It wasn't a record, but it was remarkable.
The Cleveland Indians, as you doubtless know, won 22 straight baseball games before losing Friday night.
It's the longest such streak in American League history. It was the first time any team had won more than 20 straight since the 1935 Chicago Cubs — which means before integration, before expansion, before jet travel. It was baseball, yes, but a vastly different set of circumstances
Only seven teams in major league history have compiled winning streaks of 20 or more, and three of them turned the trick in the 1880s, which is even less comparable to the modern game.
The 1916 New York Giants are credited with 26 straight wins. There was a tie in the middle of that, but the game was restarted from scratch the next day; the stats counted, but the result did not. The Giants also had a 17-game winning streak that year — and still, somehow, finished fourth. They went 86-66, with half the wins coming in two winning streaks. Now that's a team that ran hot and cold.
There is a lot of randomness to baseball, which is why even a truly dominant team, such as the 1998 Yankees (114 wins), is unlikely to put together a long winning streak.
But there was nothing random about Cleveland's streak. They outscored their opponents by more than 100 runs over the 22 games (142-37), meaning they won by an average of almost five runs per game. That's dominance.
The 2017 season has been marked by a couple lengthy dominant team streaks. The Los Angeles Dodgers at one point went 51-9, and then followed that up with a 1-15 plummet. (As with the 1916 Giants, a team that ran hot and cold.)
The Dodgers are still likely to reach 100 wins (they entered Saturday's play with 95). But they won't be particularly close to the all time record, 116 wins by the 1906 Chicago Cubs and the 2001 Seattle Mariners.
But here's the odd thing about these teams that truly dominated the regular season. They almost never win in October.
The 1906 Cubs, with the best winning percentage since the dawn of the 20th century, lost the World Series to the "Hitless Wonder" Chicago White Sox.
The 1954 Cleveland Indians, who won 114 games and hold the American League record for winning percentage, got swept in the World Series by the New York Giants in a series remembered for Willie Mays' catch.
The 2001 Mariners didn't even get to the Series; they lost to the Yankees in the playoffs.
Of the four teams to win 114 or more games, only the 1998 Yankees prevailed.
As I said earlier: There's a lot of randomness in baseball. And today's multi-tiered playoff system devalues the regular season and offers more opportunity for randomness to strike in the postseason.
Cleveland and Los Angeles have dominated at different times this season. They both start at zero again in a couple of weeks.