CLEVELAND -- Three of the past four World Series have included a team from the American League Central. In 2013, the only season that serves as the exception, the Indians reached the AL Wild Card Game but did not last any deeper into October.
So it goes without saying that it might be tough for anyone associated with Cleveland to tune in to the Fall Classic without some hard feelings. That said, when the Royals face the Mets, the Indians might also feel like this fall's participants provide hope that the Tribe is not that far off from similar success.
"I think you see the core of the Mets' rotation, and you can feel that we have something similar in our core starters right now," Indians general manager Mike Chernoff said. "And then you see the same thing with the Royals' position players and feel like, with a core group of guys here for the long term, maybe we can replicate both of those things."
Statistically, Cleveland's front four of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer hold up against the Mets' core rotation quartet of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. On the position-player side, the Indians have a strong core group consisting of outfielder Michael Brantley, second baseman Jason Kipnis, shortstop Francisco Lindor and catcher Yan Gomes.
Chernoff said that while watching the postseason, he tends to pull for people he knows within the other organizations involved.
"It's hard watching other teams play," Chernoff said, "because we're all so competitive and we all want to be there. It's energizing in some ways, and motivating, because we want to be there. And I think a lot of the overarching sentiment when I'm watching other teams is just the fun and the passion for baseball.
"This game, at so many levels, is about people," he added. "So, whether it's close friends I have in other front offices, in both the Mets and Royals front offices, or just the storylines about the players, deep down, we're all huge baseball fans, so it's just fun to watch it at that level."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.