Wide Open

ESPN has a ton of baseball experts.  ESPN asked these baseball  experts to pick the Major League playoffs.  They came back with eight different World Series winners.

That's remarkable.

Usually, you'll hear about eight different potential World Series winners at the start of the season.  Not at the start of the playoffs.  Not when only 10 teams even make the playoffs.

Everyone but the Cardinals was picked in the National League (though Mark Simon did pick them to make the World Series).  Everyone but the Orioles was picked in the American League.

Do you remember when the big criticism with baseball was unbalance?  At the start of the season, it was sneered, we know exactly who's going to make the playoffs and exactly who won't.  Plus, the Yankees were buying every big talent in sight -- it was awful.  Most of the teams simply didn't have a chance to compete.

Boom.  Solved.

(Almost.  There are avenues still to be crossed, but at least they're making inroads.)

Here's the playoff lineup:

The American League
  • The New York Yankees, the traditional powerhouse and bully
  • The Baltimore Orioles, the longtime doormat with newfound magic
  • The Detroit Tigers, possessing the Major Leagues' best pitcher and best hitter
  • The Oakland Athletics, the sizzling, low-salaried, anonymous underdog
  • The Texas Rangers, the back-to-back World Series runner-up

The National League
  • The Washington Nationals, the surprising upstarts built on starting pitching
  • The Atlanta Braves, the 1990s dynasty with a remarkable new group of arms
  • The Cincinnati Reds, all-around excellence with an unhittable young closer
  • The St. Louis Cardinals, the defending World Series champions
  • The San Francisco Giants, the 2010 champs, who simply find ways to win


5:07 p.m.:  St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves
8:07 p.m.:  Baltimore Orioles at Texas Rangers

Let's get it on.


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