Well, America’s dreams have already been shattered this postseason, as the ultimate outcome — Yankees and Cubs both lose in the wildcard game — is no more. Oakland “opener” Liam Hendriks pitched like he still had some Twins in his soul, bad nerves against the dreaded Bronxers. (Although this might not really be Hendriks’s fault.)
This is an awful shame, because Colorado DID beat the Cubs, and if Oakland had won, too, Yankees and Cubs fans would be screaming bloody murder that the WC play-in game is “unfair.” It would have been a “hot topic” all over ESPN and sports talk radio. Alas, it was not to be.
But there are four more series in the somewhat-first round, with National League matchups beginning today at 4:07 local time. Which ones do you have an interest in, if any? There’s a poll below. Here’s how I rank um.
“I hate these teams and do not care”: Yankees @ Red Sox
Did you know this is the first time these teams have faced each other in the postseason since 2004? I didn’t; I assumed this happens every year. Probably because they play each other 17 times a season and it feels like EVERY FRIGGIN’ GAME is on ESPN.
Sure, 2003 was exciting, with Aaron Boone hitting a walkoff extra-inning dong in game 7. Sure, 2004 was even better, with that 0-3 series deficit no team had ever climbed back from before. The Curse of the Bambino. The Bloody Sock. (We didn’t know what a dingus Curt Schilling was back then.)
But since then, it’s just two teams who always spend the most money, who always make it virtually impossible for other teams in the division, who get so much national coverage I never need to hear about them again. Even if Boston has baseball’s best team and New York some exciting young talent, I don’t care.
As Deadspin’s Chris Thompson put it, “decent folk will have no choice but to root for an asteroid.”
“I feel blah about these teams except the ex-Twins”: Atlanta @ Dodgers
Name me five Atlanta players. If you can, you are a True Baseball Savant. It’s easier to name Dodgers players, because they are rich and buy many famous ones, but they play games in the wrong league so I don’t follow them.
Both teams have charming and ooky things for/against.
Dodgers: Vin Scully. Kirk Gibson broken-leg homer. A classic series against Minnesota in 1965. OTOH, they stole Chavez Ravine from poor families, and Dodger fans are notorious for showing up late before leaving early.
Atlanta: An utter underdog not expected to compete this year. The Maddux/Smoltz/Glavine supergroup. Ron Gant! OTOH, Atlanta blackmailed citizens into a horrible stadium deal when Turner Field wasn’t even that old, and their fans are notorious for that horrible, horrible chop thing.
I’ll check in whenever Kurt Suzuki or Brian Dozier are at-bat. Otherwise, blah.
“I grudgingly respect both teams and it should be a terrific series”: Cleveland @ Astros
Most TTers hate Francisco Lindor, but certainly not because he’s a jerk or anything like that. He just always seems to kill the Twins. It’s frustrating. It’s like when Jim Thome was socking dongs for Cleveland and Chicago. You hate the guy for beating your team, but you gotta respect that he’s Simply. That. Good.
Both teams are AL top-5 in hitting and pitching; Cleveland with a slight edge on offense, Houston with better mound numbers. Both have good defenses; Houston’s superior in the outfield (given the wonky Enron Field layout, this is a good plan), and Cleveland has Lindor.
And both have a sort of bittersweet fascination for Twins fans. Whenever Cleveland squeaks out a win over Minnesota, we agonize over the “coulda shoulda” that happened in the game. Meanwhile, Ryan Pressly? 26 games with the Astros. 0.77 ERA. At least Houston had to give up future superstars? So hope we all.
I think I gotta root for Cleveland here, even if division rival, because Houston does have a probable jerk on the roster.
“I like both teams and I’m annoyed one will be out early”: Rockies @ Brewers
Let’s get reason Numero Uno for liking both these teams out of the way: neither has ever won a World Series. Now, onto some negatives.
Those stadiums. No beer fan could laugh harder at the names of these two ballparks. A battle between Coors and Miller is like a battle between Mountain Dew and Red Bull (the difference being I would actually trust Coors & Miller as watering for my plants).
And both stadiums/teams have experienced actual, real distasteful issues as well. Miller Park had leaks in the roof and killed several workers during construction. Colorado’s first owner was convicted on eight zillion counts of financial fraud.
To be less horribly grim, Miller Park also features a Bud Selig Experience Museum. (This is a real thing.) Meanwhile, Coors Field is a notorious destroyer of all statistics baseball fans hold dear, and hilariously at one point the team tried to encourage a religious code of conduct for players. (It ended quickly, as baseball players are not saints.)
But hey, the fans aren’t to blame for their owners, or for their negligent construction companies, or their elevation. If Denver is willing and able to support a team, what are we supposed to do, say “no” because it messes up with stats? If Montreal suddenly sank 1000 feet (sorry, 305 meters) below sea level, I’d still want them to have a team.
Plus, Michael Cuddyer, LaTroy Hawkins, and Justin Morneau all played for the Rockies. And while Minnesotans are supposed to hate Wisconsin, I’m not from here. My mom was a native Sconnie, and she loved baseball. (Hated Atlanta, because “they stole our team.”) I happen to like Wisconsin! The cheese is overrated, the whiskey/beer excellent.
So them’s my opinions (which trolls do not like, but my boss is myjah, not trolls.) What are yours, what series will you follow? Share in the poll and comments!
(I noticed that in yesterday’s WC thread TTers voted Milwaukee #1 and Yankees #last, so I can’t be too far off here.)
What division series are you most interested in?
This poll is closed
NY / Boston
Atlanta / LA
Cleveland / Houston
Colorado / Milwaukee
All / none