. The Raptors missed the playoffs for the next four seasons, but returned in 2006 after winning the Atlantic Division. Though, they were bounced in the first round by the Nets.

Vancouver(Memphis) Grizzlies: The Grizzlies were the other team added in 1995, and they started off with a record of 15-67. They endured nine straight seasons of missing the playoffs, and a move to Memphis, before earning their first playoff berth in 2003. Where they lost in the first round to the Spurs. The Grizzlies followed up their first playoff appearance with a second one in 2004, but lost again in the first round. This time to the Suns. In 2005, the Grizzlies made their third straight playoff appearance, but again lost in the first round. This time to Mavericks.

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers were one of two NFL teams added in 1995, and put together a record of 7-9. In just their second year, 1996, they made it to the playoffs and advanced all the way to the conference championship where they lost to the Packers. The Panthers missed the playoffs for the next six straight seasons before they earned another berth in 2003, and made it all the way to Super Bowl. Ultimately losing to the Patriots. The Panthers missed the playoffs in 2004, but returned in 2005 where they lost in the conference championship to the Seahawks. They missed the playoffs again in 2006.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars were the second NFL team added in 1995, and compiled a record of 4-12. They made four straight playoff appearances over the next four seasons, losing in the conference championships twice('96 & '99) and the wild card playoffs('97) and divisional playoffs('98) once. The Jags failed to make the playoffs over the course of the next five seasons, but reappeared in 2005, losing to the Patriots in the wild card round. They missed the playoffs in 2006.

So there you have it, a quick rundown of some of the other expansion teams that were added to their respective leagues around the same time that the Rockies were. Combined, the eight teams have a postseason record of 107-97, with six championship appearances and three championships. The Rockies have already contributed to that first number this season and hope to increase that second one to four.

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