Did Anyone Predict the Red Sox Would Do Well This Season?
Amidst the many mea culpas being offered by sportswriters, we search for the clairvoyant among them.
Given a few days to reflect on the Red Soxâ€™ improbableÂ Word Series victory, many sports writers have offered amusing mea culpas by revisiting just how bad their pre-season predictions were, but justifying them by noting that everyone else was wrong, too. So we wondered, did any particularly prescient people predict the Red Sox would pull off a World Series win. Did anyone even come close, for that matter? Dustin Pedroia seemed confident enough back in March:
Only thing I ask is u believe now ! Don’t jump on later . Boston doesn’t have bandwagon fans ! It’s going to be … http://t.co/PAdTfY4RpU
â€” Dustin Pedroia (@15Lasershow) March 28, 2013
But did any, perhaps slightly more objective observers, predict this to happenâ€”predict even a playoff berth for the Red Sox?
Yahoo! SportsÂ sure didn’t.Â Nor did Sports Illustrated. It was mostly swings and misses at the Worldwide Leader, too.Â Certainly we atÂ Boston were caught off guard.Â And, as has been pointed out in the many posts rounding up the bad predictions, it seems that nobodyâ€”absolutely nobodyâ€”actually picked the Red Sox to win the AL East. (More on that in a moment.)
A few of ESPNâ€™s national pundits did pick the Red Sox to earn a measly Wild Card spot, but with 43 different predictions, the third-eye-blind baseball writer is bound to pick the Red Sox once or twice. Meanwhile, local media members who projected a playoff appearance, like ESPN Bostonâ€™s Joe McDonald or the Worcester Telegramâ€™s Bill Ballouâ€”apparently the forgotten man who actually didÂ pick Boston to win the AL Eastâ€”couldnâ€™t possibly foresee how the Red Sox would contend: with John Lackey on the pitcherâ€™s mound, dominating opposing hitters.
Except Joe McDonald predicted exactly that. While the Dan Shaugnessys of the world would prefer to shout from the press box that no one else believed the Red Sox would win the World Series or the AL East eitherâ€”incorrectly, as it turns outâ€”theyâ€™re selectively ignoring Ballouâ€™s and, to a greater degree, McDonaldâ€™s brilliant foresight. To revisit McDonaldâ€™s preseason predictions, he made a few notable claims:Â “The Sox will be a playoff team,” he said. And “Lester and Lackey will come up big.”
McDonald does more than predict that the Red Sox will back their way into a Wild Card spot. The Red Sox would contend if healthy, he argued, carried by the strength of their rotation. A motivated John Lackey would return to top form. For good measure he also correctly called Ellsburyâ€™s comeback year. And McDonald is likely weeks away from having his final predictionâ€”that the ultra-talented, but oft-injured centerfielder will relocate through free agencyâ€”confirmed as well.
Sure, neither Ballou nor McDonald picked the Sox to win the ALCS, much less win the World Series, but in this case, truly no one did. Well, perhaps, even thatâ€™s a stretch. ESPN commenter Marty2841 came about as close as one could reasonably expect to predicting the Red Sox season in one of the thousands of (mostly) negative responses to McDonaldâ€™s prediction post.
But clairvoyant commenters aside, we would be remiss not to acknowledge the preseason projections of McDonald and Ballou, especially with all the pundits making themselves feel better by noting that no one else got it right etiher. Somebody get them a duckboat!
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2013/11/04/anyone-predict-red-sox-well-season/