Speaking of the Worldwide Leader and its many voices: ESPN has polled its baseball writers, and one of them believes these Braves are bound for glory. Good news: Enrique Rojas of ESPN deportes picks the local nine to beat the Yankees in six games in the Fall Classic.
Bad news: Twenty-eight other ESPNers feel otherwise.
The breakdown: Twenty-five of the 29 see the Braves prevailing in the play-in game against St. Louis today; 11 of those 25 have the Braves beating the Washington Nationals in the Division Series; four of those 11 have the Braves handling either the Reds or the Giants in the NLCS, and good ol’ Enrique Rojas has Atlanta going the distance.
For the record, here’s the breakdown on the predicted-by-ESPN champ: Tigers seven votes, Yankees and Giants and Nationals five each, Reds four, Texas and Oakland and Atlanta one apiece. That means nobody is picking St. Louis or Baltimore, the No. 2 wild cards.
As noted early, this is fun stuff. (Particularly fun is noting how many baseball experts ESPN has.) But it also indicates what we’ve known — or should have known — all along: That the baseball postseason is a crap shoot, and in this particular year there’s nothing close to a consensus. There is, however, a rather odd groundswell for the Tigers, who tied St. Louis for the 12th-best record in baseball.
For further reading: ESPN’s Jayson Stark (who’s here at Turner Field, FYI) polled the 16 big-league execs, general mangers and scouts, and five of them have the Braves advancing to the Fall Classic. Three have them winning it all. (Mr. Stark likes the Giants over the Tigers, but he admits he was tempted to pick the Braves. Why didn’t he? “I wasn’t going to pick a team that could be out by tonight,” he said.)
By Mark Bradley