Once again we find ourselves at the beginning of a post season with our team sitting at home. Most of you have probably already chosen your playoff allegiances, but if you're wondering just who to root for, consider this list of pros and cons for each playoff team:
Pro: Let's face it, the ultimate goal here is to keep the New York Yankees from winning the World Series, and the Phillies are the best bet to stop them if they get that far. Yes, the Yankees beat them last year, but this year their rotation is in shambles while the Phillies are sporting a top three of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt. I'd give them pretty good odds to take the Yanks. Additionally, it's very easy to root for Halladay. He's making his first post-season appearance in his thirteenth big league season, twelve of which he spent dominating the AL East and then watching other teams in his division go on to the playoffs.
Con: Do you really want the same team in the World Series three years in a row? It's so tiresome seeing the same teams in the postseason over and over again, and the Phillies are one of those teams. Plus, you know, those people from Philadelphia with their batteries and vomit.
Ex-Orioles: Danys Baez. That certainly doesn't help their cause.
Pro: The Reds haven't been to the playoffs since 1995 and parallels between them and the Orioles are easy to make. Plus, everyone loves an underdog, right? A fresh face in the postseason is always a good thing. And if, like me, you revel in the idea of a middle America World Series that will have Bud Selig wringing his hands, this is the team for you. Also, Joey Votto!
Con: Any success by the Reds will be attributed to Dusty Baker. He's already gotten a two year extension thanks to this season, and if the Reds win the World Series who knows what might happen.
Ex-Orioles: Arthur Rhodes and Ramon Hernandez. Arthur Rhodes, man. Arthur effing Rhodes is in the playoffs.
Pro: Aubrey Huff. I mean, do I need to say more? The dude has played almost 1500 career games without sniffing the playoffs, and he's a good guy. He had his ups and downs both on and off the field in his three years in Baltimore, but he turned out to be one of the most likable guys to play for the team in recent history. He only ended up in San Francisco because no one else wanted him, and he's had an amazing bounce back year. If you need some other reasons, their colors are also orange and black and their pitching staff is sick.
Con: Do you really want to live in a world where Chris Ray has a World Series ring and Brian Roberts doesn't? Plus, this team is kind of the double whammy of things I find hard to care about. West Coast and National League. And since the NL West has become this place where players not good enough for the Orioles end up, it's pretty hard to take them seriously.
Ex-Orioles: Aubrey Huff, Eli Whiteside, Chris Ray. Also, for awhile this season, Denny Bautista.
Pro: Bobby Cox is retiring at the end of the season, so if that kind of nostalgia is your thing, this might be the team for you. Cox has been managing in the big leagues since before I was born. It's a pretty big feat and it might be considered a shame by some that he didn't win more than one WS with the Braves in the 1990s. The Braves also haven't been to the playoffs in five years, which is small potatoes to us Orioles fans, but it still makes them a relatively fresh face.
Con: Atlanta is a lousy baseball town. They don't even sell out their playoff games, and you can buy a ticket from them on the website. Seriously, I just tried it! And it would only cost me $40 a ticket. What on earth? That's some BS.
Ex-Orioles: None. Although they do have on their roster the Patron Saint of Birdland, Eric O'Flaherty.
Pro: The Rays are the team that took down the giants. Every time the Rays are in the playoffs, it means that one of either the Yankees and Red Sox aren't in the playoffs. And there's nothing wrong with that. They're also the proof that a team doesn't have to spend $200M to win the division and they have a team model that the Orioles could be even better at since they actually have some money.
Con: They're still an AL East team. The better they are, the worse it is for the Orioles. Plus, there has to be some kind of rule about not wanting a team in your division to succeed. These jerks knocked the Orioles around pretty good this year, after all.
Ex-Orioles: Lance Cormier
Pro: The Twins are one of the least offensive baseball teams in America. They've got a pretty good team and most importantly, they've got Jim Thome. If Jim Thome isn't one of your favorite baseball players, you're probably a douche bag.
Con: The Twins always just build a team that's good enough to win the AL Central. Frankly, it bugs me. Since 2003 they have won their division four times and each time they lost in the LDS with a combined record of 2-12. Well done, Minnesota.
Pro: Another new face in the playoffs. The last time the Rangers were in the postseason was 1999, so good on them for making it now. They've got another long time player without a postseason appearance in Michael Young, so you have to feel for him.
Con: They're from Texas. Also: 30-3, 26-7, 19-6, 15-1, 15-3, 15-7, 15-7, 13-1. F that.
New York Yankees
Pro: I suppose you have a pretty good chance of rooting for a winner.
Con: If you want the Yankees to win the World Series, you're probably an douche bag. Do you want to be an douche bag? Do you?