10/30/2012 02:05 pm ET Updated Dec 30, 2012

How Do You Measure a MLB Dynasty?

"Lineage matters to the faithful, and I suppose that two World Series victories in three years is when you can reasonably start talking dynasty." -Grantland

"Two titles in three years might not count as a dynasty, just yet, but it is getting awfully close." -New York Times

"If you look at the Giants' team statistics, they don't look like those of a dynasty."--The New Republic

Pundits are having a hard time figuring out what to make of the San Francisco Giants' recent World Series win. Nobody is arguing the team didn't deserve the crown; but when a team wins two championships in three years, it arouses discussion of the d-word. Yet, despite the incredible accomplishments of this young team, they haven't been considered a force to be reckoned with. And, if TV ratings are any indication, few people are even paying much attention to the Giants.

For many fans, the Giants' rise might appear to have come out of nowhere. After all, their best players aren't exactly household names. For the Wall Street Journal's Brian Costa, there's a clear comparison to be made between this team and another recent one: "Not since the New York Yankees won four titles between 1996 and 2000 has a team won two championships in three years. And there are enough parallels to believe the Giants could be in the midst of a similar run."

Although it's way too soon to say that the Giants have the pieces at play to rival the Yankees' dominance of the past 15 years, the franchise does have a rich history of success behind them. Only the Yankees have more World Series appearances under their belt (40:19). The key difference is that the Giants' first 14 appearances came while they were playing in New York. Once the team moved to San Francisco in 1958, they lost their next three World Series appearances, and 2010 was their first victory in their new hometown. Making the final series lends credibility, but titles are how to get respect from the sports world.

The biggest argument in favor of labeling the Giants' current run a dynasty is that it's become harder to win consistently. When the Yankees won in 1996, they had the number one payroll in the league. But other teams came close. This year, the Giants spent the seventh most money in the league on salaries, which shows a willingness to spend on talent. Many have pointed out that the Giants really hit their stride once they brought in some veteran players via trades (Pagan, Pence, Scutaro) to fill perceived gaps in their lineup

It's most difficult to define this team because baseball history hasn't really seen it before. It will really take another Giants' win before the 1996 Yankees' comparison is apt. If you look back, there's no example of a team putting together a surprising dynasty like this. Between the Yankees' victories, St. Louis won in 2006 and 2011; Boston took the 2004 and 2007 series; and Florida earned the 1997 and 2003 crowns. The Blue Jays were on the verge in 1992 and '93 but the baseball strike stopped their momentum short. Aside from the Twins taking home titles in 1987 and 1991, different teams won the World Series every season between 1979 and 1991. Nobody has won two out of three years since the Dodgers in 1963 and 1965.

That's not to say great teams didn't turn up. The 1970s were dominated by great and established powerhouses Oakland and Cincinnati teams winning three and then two championships in a row. At the end of the decade the Yankees won both in 1977 1978, an era full of promise for the dominant team but mostly remembered for the turmoil of Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin, and the theatrics of Bucky Dent.

If they can keep their title team together, they could make another run of it next year, and thus enter into uncharted territory as a team that forced the baseball community to accept them as a league power. That would be a first.