In case you haven't noticed, the Astros aren't going to make the playoffs this year. I know, I know. You're a little surprised at this news. But rest assured, they aren't. A respectable finish has been in the works for a few months, but there will be no October baseball for the hometown nine this year. That's not to say that the rest of MLB will just stop because the Astros aren't a top 8 club. Nope, those inconsiderate jerks have decided to keep playing for the fifth straight year even though our Stros will be golfing, or Halo-ing, or working on their tans.
So this all begs the question: which of these clubs should we back? Well I'm here to help knock out those teams aren't worthy of our temporary adoration and select those that do. The AL four (New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers) are set in stone, while the NL is still wide open with two teams (Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Res) all but assured of making the playoffs, while four others (San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves) are in the hunt.
I'll start with the Junior Circuit:
Pros (of rooting for them):
- God Bless Texas
- Gotta love the upstart. This team has been mediocre to bad for a decade and they've turned things around with their youngsters, despite the winds of ownership turmoil swirling
- Outfielder Daniel Murphy is a Klein High School product, so there's that
- They're a Dallas team, and well, cheering for a Dallas team makes me a little ill. However, I will say that these guys are overlooked (relatively) even in this their first playoff season since 1999.
- Of any team in the playoffs, I would wager that they have the best odds of getting swept. I know, I know: you can't predict the playoffs, small sample size, etc., etc. I just think that after Cliff Lee, the starting pitching isn't exactly built for success in the playoffs (not many strikeout guys).
- If anyone has been to a Rangers game, their PA guy has the most annoying way of announcing names of any PA person ever. No hyperbole.
- Der da Twinkies, dontcha know?
- These people have to put up with seven months of winter (or more). Their football team looks lost and their basketball team has been in disarray since last summer's Ricky Rubio fiasco. They may need this one more than any other team.
- In all honesty, they may be the best team in baseball. They're well run, have a homegrown superstar and have kept Ozzie Guillen out of the playoffs for the past couple years.
- A playoff run means play by play men waxing poetic about Jim Thome and his Paul Bunyan like strength. Nobody needs to hear a month of that.
- I miss the baggy in right field.
- Sure, they're good, but they're not interesting. Nothing compelling about them, in my opinion. Q rating fail in the playoffs = no edge of my seat viewing = probably won't root hard for
Tampa Bay Rays
- No longer the spawn of the Devil (Rays)
- Hometown boys on this club (Jeff Niemann, Carl Crawford)
- Are rays considered fish? I don't know, but the fact that I don't know makes me want them to remain in the playoffs because hearing their name will remind me to look that up
Playoff baseball means theater. Shakespeare is better in an outdoor theater in rural Britain than it would be at the local playhouse. Same goes for baseball.
New York Yankees
- Lance Berkman needs a ring. Berk is the 69th ranked hitter all time in terms of wOBA. So I don't think I would be that far off in stating that Lance is a top 100 hitter all time, as it stands today. We went through Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell not winning a championship, and I hope Lance gets one before it's all said and done. Even if it's with the Yankees.
- The anti Rays principle is in effect: New York in fall is tremendous baseball theater. The cool temperatures, the ghosts of Yankees past, etc. The clutchiness of Derek Jeter....ok that's a popular fallacy, but the rest is true.
- With the great pennant races in the NL, and the resurgence of Tampa, the Yanks haven't gotten too much publicity this season. What's more, this team has holes unlike last year's. The pitching staff after CC Sabathia are question marks and the offense (Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeria especially) has struggled at times. Flaws make them somewhat more human. Somewhat
So in the AL, who will you be rooting for?