I think 2013 has been the most successful season ever for this group of five teams, all of whom, over the past several decades, had at least one long stretch of futility. Fans of all of these teams but the Reds have, at some point in the last 25 years, lived through cheering for one of the two or three most ridiculed teams in MLB.
But in 2013, the five teams combined for a 455-355 record (.562) and four playoff spots. You can take their showing, together with the Cardinals again doing well, as a renaissance for MLB in, not so much the Midwest (check the problems of the Twins and Brewers, and the two Chicago teams), but the cities of the mid-Mississippi and Ohio River valleys, as well as Cleveland and Detroit. It’s probably the best time ever to be a fan of MLB who lives between Indiana and mid-Pennsylvania, and a welcome change from the incessant attention paid to the Yankees and Red Sox over the last decade or so. An Indians-Pirates (or Tigers-Pirates) 2013 World Series was in the back of my mind since April, and while the MLB marketing people probably cringed at the prospect, it would have tested whether MLB still has enough nationwide appeal to enough people to overcome the lack of a big-city coastal team in the Series.