Three hours ago, ESPN’s Jayson Stark posted the official ESPN prediction for the World Series: The Cubs over the Red Sox. “I could guarantee you right now,” said Boston’s Sean Casey, “that we’d set a record for [TV] ratings. It’ll be nuts, man. Just nuts.”
Stark believes that both the Red Sox and Cubs have similar lineups and deep rotations, but the series will be won by the bullpens. “Marmol and Wood combined for 198 strikeouts in 153 2/3 innings — making them the only bullpen duo in baseball that averaged over 11 K’s per nine innings apiece. Jonathan Papelbon–Justin Masterson isn’t bad,” Stark writes. “But it isn’t that dominating.”
It’s nothing less than what Ryan Dempster promised in Spring Training, but coming from ESPN many fans will be thinking “don’t curse us.” Forget about it. “Our friends from Chicago are already pleading with us not to write this column. Sorry,” Stark writes.
I think he underestimates the 2008 Cubs: There is no curse. There is not goat. 100 years is just a number. If the Cubs blow it, it won’t be because of a black cat or a Bartman–it will be because they’re not a championship team. It would mean the pitchers are tired or the bats are slumping, not because of a sports network’s prediction.