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Musings on the 2021 playoff field

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A few thoughts on all the participants

Detroit Tigers v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

With the Minnesota Twins having concluded their dismal 2021 season this past Sunday, only the words of former Commander-in-Chief Gerald Ford provide a true emotional summation. Fortunately, the quality of baseball being played will be much-improved during the October postseason.

Though by no means conducting any sort of in-depth analysis of the ‘21 playoff squads, I wanted to at least give a few thoughts on each of them before the action begins...

American League

  • Boston: As previously established, I can never abjectly root against the Red Sox. Fenway in October is always fun too. But this year’s BoSox squad is so—blah. It would have been much more enjoyable to see the Blue Jays sneak in.
  • New York: The Toby Flenderson of baseball, while the rest of us (especially Twins fans) are Michael Scott. Any Yankees playoff victory is one too many, forever and always.
  • Tampa Bay: To quote Mick from Rocky III: “He’s a wrecking machine!”. My pick to take home the Commissioner’s Trophy. Not only were the Rays the best AL squad all year long, but they did it in the league’s toughest division. Seeing Boomstick collect some jewelry would also bring a smile to my face.
Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees
Get this man a ring!
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
  • Houston: A dark-horse AL contender, as they fought off challenges from Oakland & Seattle throughout the year. Still not a fun squad to root for due to the still-relatively-fresh sign-stealing scandal, but to me that franchise has come pretty close to paying their penance.
  • Chicago: It’s easy to write off the South Side Sox. We—as Twins fans—all desperately want to do it. They are the only playoff team with a losing record against winning teams (i.e. they squashed the Central all year). But the White Sox have a way of making a run—remember 2005?—on the rare occasions they gain entry to the tournament. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen, of course.

National League

  • St. Louis: Adam Wainwright is starting a playoff elimination game for the Cardinals. What year is it?!
Milwaukee Brewers v St Louis Cardinals
The ageless wonder
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
  • Los Angeles: I should hate the Dodgers. They are essentially the new Yankees in terms of buying up seemingly all the star players every year. But they are such a darn fun super-team! I also consider Dave Roberts to be perhaps the best skipper in baseball—his guys are always ready to play.
  • San Francisco: The Giants continually intrigue me in that they have what I consider to be the single greatest home-park advantage in the sport. In that cavernous cathedral on the Bay, all they have to do is trot out a competent defensive starting nine and it turns middling pitchers into solid arms and can make superstars of the above-average.
  • Atlanta: While I would love to see the Braves make a deep run—I count Freddie Freeman & Ozzie Albies as two of my favorite players—I don’t think they have the pitching for it this year. Maybe it’s best they wait a few years until the Twins can provide that ‘91 rematch :)
Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves
The Braves are currently my favorite NL team
Photo by Edward M. Pio Roda/Getty Images
  • Milwaukee: My NL World Series representative. The 100+ win teams and trendy Wild Card participants often get all the press, but there’s something to be said for the steady, solid ones, and that was the Brew Crew. Those top three starters are also hard to bet against. I could see them struggling against the Dodgers if it comes to that, but I think they’ll beat the Braves & Giants to take on TB in the big dance.

What are your thoughts on how the 2021 postseason might shake out? Despite not including our beloved Minnesota boys, it will be nice to see solid, meaningful baseball on TV again.