By Bob Elliott
KANSAS CITY _ Who will win the 111th World Series?
Will it be the pitching-rich New York Mets, who have not won a World Series since 1986?
Or will it be the Kansas City Royals who have not won since 1985 and were here a year ago losing to the San Francisco Giants stranding the tying run 90 feet away in Game 7?
We asked the dandelions of North American seam heads. Our panel of expert favored the Royals 18-8.
We always lead off with guys who picked last year’s result accurately.
Only one scribe had the Giants beating the Royals in seven games, so he hits lead off in out 30th annual light-hearted Series poll:
Mark Whicker, LA News Group: Royals in 5. “Eric Hosmer is a better first baseman than Billy Buckner.”
Ray Ratto, Comcast.net Sports: Jays in 6. “Hell yes I’m pandering. What’s it to you?”
Andy McCullough, Kansas City Star: Royals in 6. “Because if anyone is reading this I’d like a free beer.”
Gerry Fraley, Dallas Morning News; Mets in 6. “The R.A. Dickey trade is going to haunt the Jays for years.”
Tracy Ringolsby, MLB.com: Royals in 5. “They came up 90 feet short a year ago and have been focused on making the final step for the last 12 months.”
Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe, whose son Sam Shaughnessy doubled off North Carolina’s Matt Harvey, playing for Boston College Eagles in 2009: Mets in 6 “On the strength of their starters and their closer.”
Jayson Stark, ESPN.com: Royals in 6. “K.C. can negate the strength of the Mets in so many ways ... but I’m always wrong.”
Bob Nightengale, USA Today: Royals in 7. “Once again, the long layoff will hurt the team that sweeps the LCS.”
Sammy Mellinger, Kansas City Star: Royals in 7. “They hit power pitching and have a better bullpen.”
Ben Walker, Associated Press: Mets in 6. “The Royals are facing pitching they have never seen before.”
Michael Silverman, Boston Herald, Royals in 7. “They faced worst adversity than Daniel Murphy and the three Mets starters.”
Kevin Kernan, New York Post: Mets in 5. “K.C. has to face three Madison Bumgarners this year.”
Bob Dutton, Tacoma News Tribune, Royals in 6. “Even though that means I’ll lose a long-time bet with a close friend. Years ago, I bet she’d get a ring before the Royals did. Am prepared to pay off.”
Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports: Royals in 6. “I have no idea why.”
Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated: Mets in 7. “The Mets should have the best starter each game. Looking at it historically their staff could be the story of the series.”
Jim Caple, ESPN.com: Royals in 5. “Because they beat the Blue Jays and because, unlike other teams, they put the ball in play instead of striking out all the time.”
Peter Gammons, MLB Network: Royals in 7: “The difference is defence at second, short and behind the plate.”
Rick Hummel, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Royals in 6. “If Johnny Cueto pitches two games in Kansas City.”
George King, New York Post: Royals in 6. “K.C. is tailored to play in both parks.”
Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Royals in 6. “This is a team that won’t be denied after coming so close last year.”
Michael Bauman, MLB.com: Royals in 6. “They won’t be overwhelmed by the Mets pitching like the Cubs were. They’re contact hitters.”
Marly Rivera, ESPN Deportes: Royals in 7. “Home field advantage. KC will win three of four at home, the Mets two of three.”
Paul Hagen, MLB.com: Mets in 6. “In my heart I think K.C. is this better team, but I can’t get around the Mets pitching staff.”
Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, Royals in 6. “Murphy can’t stay hot forever.”
Arash Madani, Sportsnet, Mets in 5. “What’s the old adage about no crying in baseball? Perhaps the Mets are changing the game. Remember on July 29, when Wilmer Flores thought he was traded, wept on the field and received a standing ovation? Maybe the Mets are a team of destiny proving that there can be crying in baseball and still make you a World Series team.”
Erik Boland, New York Newsday, Royals in 7: “If was four at Citi Field rather than four at K.C., I’d go Mets.”
Phil Rogers, MLB.com, Mets in 6: “Too much pitching.”