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Rooting guide for the American League playoffs

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The Orioles didn’t make it, so who should you root for?

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The American League pennant races were kind of a drag this year. The AL East and Central divisions were basically wrapped up for the Red Sox and Indians early on and both teams coasted to their division titles. Yes, I know the Yankees won 100 games, but they never really got close enough to make it exciting.

The AL West and Wild Card races had some uncertainty in the sense that you weren’t sure if the west would go to the Astros or A’s, and there was a chance for the Yankees to fall out of the top WC spot. But it was clear those would be the three teams for some time, so it wasn’t all that exciting to me.

Tonight the Athletics and Yankees will face off in the WC game in New York, with the winner traveling to Boston to play the Red Sox on Friday in the ALDS. The Astros and Indians will also start their ALDS series on Friday.

With the Orioles out of the race since about April 3rd, you may want to pick another team to root for in the playoffs. Here are the pros and cons of each AL team. You can check out my post on the National League here.

Oakland Athletics

Last playoff appearance: 2014 (lost WC game to Royals)
Last World Series appearance: 1990 (lost to Reds)
Last World Series win: 1989
Former Orioles: Edwin Jackson

Pros: The Oakland Athletics are the only AL playoff team that wasn’t also a playoff team last season. And they are the only thing standing in the way of us having to see a Yankees/Red Sox ALDS and listen to the announcers fawn all over “the rivalry” as the two stupidest teams in baseball slog through an entire series of prime time five-hour games. And if they beat the Yankees, they’re the only thing keeping the Red Sox from getting one step closer to the WS. What else do you need to root for them?

Cons: Maybe it’s the west coast, maybe it’s because they don’t know much about the players, but other than rooting for them because I don’t like the team they are playing (and the team they’ll play if they win the WC game) it’s hard to muster up much enthusiasm for them.

New York Yankees

Last playoff appearance: 2017 (lost ALCS to Astros)
Last World Series appearance: 2009
Last World Series win: 2009
Former Orioles: Zach Britton

Pros: **fart noise**

Cons: The Yankees haven’t won a World Series since 2009 and if they want to keep that drought going for a solid decade or more it’s fine with me. I don’t need to hear about how the Yankees are doing everything right I don’t want to have to deal with a Yankees/Red Sox ALDS. I like it when other teams get some attention and the Yankees have been hogging the spotlight for too long.

Boston Red Sox

Last playoff appearance: 2017 (lost ALDS to Astros)
Last World Series appearance: 2013
Last World Series win: 2013
Former Orioles: Steve Pearce

Pros: If you like rooting for the team who is truly the best to win in the playoffs, I must reluctantly say that the Red Sox are probably the team you should root for. They earned 108 wins in the regular season and averaged 5 12 runs per game. Their starting rotation is above average no matter who they put out there. I hate them.

Cons: Have you ever gone to an Orioles game when the Red Sox are in town and sat in your seat at baseball’s most beautiful ballpark, surrounded by Red Sox fans? If you have, there is literally no way you can root for this team.

Cleveland Indians

Last playoff appearance: 2017 (lost ALDS to Yankees)
Last World Series appearance: 2016 (lost to Cubs)
Last World Series win: 1948
Former Orioles: Andrew Miller

Pros: The Indians haven’t won a World Series since before my mom was born. That’s a pretty darn good reason to root for them in my opinion. Think of all those fans! They have the current longest WS drought of any team in baseball.

Cons: Other than their starting pitching, is this team even good? They get to play in a division there the second place team finished under .500 and yet they tallied fewer wins than either of the wild card teams! The Indians played sub-.500 ball against the AL East and AL West, and yet are sitting here with a division title. And some of those fans that are so desperate to finally get a WS win will be showing up to the ballpark with Chief Wahoo signs.

Houston Astros

Last playoff appearance: 2017
Last World Series appearance: 2017
Last World Series win: 2017
Former Orioles: N/A

Pros: If you’re looking for a blueprint that you’d like the Orioles to follow, the Astros plan to get back to contention is a pretty good model. The Astros made the hard decisions and endured three straight 100+ loss seasons and now are reaping the benefits. They got back to the playoffs in 2015 and won their first ever World Series in 2017. In 2018 they are one of the top teams in baseball with a very bright future.

Cons: They just won the World Series last year, which is an automatic no for me. And on top of that, they made a big stink about how they have a no tolerance policy for domestic violence, but then traded for Roberto Osuna who is in the middle of a trial for domestic abuse and who had just served a suspension for it. They they kicked a fan out of their stadium when he brought a sign into the park that had the phone number for a domestic abuse hotline.

Personal Rooting Ranking

  1. Athletics
  2. Indians
  3. Astros
  4. Yankees
  5. Red Sox

What’s your ranking? Who do you like and why? Who do you hate and why?