By Barry Janoff
July 14, 2014: The Milwaukee Brewers and Oakland A's may be the success stories of the first half of the 2014 MLB season, but they are far from the favorites among people who follow baseball on a regular basis.
In a survey conducted prior to the news last week that New York Yankees pitcher Masashiro Tanaka had suffered a partially torn UCL suffered, which put the team's pitching ace (12-4) out for action for about six week, the Yankees were named MLB's favorite team and were named by 13% of those surveyed as the team most likely to win the World Series.
Only the San Francisco Giants, at 17%, were picked by more people to win the 2014 Fall Classic, according to a new survey from The Harris Poll.
Not mentioned but certainly a factor: This is the final season for Yankees shortstop and captain Derek Jeter, who has been on a city-to-city farewell tour, turning many who usually are Yankees haters into, at least for the moment, Jeter supporters.
Although the A's have the best record in MLB at the All-Star break (59-36), they were named as just the 13th favorite team among people in the survey. This is. none the less, a major jump from 27 in the 2013 as well as the team's best showing in MLB Harris Polls conducted back to 1999.
The Brewers, which lead the National League Central (53-43) following a 74-88 record last season, also made a significant jump — from 21 to 8 - but the team was named by just 3% of those surveyed as most likely to win the World Series.
According to The Harris Poll, the Yankees have been "America's Favorite" MLB team every year since 2003. Concurrently, a robust 40% of those surveyed named the Yankees as the team they would least like to see in the World Series in 2014.
Behind the Yankees are the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox, which placed second in the Harris Poll for the fifth consecutive year. Boston also placed second behind the Yankees as the team people would least likely want to see in the World Series (14%), and were named by just 6% among teams most likely to win this season's Fall Classic.
The Yankees come into the All-Star Game at 47-47, five games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East; the Red Sox are 43-52, last in the AL East.
Also among the Top Ten favorite teams, per The Harris Poll, are (in order) the Giants (up from No. 10 to No. 3), Chicago Cubs (up from No. 7 to No. 4), Atlanta Braves (down from No. 3 to No. 5), Los Angeles Dodgers (down from No. 4 to tied for No. 6), Detroit Tigers (down from No. 5 to tied for No. 6), the Brewers, All-Star Game host Minnesota Twins (up from No. 13 to No. 9), Kansas City Royals (up from No. 19 to tied for No. 10, the team's first Harris Poll Top Ten) and St. Louis Cardinals (up from No. 11 to tied for No. 10).
The bottom five teams in this season's Harris Poll: the Miami Marlins, Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim, San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays. The Harris Poll pointed out that the sample survey only included MLB fans in the U.S., which would put the Blue Jays at a disadvantage.
The Marlins and Padres also were named as teams least likely to win the World Series, along with the Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.
Regarding MLB instant replay, 77% of those surveyed said that they were aware of a change that allowed each team's manager to "challenge" one call, with the final decision made through an instant replay (a second challenge can be issued if the first results in an overturned call). And a combined 83% said they believed that the rule change was either "very good" (46%) or "somewhat good" (41%) for baseball.
However, only 23% of those surveyed indicated that the rule change has "not impacted the pace (of the game) at all, while a combined 65% responded that the game has slowed down "a little bit," "somewhat" or "a great deal."
The Harris Poll was conducted among 2,241 adults, of whom said they follow 763 follow MLB, surveyed online between June 4 and 16, 2014.
See the full MLB Harris Poll here.
Back to Home Page