Sports Illustrated released three covers for their annual MLB preview today. Great, good — plenty of space to showcase some of the league’s top talent and top teams. Maybe some teams that, I don’t know, have several young stars and maybe played in the World Series last year. Off the top of my head.
Next up is Mike Trout.
Ok, fine. He’s on a team going nowhere but he’s Mike Trout so he certainly deserves a look. I’d pick a super star on a winning team if I’m previewing the whole league, maybe a player who is the best at his position with the greatest smile that ever graced this earth, but sure. Trout’s fine. At least the AL-winning Indians remain with the “new Cubs” tagline so that’s neat.
And the third and final team... the Red Sox?
What the shit? You know the Indians beat them in the ALDS, right? Swept them, in fact. And you know the Indians are basically the same team plus the best pure hitter of last year’s free agent class, right? Does that not deserve some kind of cover credit? Not to mention they have arguably one of the most marketable players in the game right now in Francisco Lindor. The Red Sox cover features Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendo64, and a concerned-looking Jackie Bradley Jr. Could that really not have been Lindor, Jason Kipnis, and Jose Ramirez? Or even just three different pictures of Lindor photoshopped together? Who would argue against that? No one, that’s who.
But don’t worry, Sports Illustrated was nice enough to pick the Indians to lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. Predicting back-to-back AL pennants isn’t enough for a cover story, though.
And, to be fair, we probably don’t want Sports Illustrated to feature the Indians, much less pick them as World Series favorites. The last time that happened, prior to the 2015 season, things did not go well. And the same thing happened in ‘87. It didn’t go well then, either.
At least we got some good back-and-forth out of 2015’s cover choice.
Fight me IRL, Sports Illustrated.