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An MLB postseason rooting guide for Red Sox fans

The Red Sox are sitting out in October, so who do we root for now?

MLB: OCT 07 NLDS Game 3 - Dodgers at Braves Photo by David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Well, the Red Sox are going to be sitting out in October for the first time since 2015, which puts us fans in an unfortunate situation. While there is (in my opinion) nothing as tense and stressful in sports as a close postseason baseball game involving your favorite team, it is still better to experience that than to not. That is not an option, though, so now we have to figure out who we are rooting for in these postseason.

With that in mind and with the postseason kicking off tonight with the National League Wildcard Game, I am going to try to put together a rooting guide. I’ll include each team’s last championship, old friends (this only includes people we’ll actually see on the field), their history against Boston in the postseason (W or L refers to result for Red Sox) and their most fun player (obviously subjective so don’t @ me and all that). At the end, I will rank the teams in order of how much I want them to win. Disagreements will ensue. It’s going to be great. Let’s get into it.

New York Yankees

Last Championship: 2009

Old Friends: N/A

Red Sox Playoff History: 2018 ALDS (W), 2004 ALCS (W), 2003 ALCS (L), 1999 ALCS (L)

Most Fun Player: Aaron Judge. It kind of pains me to say this and it seems impossible for a Yankees superstar, but I think Judge is underrated? The guy has absurd power, which everyone knows and is why he is the most fun player on this team that is by definition for us, not fun at all, but he’s also good at most everything else. The fact that he strikes out a lot overshadows the fact that he still gets on base a ton and he is really good defensively despite being a literal giant.

Tampa Bay Rays

Last Championship: N/A

Old Friends: Kevin Cash, Jalen Beeks (maybe, but unlikely)

Red Sox Playoff History: 2013 ALDS (W), 2008 ALCS (L)

Most Fun Player: Tyler Glasnow. Generally speaking as we go down this list, the most fun players are going to be almost exclusively position players. It’s a personal bias thing both because I think position players get more chances to be fun and we just see them more often. The Rays, though, don’t really have that one guy on offense but Glasnow, when he’s on, is absurdly fun to watch. We may see him in a shorter stint on Wednesday in the Wildcard Game, and that has the potential to be mind-blowing with his stuff.

Minnesota Twins

Last Championship: 1991

Old Friends: Rocco Baldelli

Red Sox Playoff History: N/A

Most Fun Player: Nelson Cruz. When healthy, the answer here is Byron Buxton because his athleticism is a feat to behold. Without him, I’m going in the other direction to take this chance to say we should all be paying attention to Cruz more. The veteran slugger is having one of the runs through his 30s of any player ever and has never slowed down. The possibility (however slim it may be) of him carrying the Twins through his postseason is fun to consider.

Houston Astros

Last Championship: 2017

Old Friends: Josh Reddick, Wade Miley, Ryan Pressly

Red Sox Playoff History: 2018 ALCS (W), 2017 ALDS (L)

Most Fun Player: Yordan Álvarez. There are so many options here, including the potential AL MVP, but I’m going with the almost-certain-to-be AL Rookie of the Year. Álvarez was only up in the majors for half the season, but in that short time he put up an absurd season at the plate and could emerge as the next Capital-G Great young player in this game with a strong run in October.

Oakland Athletics

Last Championship: 1989

Old Friends: J.B. Wendelken

Red Sox Playoff History: 2003 ALDS (W), 1990 ALCS (L), 1988 ALCS (L), 1975 ALCS (W)

Most Fun Player: Matt Chapman. There’s certainly some personal bias here because to me there is no position that is more fun to watch be played at the absolute highest level than third base. Chapman is perhaps (probably? definitely?) the best defensive third baseman in all of baseball. He also swings a huge bat, and really needs a strong showing on a national spotlight to get him the national love he deserves.

Atlanta Braves

Last Championship: 1995

Old Friends: Mark Melancon

Red Sox Playoff History: N/A

Most Fun Player: Ronald Acuña. Here we are talking about the player I would probably argue is the most fun in the entire postseason and outside of Mookie Betts and perhaps Francisco Lindor the most fun in all of baseball. Acuña combines great power with big speed and has a certain sort of flash while it’s all happening. Oh, and he’s only 21. If you don’t watch a lot of NL baseball and haven’t seen a lot of Acuña, make sure to tune in for the Braves/Cardinals series.

Washington Nationals

Last Championship: N/A

Old Friends: Aníbal Sánchez, Hunter Strickland

Red Sox Playoff History: N/A

Most Fun Player: Juan Soto. After including Acuña in the last section, it’s only natural to include the guy who could be his divisional foe for the next decade-plus. Soto is not the defensive player nor the baserunner that Acuña is, but the dude can hit. Only twenty years old he already has ultra-elite control of the strike zone along with absurd power. He’s going to be one of if not the best hitters in all of baseball for a long, long time.

