The Baltimore Orioles are not in the postseason this year. They embarrassed themselves over the final month of the season, looking like the team the haters predicted they were for the last six seasons. That blows. But there is still baseball to be played, and if you’re like me, you’ll be watching it. So who should you root for? Let me break it down.
Wild Card Teams
The New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins face off tonight in New York with the winner going on to face the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS. I mean, it’s obvious who you have to root for in this game, but let’s go through the motions anyway.
Yankees Pros: Um. Well. The players on the Yankees aren’t as unlikable as they have been in years past. So, there’s that? Also, I guess if you hate the Red Sox more than you hate the Yankees (which is totally valid), you might at some point find yourself wanting them to win. But that shouldn’t matter in the WC game.
Yankees Cons: What are you even doing on an Orioles blog if you don’t know the reasons you’re supposed to root against the Yankees? They are constantly being talked about by the national media, even when they don’t deserve it. Their fans come to Camden Yards and get their Yankee grime all over the seats while doing their chants.
The fans say things like “Count the rings.” The team employs players like Aroldis Chapman. And perhaps worst of all, they weren’t even supposed to be good this year! This was their year to be bad and it did not happen. That’s messed up.
Last but not least, I must mention the 1996 playoffs and the scoundrel that is Jeffrey Maier. Mark told me he would fire me if I didn’t include him.
Twins Pros: The Minnesota Twins lost 103 games in 2016 and this year are going to the playoffs! It’s really hard not to root for that kind of team. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2010 and haven’t won the World Series since 1991. They have young, exciting players like Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. And they have 44-year-old Bartolo Colon, who was released from the Braves earlier this season.
There is also the fact that the Twins were sellers at the deadline. Not major sellers, but they didn’t think they were in it. But then they took advantage of a very weak group of teams in contention for the wild card. They turned it on over the final stretch and took home the second wild card. There something fun about this team.
Twins Cons: The Twins are not going to beat the Yankees, so why even get your hopes up? The Twins have faced the Yankees in four of their last six playoff appearances and have lost all four series with a combined record of 2-12. They cannot beat the Yankees. And this year the Yankees are just a better team. Sorry, Twins.
The Cleveland Indians took home the American League’s best record this year racking up 102 wins. They’ll play the winner of the wild card game while the other two division winners, the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox, face off against each other.
Indians Pros: The Indians are, in my opinion, a very fun team to watch play baseball. They have good starting pitching, led by Corey Kluber and his 2.25 ERA. They have one of my favorite baseball players in Francisco Lindor. And, of course, who can root against former Oriole Andrew Miller?
One of the more enjoyable things of this entire season to me has been the baseball art by pitchers Carlos Carrasco and and Trevor Bauer. The pitchers have created likenesses of their teammates on baseballs and they are awesome.
Indians Cons: If you’re a grudge holder, there is that 1997 ALCS that kept the Orioles out of the World Series. I don’t really care about that, but I would never deny anyone a solid years-old grudge. There is also the whole Chief Wahoo thing, which I admit I struggle with. The cartoon mascot is pretty hard to look at, especially when it’s right on their hats. Maybe if they stick to the block C (and don’t show anyone dressed up like Chief Wahoo in the crowd), I’ll be able to root for this fun team.
Astros Pros: The Astros are a team that rebuilt the right way, even if that way was very painful for their fans. They straight up stunk for a number of years as they got their ish together, losing at least 100 games and finishing at least 40(!) games out of first place for three straight years. They put in their time and now they are reaping the benefits.
The Astros have a middle infield to die for, with Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve destroying the competition on both sides of the ball. Their starting rotation went from good to very good when the team traded for Justin Verlander at the deadline. And who doesn’t want to see Verlander get a ring?
On top of all that, the city of Houston was devastated by Hurricane Harvey not long ago, which makes it a pretty easy city to root for.
Astros Cons: I got nothing. Maybe you don’t like Brian McCann? Maybe you have something against Texas?
Red Sox Pros: **fart noise**
Red Sox Cons: Just as I said at the top about the Yankees, what are you even doing here if you don’t know how to hate the Red Sox? They make up reasons to throw at Manny Machado, their fans yell racist slurs at Adam Jones, and they completely infest Camden Yards nine days a year. Their players look like they forgot what a shower is, not to mention a razor. And their catcher, Christian Vazquez, looks like a demon from Supernatural.
I could really write a book about why this team is the worst, but I don’t have to. You get it.
So, who ya got?
This poll is closed