October 27, 2001
Our World Series PredictionsThe Baseball Prospectus staff is divided in their World Series predictions. The only consensus is--and we're not guaranteeing this, Lou--that the series will stretch into next weekend.
Jeff Bower:: Nobody has ever gotten rich picking against the Yankees in the World Series.
The advent of the wild card and the expanded postseason means that even the best playoff teams face at least five-to-one odds to win the Series. The probability of the Yankees doing it three years in a row are on the order of 125 to 1. They've already shredded those odds.
Maybe it's that the Yankees pitching is better molded for a short series, in that its talent is top-heavy. Heck, I'm to the point of buying into the Yankees' mystique, The Curse of the Balboni, or even that Don Zimmer is a gnome. We are witnessing something very unique here, something that we may not see again in our lifetimes unless Bud Selig ultimately plans to contract baseball back to 16 teams and have them all travel by railroad.
Additionally, the baseball gods won't allow a team with purple in its color scheme to wear the crown. Canary yellow (1979), powder blue (1985), even teal (1997), but not purple.
Following deep sabermetric analysis (not shown), Yankees in seven.
Jeff Hildebrand: There should be a lot of low-scoring games here, which probably means a defensive gaffe or a weird bounce could play an absurdly huge role. As a result, predictions are even more dicey than usual.
Push comes to shove, I'll pick the Diamondbacks in seven, riding the arms of Curt Schilling, Randy Johnson, and, to a much lesser extent, Miguel Batista. However, about the only result that would surprise me is a D'backs sweep.
Gary Huckabay: Yankees in seven. It's not like Mike Mussina,Roger Clemens, and Andy Pettitte can't pitch, and we need to remember that the A's were beaten because they were flat-out outcoached. I think the same thing could happen here, even before remembering what I read in David Halberstam's The Tactical Mind: Bob Brenly.
Rany Jazayerli: Yankees in six. Mussina beats Schilling at least once, Pettitte beats Johnson at least once, and the Yankees clean up in Games Three and Four.
Chris Kahrl: Yankees in six. Tony Womack? Luis Gonzalez gets into the spirit of the season and goes pumpkin. Between the bottom of the Snakes' rotation costing them a game, and their bullpen likely to blow another, and the Snakes not having Tony LaRussa to give them a big assist, it may take a while, but a predictable willingness to use the three relievers to best advantage should be the difference. Again.
Keith Law: Diamondbacks in six, but I could easily see Yankees in six or seven. If it goes seven, the Yanks will win. If Brenly puts Schilling 1-4-7, Snakes could sneak it in five.
What a weird series this will be.
Dave Pease: D'backs in six. Schilling and Johnson win all four games they start, allowing seven runs and finishing with 55 strikeouts. Steve Finley saves a game with his glove and hits two bombs for the Diamondbacks.
Yes, this is some serious wishcasting on my part.
Joe Sheehan: Yankees in seven. Schilling and Johnson are awesome, but not invincible, and the Yankees are in good shape in the three games those two don't start. If Brenly shifts gears and uses Schilling three times, all bets are off.
Greg Spira: I pick, um, uh.... did I mention how much I hate making postseason predictions? I still believe that the results of postseason series are pretty much random, regardless of the Yankees' abnormal success the last few years. That the results are random is not at odds with the idea that the best postseason team is not necessarily the best regular-season team as a result of the different schedule, strategy, etc.
Having provided a massive cop-out, I pick Arizona in six, winning all four games started by the big two and losing the others.
Michael Wolverton: Yankees in six. I admit I haven't looked at the numbers on this, but it seems like the NL's best hurlers of recent years (Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Kevin Brown, Al Leiter, et al) haven't been as invincible when they go up against AL hitters. That, plus the Yankees having a fine pitching staff themselves, means I don't buy the "Schilling and Johnson will win the Series by themselves" argument.
Derek Zumsteg: Yankees in seven. I don't think anything can stop the Yankees. They've acquired the power of the glow, and are now invincible.
I think we'll also see the Yankees molded as a sort of national-spirit avatar, to the point that their performance will be become, like foreign policy, beyond criticism by patriotic Americans. Yankee fans will continue to make fools of themselves during games by chanting pro-Satan chants when Randy Johnson is pitching, but be heralded as hardy souls deserving of the healing powers of winning. The Diamondbacks will have to use this week to seek out wizened martial arts teachers (possibly fortune-cookie writers) who can help them to find their inner power and battle the Yankees, save Harlem, and win the heart of the girl.