Alright, here we go. As I’ve been told by many a non baseball hardliner (talking to you, Timmy) the last month of the season and the playoffs/series is what *most* people watch (meaning they apparently don’t want the instructionals and look for scouting reports out of pitchers/catchers report like I do?)
So we find ourselves here. the ALDS. We’ve had the play in games (congrats to Tampa and Pittsburgh). For the fairweather fan trying to figure out who to go for, we will break it down for you right here. Let’s get a view of the bracket as we today, the start of the NLDS.
As you can see, the Rays have already beaten the Indians, and the Pirates came out ahead of the Reds. So if you’re keeping track at home, that’s where we are right now.
We start with the National League because, well, the designated hitter (DH) is an abomination, but that’s an argument for another day.
Braves vs. Dodgers
Why you should love them: They have 2 brothers on the same team. Seriously, that’s kind of cool. I mean, BJ Upton and Justin Upton both got to Atlanta this year. They’ve got a badass old man catcher (Brian McCann) and have crushed the NL East this year. Decent pitching, free swinging, if you like AL style baseball in the NL, this is your team.
Why you shouldn’t: The Braves? The Tomahawk Chop? Ugh.
Why you should love them: Don Mattingly. Adrian Gonzalez. Clayton Kershaw. Puig. Puig. Puig. Carl Crawford. Hanley Ramirez. I mean, jesus, what a great team. For a Giants fan, I drool, longingly at a team that has been so dominant so quickly. Clayton Kershaw is the NL Cy Young, and arguably MVP. The Dodgers have been on a tear the last part of the season. They are fun, have a good team, and have the dream 1-2 punch of Kershaw/Greinke coming to the mound.
Why you shouldn’t: Huge payroll (which isn’t a good reason. I mean, having owners who will actually invest is a good thing rather than skim money but that’s another day). Or, if you’re a Giants fan. This is a tough call in the series. I effing hate the Dodgers, but compared to the Braves, I just don’t know.
Prediction: Dodgers in 5. This one is going to be fun, the free-swinging Braves and the double ace pitching of the Dodgers.
Cardinals vs. Pirates
— St. Clair Hospital (@StClairHospital) October 2, 2013
Why you should love them: They are a very well run franchise who keeps their fans happy year-in, year-out by smart baseball moves. They consistently have a strong farm system, are able to replace bank-buster players like your Pujols of the world without being total cheap skates like the Marlins. They played against tough competition in the NL Central, the first division in over ten years to produce three 90 game winners, and emerged on top. The Cardinals are classy, like a tuxedo’d Frank Sinatra arriving at the playoffs to meet the rest of the rat pack.
Why you shouldn’t: They’ve won 11 World Series, the most in the NL and second to the ridiculously dominant Yankees. That’s too many. They are the equivalent to royalty in the National League, where their fan base believes that they are owed the title without having to earn it. The Cardinals are a smug franchise that it is pleasurable to see lose.
Why you should love them: You have to feel joy for the fan base and the players. Anyone who stuck as a Pirates fan from beginning to end empitimizes why sports are great, when you suffer and triumph with your team, something I can sympathize with as the Phillies were bad or not quite good enough for the October dance for most of my lifetime. The Pirates players have started the last three seasons like gangbusters only to see 2nd half slumps sink them. However, every year they’ve built upon and this year they were able to translate it into joy, with the latest exclamation point being the victory over crusty Dusty Baker’s Reds on Tuesday. Also, never ever take your eyes from the game when Andrew McCutchen is at bat or on the base paths. Pittsburgh as a city kicks ass despite what the haters might say.
Why you shouldn’t: For any Steelers fan who never cared about baseball who all the sudden is a die-hard buccos fan since the Steelers have started badly. Fuck you, you gotta suffer before you can enjoy this, you jerk. Speaking of which, Pittsburgh has seen plenty of parades between the Steelers and Penguins, so they don’t really need another.
Prediction: Cardinals in 4. (I hope I’m wrong.)
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox
Why we should: I’m going to out myself pretty clearly as a Tampa fan here. I am not condoning or supportive (and am, in fact, disgusted by) some of the players on their team. I’m most excited by their ability (along with Oakland, and Pittsburgh) to run a playoff caliber team with no money and find real value in players. The underdogs. The Rays have pitchers coming out of the woodwork. Matt Moore, David Price, Alex Cobb, Chris Archer. They have Longoria, Zobrist, and my pick for AL Rookie of the Year, Wil Myers. A lot to love.
Why we shouldnt: There are some sketchy, and downright awful humans on this team. Or, you are from Boston or it’s nearing areas.
Why we should: Boston is strong. Boston is awesome, and David Ortiz is putting up an brilliant season as an old man. Seriously, Ortiz has been worth almost 4 wins by himself as a DH. That’s amazing. Will Middlebrooks? Pedroia hopping around? I don’t know really what else there is to be stoked about. Apart from that, Boston is one of the old school teams people love to love, or love to hate.
Why we shouldn’t: For all their talk of the Yankees payroll Boston has run a top 3 payroll forever now. We’re tired of being told we are supposed to like them, it’s gotten old. It’s like we said earlier about St. Louis. Stop with the ‘best fans in baseball’ stuff. We get it, the green monster. Ted Williams. Fever Pitch (great movie). But just over it. Stop forcing it down our throats, please.