My two favorite R.E.M. albums, Out of Time and Automatic for the People came out in 1991 and 1992, the Dallas Cowboys ruled the NFL, and my New Jersey Devils won their first title in 1995. However, most importantly, baseball was at one of its peaks of its popularity, and if you asked fans what they were sick of by the end of the decade, it would most likely be the Tomahawk Chop and Yankee Pinstripes in October.
If you were to look up "Team of the 90s" on Google, you would most likely find an old debate on whether its the Atlanta Braves or the New York Yankees. The Braves won 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005, 8 straight NLCS appearances, 5 NL pennants, and a World Series in 1995. The Yankees won 4 out 5 World Titles in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. In 1996 and 1999, these two titans of the 90s faced off, with the Bronx Bombers taking both titles.
This was the peak for the Atlanta Braves, and one of the many for the New York Yankees, and in 2017, they are far from the top. The Braves have not made the Postseason since 2013, and the Yankees have only made the Postseason once since 2012, an AL Wild Card loss to the Houston Astros in 2015. Although the two respected franchises are not on the top of the standings right now, they are on top of another important lists, the MILB farm systems.
According to a poll I conducted on Twitter, 48% of voters believe that the Braves and Yankees would face in a World Series matchup as early as 2019, and for good reason. The Braves have the #1 farm system, with 7 Top 100 prospects, 2B Ozzie Albies, SS Kevin Maitan, P Kolby Allard, P Mike Soroka, P Sean Newcomb, P Ian Anderson, and CF Ronald Acuna. In 2016, the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves and Single-A Rome Braves won their respective leagues titles, while the Double-A Mississippi Braves made it to the championship of their league.
The Yankees have the #2 overall farm system, they also have 7 Top 100 prospects, SS Gleybar Torres, OF Clint Frazier, OF Blake Rutherford, OF Aaron Judge, SS/3B Jorge Mateo, P James Kaprielian, and P Jestus Sheffield. Judge, C Gary Sanchez, and 1B Greg Bird are already up in the Bronx and have become known as the "Baby Bombers".
These two squads have the talent, and there are names on the MLB.com lists that I have not even touched on who are making serious noise in the minor leagues.
If the start of 2017 is any indication of the future, both of the Yankees and the Braves are showing that they may be ahead of schedule, although this is just a small sample. Right now the Yankees have won 8 a row and the Braves have won 4 in a row, opening up SunTrust Park with 3 straight wins over the San Diego Padres.
Are these two teams World Series contenders? Who knows, probably not at this moment and if so, it is definitely the Yankees as long as their starting rotation can keep their ERA down. Either way, the signs are all pointing to these two powerhouses with two of the largest fanbases in the country facing off at one point or another within the next 5 years.
I personally would love another shot at redemption against the Bronx Bombers, and I know for certain all of Braves Country and the Bleacher Creatures would enjoy another showdown in the Fall Classic.