The 2011 World Series kicks off Wednesday night as Texas heads to St. Louis for Game 1. All playoff baseball is exciting and it’s sure to be an interesting matchup, but TV executives probably aren’t too thrilled about a Rangers-Cardinals Fall Classic—a series between two mid-market non-coastal teams probably won’t break any ratings records.
The Indians’ season has been over for three weeks now, but I hope that doesn’t mean my fellow Tribe fans have stopped paying attention. The playoffs are exhilarating whether your team is in it or not, and real fans of the sport watch through to the end.
But when you’re watching a game that your favorite team isn’t a part of, a dilemma presents itself: who should you root for? In a post at Beyond the Box Score before the playoffs started, I introduced a new tchotchke statistic called ROOT (Rootability Of Other Teams) that ranks each franchise’s appeal to fans of other teams (for full methodology, check out the original post).
According to the numbers, Cleveland fans should be pulling for the Cardinals to win their second championship in 6 years. Their appeal comes from their preseason underdog status (they missed the playoffs last year) and late-season comeback; their stock will rise even further for Tribe fans if (as rumored) they re-add longtime Indian Jake Westbrook to their 25-man roster.
The Rangers, according to Carson Cistulli’s NERD scores, are more fun to watch than the Cardinals, but the lack of a compelling storyline (they won the AL West last year and it was no surprise that they repeated in 2011) and former Cleveland players puts them below St. Louis.
Take this with a grain of salt—to be honest, I’m actually finding myself rooting for Texas for reasons I’m not quite sure of—but if you’re not sure who to cheer for in the World Series, go ahead and reach for a Cardinals cap.