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Who will claim World Series glory in '09?

Who will claim World Series glory in '09?

Before the Phillies even had a chance to throw the first pitch in defense of their 2008 World Series championship, the question had already been asked -- and answered -- many times over:

Who's next?

Probably not even the most phaithful of Phillies phanatics think the red-topped wonders from 2008 would be a consensus choice among media prognosticators as the '09 World Series champion. And they'd be right: No major national publication surveyed as Opening Day approached has the Phillies becoming the first team to go back-to-back since the Yankees finished off their three-peat in '00.

Which brings us back to ...

Who's next?

In a sampling of national media predictions, the American League East gets most of the admiration, with the Red Sox, Rays and Yankees all being mentioned as Series combatants.

Meanwhile, the Cubs stand out as the National League's favorite to make it all the way, and a few think this will be The Year. Of course, those who have made that prediction the last, oh, century or so have a career .000 batting average on that one. But nobody would rightfully say Sweet Lou and the boys don't warrant the nod.

So ...

Who's next?

Let's find out by taking a spin around a few national prognosticators to see what answers are out there -- and just for fun, let's look back at what they thought last year.

For the record, none of the following outlets got last year's Phillies-Rays World Series correct -- but hats go off to Lindy's for having the Phillies in there. Unfortunately, they also fell prey to the big cats that didn't roar like many thought they would in 2008.

While the Tigers were the darlings of last preseason's predictions -- much to the chagrin of those who saw Motown success in their tea leaves -- this year's predictions spread the love a little bit.

Here's a handful of them:

The Sporting News
World Series: Yankees over Cubs
AL East: Yankees; AL Central: Twins; AL West: Angels; Wild Card: Red Sox
NL East: Phillies; NL Central: Cubs; NL West: Dodgers; Wild Card: Mets
2008 World Series prediction: Red Sox over Cubs

Sports Illustrated
World Series: Mets over Angels
AL East: Yankees; AL Central: Twins; AL West: Angels; Wild Card: Red Sox
NL East: Mets; NL Central: Cubs; NL West: Dodgers; Wild Card: Phillies
2008 World Series prediction: Tigers over Cubs

ESPN the Magazine
World Series: Rays over Cubs
AL East: Rays; AL Central: Twins; AL West: Angels; Wild Card: Red Sox
NL East: Phillies; NL Central: Cubs; NL West: Dodgers; Wild Card: Mets
2008 World Series prediction: Indians over Cubs

Lindy's
World Series: Yankees over Cubs
AL East: Yankees; AL Central: Twins; AL West: Angels; Wild Card: Red Sox
NL East: Phillies; NL Central: Cubs; NL West: Dodgers; Wild Card: Marlins
2008 World Series prediction: Tigers over Phillies

Athlon
World Series: Red Sox over Phillies
AL East: Red Sox; AL Central: Twins; AL West: Angels; Wild Card: Yankees
NL East: Phillies; NL Central: Cubs; NL West: D-backs; Wild Card: Mets
2008 World Series prediction: Red Sox over D-backs

MLB.com
aka, The Second Annual Unofficial MLB.com Prediction from One MLB.com Reporter
World Series: Red Sox over Cubs
AL East: Red Sox; AL Central: Indians; AL West: Angels; Wild Card: Rays
NL East: Phillies; NL Central: Cubs; NL West: Dodgers; Wild Card: Mets
2008 World Series prediction: Tigers over Cubs

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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