By Dan Schlossberg
When it comes to predicting the results of the baseball playoffs, even the experts can’t agree.
The seven sportswriters whose picks were published by The New York Post Tuesday picked five different 2021 world champions.
Greg Joyce, Ian O’Connor, and Mike Vaccaro picked Tampa Bay, Joel Sherman picked Los Angeles, Mike Puma went with San Francisco, Dan Martin chose Houston, and Ken Davidoff selected the Atlanta Braves — a team that has won one world title in each of the three cities it called home.
Of the seven would-be prognosticators, only Puma picked a hometown favorite — the New York Yankees — to advance as far as the final round. But he also suggested San Francisco would knock off the Yankees in six games.
With seven-game World Series increasingly rare, only O’Connor and Sherman said the Series would last that long, both times with the Rays involved.
Tampa Bay has never won a Fall Classic but that will change this year, if the three Post writers who picked the enigmatic but energetic Rays prove right.
All seven sportswriters erroneously selected the Yankees to beat the Red Sox in the Wild Card game, even though the Bostonians had the huge home-field advantage of playing at historic Fenway Park.
And all but Sherman picked San Francisco to advance to the National League Championship Series after leading the majors with a franchise-record 107 wins.
If Martin is correct in selecting the Astros to go all the way, it will give Dusty Baker his first World Championship as a manager after 22 seasons of futility. Baker won once as a player with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
If Sherman is right, the Dodgers will have consecutive world titles for the first time in team history. Los Angeles won 106 times, most ever by a second-place team, in 2021.
Tampa Bay has lost its only two World Series appearances, in 2008 and 2020, but never had a 100-win season before either. The Little Engine That Could prevailed over a tough field as Beast of the East in the American League. Both AL wild-cards, the Red Sox and Yankees, came from that same grouping.
Several sweeps were forecast by the Post writers. Davidoff picked the Giants over the Cardinals in the NLDS, Martin said the Rays will sweep the Yankees in the ALDS, and Vaccaro had the Astros sweeping the White Sox in the other ALDS series.
It’s interesting to note that Davidoff’s projected World Series matchup would pit the oldest manager in the American League, 76-year-old Tony La Russa of the Chicago White Sox, against the oldest manager in the National League, 65-year-old Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves.
As baseball history tells us, age is a matter of mind; if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ covers the game for forbes.com, Latino Sports, USA TODAY Sports Weekly, Sports Collectors Digest, Ball Nine, Here’s The Pitch, and more. He’s also the author of 38 books on baseball. E.mail him at email@example.com.
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