St. Louis Cardinals

Last Championship: 2011

Old Friends: Andrew Miller

Red Sox Playoff History: 2013 WS (W), 2004 WS (W), 1967 WS (L), 1946 WS (L)

Most Fun Player: Jack Flaherty. If you’re looking for the next superstar pitcher in this game, Flaherty could very well be your man. The Cardinals righty emerged as a true ace this year and will get plenty of Cy Young votes this year. He has big-time strikeout stuff, harnessed his command and showed on Sunday that he is not afraid of the spotlight when he shut down the Cubs in a must-win game. Obviously the playoffs are a different beast, but he is the guy who could come out of this Cardinals roster as a superstar.

Milwaukee Brewers

Last Championship: N/A

Old Friends: Drew Pomeranz

Red Sox Playoff History: N/A

Most Fun Player: Lorenzo Cain. Christian Yelich would have been the obvious pick here, but he’s injured. Keston Hiura and Josh Hader were other possibilities, but Cain is just a blast to watch. His bat has merely been average this year, but he’s shown a tendency to play up in the biggest spots. Plus, his defense is incredible in center field and he’s liable to make a jump-out-of-your-seat kinda play at any moment.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Last Championship: 1988

Old Friends: Dave Roberts, Joe Kelly, Rich Hill

Red Sox Playoff History: 2018 WS (W), 1916 WS (W)

Most Fun Player: Cody Bellinger. Don’t overthink this one. The Dodgers are loaded with talent and have a lot of different types of players, but the potential NL MVP is sitting right there and he’s a blast to watch. Bellinger isn’t generally the type of player I like to watch at the plate as a big-time launch angle/power hitter, but his swing enthralls me. I don’t really have a reason for it. It just does.

So, without further ado, here are my rankings 1-10 of the teams I most want to see win the World Series this year. Some of these are strictly personal and they’re not going to align with others here. That’s the (lone) beauty of rooting for a team that is not in the postseason. You get to pick who you root for based on purely selfish and personalized reasons.

1. Atlanta Braves

Like I said, some of these are personal. My grandparents on my father’s side spent most of my childhood living in Atlanta and thus they always talked about the Braves. This was also in the ‘90s when, you know, the Braves were absurd. It was hard not to follow them and they became my second favorite team by default.

2. Minnesota Twins

I really like pretty much every player on this roster as well as their manager. I already talked about Cruz, but I also love Eddie Rosario, José Berríos and Max Kepler. This is a fun, young team that hasn’t won in a long time with fans that I’ve always generally gotten along with on the ol’ interwebs.

3. Milwaukee Brewers

There’s something magical about the run this team has been on since Christian Yelich’s injury and I want to be along for the ride. Plus, I like the idea of rewarding a team that actually went out and added pieces the last two winters.

4. Oakland Athletics

People older than me probably still think of the A’s as the dynasty from the 80s, but, well, I wasn’t born yet. They’ve always been the small-market, plucky team that still wins games. Plus, again, I’m all the way here for Matt Chapman to get his due.

5. Washington Nationals

The Nationals have been my preseason pick to win the World Series every year for I don’t even know how long. One of these years I’m going to be right. (Note: I am not actually picking them at the bottom of this post, but I will still take credit if I’m right.)

6. Los Angeles Dodgers

I don’t really know how I feel about the Dodgers. I like a lot of their players, their manager is a Red Sox icon, I have plenty of friends who are Dodgers fans, it’s been a long time since they won. But also they’ve been here so many times recently and it also feels like it’s time for new blood. I’ll be happy to see them in the World Series if they make it because they are good and fun to watch, but it wouldn’t be my first choice.

7. St. Louis Cardinals

The stuff making fun of Cardinals fans as “the best fans in baseball” has gotten old — every team has obnoxious fans — but also the Cardinals have an air about them that I don’t love. They are the Yankees of the National League I guess. Plus, this year’s team is obviously good but I find them kind of boring.

8. Houston Astros

Another team that has been around a while, I hate that tanking has worked so well for them and the more they win the more it will be pushed as a viable and even preferred way to rebuild. Baseball doesn’t need that.

9. New York Yankees

Remember when I said disagreements will ensue? I do not have the Yankees last. The biggest reason I’ll get to in a second, but my big galaxy brain take is that if the Yankees win the Red Sox owners will feel more pressure to keep Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez and continue to field a team that can contend with New York.

10. Tampa Bay Rays

I hate the Rays. The truth is I hate them more than the Yankees, which seems crazy and probably is but it’s just the way it is. I think it’s the age I was in the late-2000s that the rivalry between the two teams really took me over but I just never got over it. Sorry to Rays fans reading this I’m sure you’re all lovely people, but I will be not be pleased if your team wins the World Series.

Now, for my actual predictions:

WC: OAK over TB







WS: ATL over HOU

Did I pick the top team on my rooting rankings to win the World Series? I sure did. Is that a coincidence? That’s up to you to decide!

Anyway, put your own picks and rooting orders in the comments and argue (respectfully) with each other about it.