The playoffs are here and, once again, the Orioles are watching from their couches. If you’re going to watch the baseball postseason, and I plan to, you need a backup team to root for! Yesterday I looked at the National League teams who made it and today it is the American League’s turn.
Tonight is the American League Wild Card game featuring the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics. How much do you want to bet that the people in charge of TV ratings are really rooting for neither of these teams to win the ALDS? Because the winner tonight will go on to face the Houston Astros. In the other ALDS, the Yankees and Twins will face off.
Not sure who to root for? Well, read on, my friend.
Tampa Bay Rays
Pros: As Orioles fans, we know what’s it’s like to play in the same division as the Red Sox and Yankees. And I’m not completely talking about those two teams’ tendency to win the division. Nobody gets any attention in the A.L. East other than those two teams. Their fans invade your stadium and a lot of the time they’re pretty rude about it. We get it, Rays fans and players. We understand. Also, hello Kevin Kiermaier.
Cons: Oh great, another A.L. East team that beats up on the Orioles on their way to the playoffs. And does a team whose attendance was WORSE than the Orioles really deserve postseason glory?
Last playoff appearance: 2018 (lost WC to Yankees)
Last World Series appearance: 1990 (lost to Reds)
Last World Series win: 1989
Former Orioles: None
Pros: The A’s haven’t won the World Series since 1989, which is a really long time. And in their last four playoff appearances, dating back to 2012, the A’s have lost in the first round they have played in. They’re due!
Cons: I know literally nothing about the Oakland Athletics. And let’s face it, neither do you. How can we root for that?
New York Yankees
Last playoff appearance: 2018 (lost ALDS to Red Sox)
Last World Series appearance: 2009
Last World Series win: 2009
Former Orioles: Zack Britton, Nestor Cortes
Pros: Are you kidding me?
Last playoff appearance: 2017 (lost WC to Yankees)
Last World Series appearance: 1991
Last World Series win: 1991
Former Orioles: Jonathan Schoop, Nelson Cruz
Pros: Has any team ever had two more likable ex-Orioles on it than the Twins? Nelson Cruz, a hero of the 2014 Orioles, should be too old to do what he is doing. He is 39 years old and hit 41 home runs! And Jonathan Schoop brought a lot of joy to Birdland while he was here. I’d love nothing more than to see these two go deep into the playoffs. Do you really need more of a reason than that?
Cons: If you want to root for a team that is actually going to win, the Twins might not be your team. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a good team. They didn’t skate into the playoffs; they won 101 games. But they also played in a division that featured two 100-loss teams. Against teams that were over .500 this year, they just played .500 ball. That doesn’t inspire confidence.
Neither does the fact that they are playing the Yankees, who have owned them for as long as I can remember. The Twins have faced the Yankees five times in the playoffs since 2003 and have yet to prevail. Their combined record against the Yankees in those series is 2-13. The just can’t beat them.
Last playoff appearance: 2018 (lost ALCS to Red Sox)
Last World Series appearance: 2017
Last World Series win: 2017
Former Orioles: Wade Miley
Pros: Orioles fans, this is the future you are hoping for. After being perennial losers, the Astros were rebuilt by the nerds, including current O’s GM Mike Elias, and are now a powerhouse. They have now reached the playoffs in four of the last five seasons, won the World Series in 2017, and are on their third straight season of winning over 100 games. Can it happen for us too? Also, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are the best 1-2 punch in the postseason. AND they have Zack Greinke!
Cons: This team has won 100 games the past three years and just won the World Series in 2017! That’s enough, Houston. Also, I’m still salty about them trading for Roberto Osuna last year when he was in the midst of a domestic violence dispute. At least he hasn’t been as good this year. Plus, how is it fair that Wade Miley was good for them?
Who are you rooting for in the A.L. playoffs?
This poll is closed
Tampa Bay Rays
New York Yankees