The playoffs are here and fans of teams that didn’t make it are kind of left without a clear direction of who they should root for. I mean, you could just sit back and watch as a casual fan without really caring about the outcome of the game, but where is the fun in that?
In an attempt to provide a handy roadmap of rooting interests, here are a list of the playoff teams in order of how much a Yankees fan should be rooting for them, in my opinion. Feel free to leave your own power rankings in the comments below.
To help with the task, I asked some fans of the playoff teams (and not-fans of those teams) to tell me why a Yankees fan should or should not jump on board the bandwagon for the next few weeks.
10. Boston Red Sox
No. No. Absolutely not.
9. Toronto Blue Jays
Do you remember that ridiculousness at the end of the season with Josh Donaldson and all the fighting? That’s the team you expect Yankees fans to root for in the postseason? No way.
Also, the Blue Jays won the Wild Card game, but they did so in a game where a fan tossed a full beer can at an Orioles outfielder attempting to make a catch, and then fellow fans allegedly shouted racist things in the aftermath. Nope.
8. New York Mets
Remember the whole TAKE BACK NEW YORK thing? The last thing the Yankees need is the Mets being on top of the baseball world. From a non-New Yorker standpoint, it feels less bad than the Red Sox winning it all again, but still pretty bad. Let’s just not do that.
7. San Francisco Giants
It’s an even-numbered year, so the Giants are in the playoffs. They’ll probably be coated in fairy dust that will help Madison Bumgarner pitch approximately 42 innings each game as they march toward another World Series trophy.
Why might a Yankee fan be on board with them winning, though?
@pinstripealley Because we're assholes, so you'll feel at home, and your only other choice for that is the Red Sox, so— Grant Brisbee (@mccoveychron) October 4, 2016
I mean, if it’s between the two...sure.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw is cool. Corey Seager is really good. Vin Scully is gone now, but it would probably make him happy if the Dodgers won the World Series and I would like to imagine Vin happy in retirement.
I don’t feel a lot of feelings about this team. Maybe it would be okay if they won because I don’t really care? They are just there. It’s like the complimentary glass of water on a table at a restaurant, but really, really expensive water.
5. Washington Nationals
Another NL team that I don’t think a lot about, but this one has Bryce Harper! The Nationals seem to get a little choke-y in the playoffs, so there is definite room for hilarity here. Dusty Baker is their manager, for crying out loud.
Why might a Yankees fan want to jump on the wagon of the Nats? I asked Patrick Reddington from SB Nation’s Federal Baseball to clue us in.
Two reasons for you to root for the Nationals in the postseason: The deeper they go, the more Trea Turner we all get to watch. Also, you want Bryce Harper to be a proven winner when he signs with the Yankees in a few seasons, don't you?
Ah, Proven Winner Bryce Harper. Of course, of course. Say no more.
4. Baltimore Orioles
WELP. This would have been better before the events of last night, when Buck Showalter decided to end his team’s season with his fantastic closer still in the bullpen and Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound.
Maybe you hate the Orioles and are firmly on Team No AL East when it comes to the World Series, which is understandable, but that beer can flying in Toronto should have gotten you on the orange birds’ side.
My good friend Mark Brown over at Camden Chat had this to say about why one might want to back the Orioles:
The triumph of the Orioles would be the triumph of the underdog, and the triumph of baseball as the wonderfully chaotic mess that it is. No one thought they would get here, no one thought they would move on. Plus they hit tons of homers and who doesn’t love those?
Pourin’ one out for you, Baltimore.
3. Texas Rangers
Carlos Beltran is on this team! It may or may not be Beltran’s last shot at a World Series ring. Plus, the Rangers have Rougned Odor. Who can forget the punch he landed on Jose Bautista’s jaw earlier this season? WE GET A REMATCH OF THAT. Wouldn’t it be glorious if we got another round of that?
I’m just here to be entertained at this point.
@pinstripealley I'm rooting for the Rangers cause I wanna see Beltran get a ring. I like Andrew Miller but Beltran may not get another shot— Tanner Smith (@tannwoir) October 4, 2016
2. Cleveland Indians
Two words: ANDREW MILLER. If you love something, set it free to go close games for a playoff contender. If it comes back, it was always meant to be yours. Or something. I’m still not over the loss of Miller, and I want him to have nice things.
Matt Lyons over at Let’s Go Tribe was very to the point when it came to why a Yankees fan might want to root for his Indians in the playoffs:
We have Andrew Miller and we’re not the Red Sox.
1. Chicago Cubs
I can’t help but root for the Cubs to win it all this year. My grandfather absolutely loved the Cubs, and he passed away in August without getting to see what would happen for them this year. The Cubs winning it all would have just made his day, and he would have loved giving me a hard time about it.
They haven’t won in FOREVER. The Yankees are traveling to Wrigley for a series next season, and it would be pretty cool for that to be facing the defending World Series champions.
If you needed convincing from a real Cubs fan, I asked my friend Brad Repplinger of SB Nation’s The Champaign Room to weigh in on why Yankees fans might want to root, root, root for the Cubbies:
There's the old swash-buckling Roger Murtaugh of the team in David Ross who is having himself QUITE the sendoff season. Chicago fans love him, his teammates adore his presence in the clubhouse, he's the guy you want to see ride off into the sunset with a World Series ring.
There's the feel good story behind Anthony Rizzo beating cancer and his ability to catch a baseball from ANYWHERE on the field (tarps, walls, etc). There's the young gun Kris Bryant. Guys want to be him, and girls want to be with him. He's a front-runner candidate for the NL MVP award this season, and his charisma and smile are enough to make anyone a fan of his.
We also have a President of Baseball Operations that is directly quoted in saying, "Baseball is better with beer" after spending a Friday afternoon in the bleachers of the friendly confines with his coworkers.
Baseball is better with beer. That is definitely true.
There you have it, folks. A case for why you should or should not root for teams still in the hunt for the World Series. Leave your cases for or against each team below. Who are you rooting for? Let us know.