Which of final-eight teams do you hope wins the World Series? New poll. Vote now!; plus my division-series picks and Rootability Scale; also, Heat/Panthers betting odds, landslide verdict on Philbin firing, a personal note & more
GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.
1) It is THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8: I'm back up at Friday Page HQ today divining my latest NFL predictions. You got any extra luck laying around? 2) Click on Joe Had His Chance, Time to Move On for this week's column on the Dolphins' firing of Philbin. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fire Philbin with poll, SOPY standings, NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos fantasy results, Dee Gordon wins Marlins' 'Weighing The Fish' title & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram, Vine and Periscope.
A PERSONAL NOTE: Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook may be aware my mother passed away this week, at age 97. She is pictured just a couple of weeks earlier. I want to thank all of you for the outpouring of condolences. As I wrote on Twitter, "You have a lifetime to get ready to say goodbye, and then find it still isn't easy." But the support from our community of readers has helped. Thanks again!
AND YOUR ROOTING INTEREST TO WIN THE WORLD SERIES IS...: Immediately below our new poll you'll find my division-series predictions and also our Rootability Scale. But now it's your turn. The wild-card games are out of the way and we're down to the final eight teams with the two AL division series starting today/Thursday and the two NL series beginning Friday. Which team do you most hope wins the World Series? Pick your favorite from this alphabetical list and say why they have your support.
COTE'S DIVISION-SERIES PICKS: I've got a pair of upsets, one in each league... AL: Blue Jays over Rangers: No upset. Toronto has better hitting and David Price will steer them right in Game 1. Astros over Royals: Upset. Houston drops bombs, and Johnny Cueto has been a disappointment. NL: Cubs over Cardinals: Upset. Jake Arrieta is best pitcher in MLB right now, and Yadier Molina (thumb) is iffy for Cardbirds. Dodgers over Mets: No upset. Metros have great starters, too, but tough to align against Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
A NEUTRAL FAN'S GUIDE TO THE BASEBALL PLAYOFFS: We rank the 10 playoff teams including wild-cards on a Rootability Scale based on how long it has been since each team's fans last cheered a World Series championship.
1. Chicago Cubs: 1908 -- Theodore Roosevelt was president. Infants being cradled at Wrigley that fall are now aged 107, cranky and impatient. If you have no dog in this postseason hunt but are not rooting for the Cubs, you may be un-American.
2. Houston Astros: 1962 -- The Colt .45s have never won a World Series but fans have been waiting since '62, or two years before the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan.
3. Texas Rangers: 1972 -- They have never won a WS since relocating to Texas in '72. You know how long ago the Dolphins' Perfect Season seems? Exactly!
4. Pittsburgh Pirates: 1979 -- Willie Stargell and "We Are Family." Peanut farmer in the White House. Current Buccos the second wild-card out.
5. Kansas City Royals: 1985 -- George Brett and Bret Saberhagen were taking fans' brett away. (Sorry).
6. New York Mets: 1986 -- Strawberry. Carter. Gooden. But the major downside to rooting for the Mets is that it unavoidably means hoping for the happiness of Mets fans.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers: 1988 -- Doesn't it seem like they've won more recently? Plus they spent $300 million on players. Rooting for this team is like hoping Donald Trump wins the Lotto.
8. Toronto Blue Jays: 1993 -- Sorry, Canada. I know we've taken permanent custody of your Stanley Cup. But that doesn't mean we want you to purloin our National Pastime.
9. New York Yankees, 2009 -- Thank goodness the wild-card Yankees were the first team eliminated last night because, well ... they're the Yankees.
10. St. Louis Cardinals, 2011 -- Great fans. Great baseball city. But enough with the success, already!
HEAT, PANTHERS BETTING FORECASTS UNDERWHELMING: Bovada's new NBA victory over/unders out today find Miami Heat at a modest 45.5, with 41 of course a .500 record. That places Miami tied for 12th in league (Golden State leads at 59.5) and tied for fifth in the East (Cleveland is tops at 57.5). Over in the NHL, Panthers' 45-1 odds against winning the Stanley Cup rank 22nd of 30 teams. Chicago leads at 7-1.
Poll result: Enormous support for firing of Philbin: This is about as close to unanimity as you get in an online poll. We asked if you support the Dolphins' firing of Joe Philbin and 95.6 percent said yes. Only 2.8% answered no, with the other 1.6% undecided. I could ask, "Are you generally in favor of health and happiness?" and I doubt it'd be 95.6% yes.
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