Proving absolutely nothing - except that people are highly influenced by what they hear and who they see on TV all the time - baseball fans polled nationwide think the Indians are among the least likely of the contenders to win the World Series this year.
In a poll taken by Rasmussen Reports - a big-time name in political polling - the Red Sox were named most often as the team most likely to win the Series, followed by the Yankees.
Here's a rundown of the numbers:
- Red Sox 24%
- Yankees 19%
- Some other team 18%
- Angels 9%
- Mets 7%
- Indians 6%
- Diamondbacks 3%
- Padres 1%
Some other team? What exactly does that mean?
I'm no professional pollster and a description of the poll's methodology wasn't provided, but how is it possible that no team from the N.L. Central is even listed among the possible World Series contenders?
I presume the poll was open-ended. In other words, no choices were given to the person answering the question. But even if that were true, I can't imagine the Cubs or Brewers didn't register a single percentage point.
The Indians get no credit as possible A.L. champs either, with 27% of those polled saying they expect the Red Sox to represent the American League in the Fall Classic, 20% picking the Yankees, 12% backing the Angels and only 7% saying the Indians will prevail in the A.L.
If anything, this poll shows me that baseball fans nationwide have been influenced by the oversaturation of coverage of "sports' greatest rivalry" (at least among those national media types born and bred on the East Coast) - the Red Sox and Yankees.
The Red Sox are fading badly. Their pitching staff is tired. And Manny is off on some personal vacation. Lord knows when the spirit will move him to come back to work.
The Yankees have been hot for a long time and their starting staff has shown signs recently of trouble ahead for whoever they play.
But the same can be said for the Indians, somewhat in reverse. Instead of relying on offense and hoping their pitching performs at the right time, the Tribe has gotten steller pitching all year, with spotty offense that will have to show up in October.
So, are the Yankees three times as likely as the Tribe to win the World Series, as this poll suggests?
I don't think so. Do you?