NL Wild Card Game Thread: Reds @ Pirates win or go home

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The NL Wild Card Game takes place Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. Mark apologizes to Orioles fans who lived through 1979, but he's rooting for Andrew Gibson's team.

How do you decide which National League team to root for? Most years, I have no interest whatsoever. Whatever team wins the NL, I might only grudgingly root for them if the American League winner is some team I really don't like. But I do that with regret, because even if the disliked AL team loses, then I still have to spend the next year listening to fans of NL teams acting like they play real baseball. Ooh, pitchers hitting, double switches, so compelling! Barf.

This year, my friend and former Camden Chat writer Andrew Gibson works for the Pirates, so I won't be sad if they win. Pittsburgh and Baltimore have a lot in common as cities: former manufacturing towns that have had to re-invent themselves in these times. Were it not for lingering bad feelings from defeats in the 1970s and the rivalry of the two cities' NFL teams, they would be natural allies against, for instance, the likes of the Bostons of the world.

There's no real reason to dislike Cincinnati either, although as managers go, Dusty Baker is not a well-regarded one among the Internet baseball community, probably because he seems not to recognize that the best player on his team is Joey Votto. Baker loves bunting and destroying pitchers, so that's a little on the silly side.

Where does your conscience take you for this one-game Wild Card extravaganza in Pittsburgh? The game airs on TBS at 8:07 Eastern.


PITTSBURGH PIRATES CINCINNATI REDS
Starling Marte (R) - LF Shin-Soo Choo (L) - CF
Neil Walker (S) - 2B Ryan Ludwick (R) - LF
Andrew McCutchen (R) - CF Joey Votto (L) - 1B
Justin Morneau (L) - 1B Brandon Phillips (R) - 2B
Marlon Byrd (R) - RF Jay Bruce (L) - RF
Pedro Alvarez (L) - 3B Todd Frazier (R) - 3B
Russell Martin (R) - C Zack Cozart (R) - SS
Clint Barmes (R) - SS Ryan Hanigan (R) - C
Francisco Liriano (L) - P Johnny Cueto (R) - P

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