The World Series began Wednesday night, and for the players of St.Â Louis and Texas, it comes as no surprise that the Cardinals and Rangers are competing in the final series in October. But for many others, it was a long shot that these teams would be representing their respectable leagues in the World Series.
Think back if you will to late February. Pitchers and catchers were reporting, and the talk of another MLB season was underway. All teams had the same opportunities, the same goals in mind, and the same amount of time to prepare for the marathon of the 2011 season.
Now in October, itâ€™s a sprint to the finish. We have seen the Cardinals and Rangers earn their spot in the World Series with good play during the season, and phenomenal play during the playoffs.
ESPN.com put out their predictions at the end of March. Analysts such as Pedro Gomez, Orel Hershiser, John Kruk, and Tim Kurkjian all predicted the division, wild card, pennant, and World Series winners. With the baseball smarts of men of this stature, some had to see this coming, right?
Wrong!Â Out of the 45 that put in predictions, zero of them had St. Louis being a part of the World Series. Five predicted the Cardinals to win the NL Central, but that is as far as they had them going.
Texas, on the other hand had a total of 29 predictions to win the AL West. This number is high in a group of 45, so obviously these analysts knew Texas was a force to be reckoned with. Yet, the Rangers also had no predictions of winning the AL Pennant.
Baseball is a game where everything needs to go right for a team to win it all, so it is strange to see that no one gave either of these teams much chance at the beginning of the year. Just because a pitching staff is stacked, or big hitters are up and down your lineup, doesnâ€™t mean you are guaranteed a spot at the table in October. However, the majority of these 45 do not think that way.
The Cincinnati Reds were the overwhelming favorite among the predictions for the NL Central. This year we saw a strong start by them, but they were unable to hold up throughout the season.
Boston and Philly were considerable favorites, which isnâ€™t surprising, but favorites in baseball doesnâ€™t mean much. The end of the season came along, and a collapse shatters Bostonâ€™s postseason chances.
Itâ€™s fascinating how many of these reporters took no chances.Â The Red Sox were picked to win the World Series by 33 out of the 45. All 45 predicted Boston to win the AL East. Along with the Red Sox, only 5 other teams were picked to win the World Series. The Phillies, Braves, Giants, Rockies, and White Sox were the others.
To put it simply, baseball is the most unpredictable sport, where any little thing can have an effect on an inning, game, series, etc. And looking over the predictions for this yearâ€™s playoffs, that is most relevant, now the World Series is upon us, consisting two teams that arenâ€™t supposed to be there.
So, whatâ€™s your prediction?