The Red Sox are out of the playoffs. For some of us, that means the time for watching baseball is over. Now, it’s time to focus on football, basketball and hockey. That’s cool, though not exactly my plan for the next month. As much as I’d love the Red Sox to still be in it, playoff baseball is still great and I want to watch as much as possible. Of course, it’s a lot more fun if you have someone to root for. Most everyone reading this has spent the last six months rooting for the Red Sox in baseball games. Suddenly, we find ourselves looking for a new team to root for. I’m here to help. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of rooting for every team remaining in the postseason.
- Jose Altuve is an absolute delight. Not only is he a very small human being, particularly when compared to the average professional athlete, but he is also outstanding in a very fun way. There aren’t many players who are more fun.
- The lineup is insane. We all know this because we just watched it, but seriously. There isn’t anything close to a break in this lineup. Everyone can get hits and everyone can hit dingers. That is fun.
- Houston is still getting over Hurricane Irma. Everyone has a soft spot for the city of Houston right now, and rightfully so. It would be great for that city to get a win.
- They just beat the Red Sox. This isn’t a process everyone follows, but many root for the team that eliminated their favorite team. It makes it sting less if your team loses to the team that ultimately wins it all.
- The Astros have been around since 1962 and have never won a World Series. Snapping championship droughts are all the rage.
- The Astros got good because of a long tanking process. Tanking sucks. Losing on purpose is an effective way of rebuilding, as Houston is learning now, but screw that. Rebuild with some class, dammit.
- The Astros did a few ugly things during their rebuild, but the most notable was agreeing to terms with Jacob Nix in the 2015 draft but then rescinding that after Brady Aiken failed his physical. They didn’t do anything illegal, but it certainly didn’t feel right.
- The Astros switched from the NL to the AL, forcing everyday interleague. Now, pitchers can be forced to hit at any point in the season. Screw that!
- Terry Francona, the greatest manager in Red Sox history. He now manages the Indians, but he is as delightful as ever.
- Andrew Miller is the one of the most entertaining relievers in baseball, and he started this run of dominance with the Red Sox. It still hurts that they didn’t make more of an effort to re-sign him in free agency, but that’s not his fault. He is worth rooting for.
- In the non old friends category, I mentioned above that Altuve is among the most fun players in baseball. Well, Francisco Lindor may be the most fun. He does everything and just has fun while doing it. He’s a blast. Ditto for Jose Ramirez, by the way.
- Like the Astros, the Indians have a hell of a championship drought, having not won since 1948.
- This scene in 30 Rock. Flee to the Cleve!
- Chief Wahoo is incredibly racist and a black mark not only on the Indians franchise but also the league as a whole. The team is supposedly moving away from the logo, but I am currently watching them play the Yankees with Chief Wahoo on their sleeve. There are still fans who stand firmly by. It sucks.
- On a less serious note, the Indians play in the same city as the Cavs, who have emerged as the Celtics biggest contemporary rival. I’ll level with you: I like LeBron. A Lot. Still, I’m down for some Cleveland hate.
New York Yankees
- Theo Epstein, the greatest GM in the history of the Red Sox, is now running the show in Chicago. He brought us two World Series including 2004, so we are obligated to root for him.
- Jon Lester is forever the one who got away, even if he has reached a God-like status around Boston that probably oversells who he was with Boston and since he left. Still, there is no reason to root for anything besides good things for Lester.
- Anthony Rizzo never got to establish himself with the Red Sox, but he came up through the farm system.
- As much as I hate to admit, “Go Cubs Go” is a fire song. Legitimately jealous the Red Sox don’t have it.
- Joe Maddon is the worst. Pretentious, holier-than-thou, smartest man in the room, leader of the hated late-2000’s Rays teams. God, get out of here Joe Maddon.
- They just won last year. We don’t need repeat champions unless they play in Boston.
- Did I mention Joe Maddon?
- I feel like I should probably just mention Joe Maddon one more time.
- Not everyone will agree with this, but I think Bryce Harper is a blast. The hair, the all-out style, the talent. He’s fun to watch.
- Their pitching staff, headed by Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, has the potential to shut anyone down. Who doesn’t like dominant pitching led by two legitimate aces?
- Sean Doolittle is one of the coolest guys in the league, at least judging by social media personalities. His wife is really cool too. Let’s root for the Doolittles.
- Anthony Rendon is one of my favorite players in baseball, and he should be yours too. He is, currently, right on the verge of becoming a superstar, particularly if the Nationals can make a run. Join me on that bandwagon.
- To be honest, I don’t really have any specific cons for this Nats team, but there’s still something.....off. I don’t know. Maybe because they are always there and their division is garbage so it feels like they got in by default this year?
- Dave Roberts. He stole that base in 2004, as you may recall. Now, he manages the Dodgers. He has earned our rooting interest for the rest of his life.
- Adrian Gonzalez is hated by some Red Sox fans, but I am not one of them. He was outstanding in his one full season here and is the reason they were able to pull off the Punto Deal.
- Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball and probably the best pitcher since Pedro. It’s fun to see the best players make it deep into the postseason.
- Kenley Jansen is the best closer in baseball. Same reasoning as I had for Kershaw.
- Most Dodgers fans live in Los Angeles. You guys have perfect weather and live Southern California. You don’t need good sports teams, too.
So, after all of this I’m rooting for a Dodgers-Indians World Series with Cleveland taking the title. How about you?