How about an Indians-Reds World Series? Travel time: 3 hours, 57 minutes.
Indians GM Chris Antonetti has put together a terrific offense: Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn. Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis. There’s an intriguing young guy at third in Lonnie Chisenhall and interesting options all around for Terry Francona. If Trevor Bauer is the real deal, if Carlos Carrasco is healthy, if Ubaldo Jimenez has a productive year, this could be a fun baseball summer in Cleveland. When the Indians were really good and their home ballpark was packed, there was no better place to watch a game, and that’s the hope after years of building the farm system and now a winter spending spree.
Just down the road, the Reds are a finished product. Walt Jocketty has built a great team. There’s a completely different kind of pressure on the Reds. They’ve won the NL Central two of the last three years and with success comes pressure. Late last season when I asked Dusty Baker if the 2012 Reds had been an easy team to manage, he looked at me and smiled. Actually, it had been just the opposite, and Jocketty admitted feeling it himself. When anything less than the playoffs will be considered failure by so many, when there are so many competitive teams in the sport, the climb to the top is incredibly difficult.
Still, the Reds are really good. They’ve have no weaknesses and a proven manager and a group that knows how to survive the grind of a pennant race. The Cardinals will be good again, and the Brewers could be good. The Cubs are getting better. So there won’t be a cake walk. But it’s better than having a team attempting to overcome all kinds of weaknesses.