12 teams are in. Vacation starts once the final out is recorded for the other 18. Fans of those 18 teams can move on to other activities until spring training or can spend the next month rooting for their favorite of who’s still standing. Let’s go down the list.
AL (in seeeded order):
1) The Houston Astros. Who’s rooting for them besides Astros fans? Virtually nobody. They’re expected to win. They’re a big market team. They’ve had a lot of recent success. While the sign stealing scandal occurred five years ago now, many have never forgiven them—especially since they faced little in the way of consequences.
2) The New York Yankees. Who’s rooting for the besides Yankees fans? Very few. Non-Yankees fans don’t root for the Yankees. They are (with the Dodgers) the ultimate big market team. Rooting for them is like rooting for the bank. That said, there will be plenty rooting for Aaron Judge individually, hoping to see more batting heroics.
3) The Cleveland Guardians. They are the hot team of September. Fans who like pitching will gravitate toward them in the AL.
4) The Toronto Blue Jays. People will tune into them for the opposite reason of the Clevelanders—to see lots of fireworks. Their core is young and exciting.
5) The Seattle Mariners. It’s their first time in the playoffs in 21 years. Only their opponents will be rooting against them. They also get to play the underdog card against the Blue Jays.
6) The Tampa Bay Rays. They are always the heroes of the do more with less crowd. They led the league in injuries and still made it in. They are the ultimate in analytic strategy and roster make, for good and bad. The only thing keeping them from being the favorite underdog is that he Mariners—but they won’t play each other unless they both get to the ALCS.
NL (in seeded order):
1) The Los Angeles Dodgers. They have a lot of popular players—Clayton Kershaw, Mookie Betts, etc. However, they are the other big market behemoth and also won a ring just two years ago. This is, what, they’re 8th straight playoff appearance? Even with question marks about their bullpen, they totally dominated the NL, and most expect them to win the pennant…so zero underdog appeal. That is, non-Dodger fans might root for a particular player but probably not the team.
2) The Atlanta Braves. They are the defending champs, so no underdog appeal for them either. They are deep in pitching though.
3) The St Louis Cardinals. The top three NL seeds all have very large fan bases but the Cardinals will have added support from casual fans and non playoff team fans that the Braves and Dodgers won’t. There are three reasons: Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina, and Albert Pujols. Everyone knows this is it for them, but expect the media to play it to the hilt. Many, many want to see just a bit more heroics, a swan song for the ages…especially from Pujols.
4) The New York Mets. A huge market team that seems to finally understand it’s a big market they’re in. Yet they still have some kid brother/underdog appeal to them. Sharing a market with the Yankees will do that. This is another pitching heavy team, especially with deGrom and Scherzer.
5) The San Diego Padres. They’re in, but to many they feel like a disappointment, as in they should be better. No Tatis due to suspension hurts both their team and their appeal.
6) The Philadelphia Phillies. They should have some underdog appeal having been out of the playoffs for over a decade. However, I think most hearts and minds outside of Philly will be rooting for the Cards in the first round.
3 thoughts on “Who to Root For in the Playoffs”
In the AL I’m pulling for the Mariners. They’ve never made it to the WS and they have a former Tigger, Matthew Boyd, who is a world class human being. Click here to see work he and his wife are doing: https://www.kingdomhome.org/
In the NL, not much that I like. Braves, just won and that nickname has to go. Cardinals, still pissed about the Tiggers losing to a barely .500 team in 2006. Mets, I never root for anything NY. Dodgers, nope to big spenders. Phillies, nope, can’t root for a Dombrowski team. All that’s left is the Padres.
Plus, you have to love the story of a guy making the playoffs as a member of his childhood team.
I obviously have to root for my Jays, but if Seattle beats them, then I will be cheering for the M’s to win. On the NL side, the only ones I’d probably root for would be the Cards, mainly because of Albert, Yadi and Waino.
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