The scrubs have been sent home (bye, bye Utley). The stars are ready to shine. Nothing will really compare to the 7th inning of the Jays/Rangers game, but the NLCS and ALCS will certainly try. So, who you got? Some members of the Lookout staff gave their answers. Spoiler alert: We're pretty much all in love with
Kris Bryant the Cubs.
To help me determine my rooting interests for the Championship Series, I have put together some super official pro/con tables. In these, I've assigned a certain point value to each item, depending on its importance. This should allow me to quantitatively pick the most deserving teams.
|KENDRYS MORALES. (-15 points)||Mune's slick dance moves. (+15 points)|
|Ned Yost and his utter lack of remorse when his players throw baseballs at the opposition. (-7 points)||The presence of Justin Smoak. (+0 points)|
|The pitcher version of the BFG; he struck out seven Astros hitters in relief in Game 1 of the ALDS! (+5 points)||That turf is SO AWFUL. (-5 points)|
|That one dude who brings chunks of an animal carcass into the stadium in an attempt to support his team. (-5 points)||Maple syrup is delcious - the real stuff, not that Mrs. Butterworth's nonsense. (+3 points)|
|The Royals logo is pretty good, I guess? (+2 points)||Offense. Dingers. BAT FLIPS. (+5 points)|
|TOTAL: -20 points||TOTAL: +18 points|
|Jake Arrieta's cutter. (+5 points)||Yoenis Cespesdes and his neon sleeves. (+7 points)|
|Austin Jackson swinging an uncooked slab of bacon at a horsefly. (-3 points)||Not having to feel at all conflicted about ex-Mariners because there aren't any.* (+2 points)|
|107 years is probably long enough. It's time that we all move on. (+5 points)||Feeling like such a noob when you accidentally refer to Citi Field as Shea Stadium. (-2 points)|
|Fernando Rodney and his premature shooting of the arrow. (+1 point)||Being able to watch THREE diffferent starting pitchers fire the ball to the plate at 98 mph. (+3 points)|
|Baby bears are awfully cute. (+2 points)||Bartolooooooo! (+5 points)|
|TOTAL: +10 points||TOTAL: +15 points|
*Assuming the Mets don't add Eric O'Flaherty to their NLCS roster, which seems unlikely.
There you have it. Some very unbiased analysis. Let's go Blue Jays! Let's go Mets!
NLCS: I like the Mets quite a lot. I like the hair on their pitching staff. I like that their shortstop broke his leg, because, grit. I like that they have two players whose last name start with a lowercase "d". I like that Bartolo Colon has "Boogie Bear" as a nickname. But I still prefer the Cubs, if only because I'd like to reinforce the mantra I frequently tell my kids: "There has to be a point in time where you will stop your whining."
NLCS Pick: Cubs
ALCS: I can't stand Rogers Stadium, it's just awful. I hate that turf. It reminds me of a retractable roof Kingdome, which is like having a convertible 1979 Chevy Chevette. You can't be proud of it, even when the sun is out. Their fans throw beer on babies, so there's that too. I do have great respect for a +221 run differential on a squad with a middling team FIP of 4.09. I don't like Edwin Encarnacion's Parrot arm. Justin Smoak is on this team but then again so is Munenori Kawasaki, who most definitely should appear in a World Series.
I was so, so happy that Kansas City knocked off the beard and orange and a team strikeout rate of 94%. But aside from Ben Zobrist, I pretty much can't stand the Royals and I'll never forgive the way a couple of their stars treated Eno Sarris in his young career as a stat-geek journalist.
"Barrels, dude, barrels." So go Blue Jays.
ALCS Pick: Blue Jays
David Skiba (aka Skeebs)
ALCS: It's an odd time in baseball. It's in the mid 70's and it's mid October in Seattle and barely a stir can be heard from Safeco Field. The Dodgers/Yankees/Cardinals are all no longer playing, and the Royals feel like the Old Boys. Choosing a favorite in the ALCS is hard for me, because I frankly sorta hate both teams. However, I hate the Royals more for their whole "we deserve it because it has been so long" shtick which the Blue Jays have avoided. You deserve nothing and I'd take St. Louis style BBQ EVERY TIME. I also had a close friend pitch for the Blue Jays this season. Also, Kendrys. If that man hits one more double in 2014, we go to the playoffs. He kept that from us. Go Blue Jays.
ALCS Pick: Blue Jays
NLCS: On the NLCS side of things, the choice is quite simple for me. The Cubs have to be the team we are all rooting for, no? I mean, obvious "Back to the Future" prediction aside, the Cubs are the most fun team left. Fernando Rodney is pitching in high-leverage situations, Austin Jackson occasionally waves his bat around while spitting. Even Chris Denorfia hangs out. I also watched my girlfriend in college be brought to tears by the Steve Bartman 30 for 30. Any team that can turn a beautiful rock of a woman into a solemnly crying and gorgeous soapstone runs deep. That was the most badass, die-hard thing I ever saw. Go Cubs.
NLCS Pick: Cubs
NLCS: When was the last time we had such a good series? When was the last time you would be happy with either outcome? On the one hand, you have the plucky Mets, propelled by Nom Nom deGrom (what, you thought I only gave nicknames to Mariners?), buoyed by YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOenis Cespedes (after that three run bomb in the Utley Revenge game, any other spelling is unacceptable), and featuring a young catcher who has hit really well since coming back from the DL (this is super confusing to me, d'Arnaud). My hair does what Nom Nom's does when I just let it loose. On the other hand, you have Jake Arrieta, who possesses the Best Beard in Baseball, power hitting Kyle Schwarber, who really is the best argument going for incorporating the DH into the NL, and Baby Blues Bryant, the handsomest man in baseball. He is. Just full stop. Add to that a sad fan base as a Mariners proxy, the presence of many former Mariners in the outfield (Chris Denorfia! Still a thing!), and the possibility that Rodney could sway a playoff game (wait, that's bad), and I'm sticking with my initial bandwagon pick of the Cubs. But man, just barely.
NLCS Pick: Cubs, but just barely, and with limited conviction
ALCS: There is only one option here. The Royals were plucky heroes last year, but our strong dislike of the A's keeping the Mariners out of the playoff obscured the fact that this team is goofy in an annoying way, has not great starting pitching (except for Cueto in that last game because go Johnny, go), and a guy on their roster who looks too much like Dane Cook for you to think about anything else when you see him. Seriously. Eric Hosmer and Dane Cook: have they ever been in the same place at the same time? Also Kendrys. The only thing to like is Chris Young because GO CHRIS YOUNG. The Blue Jays, on the other hand, knocked off a divisional rival, came back in an elimination game from what would have been the dumbest way to lose since there has been baseball, and gave us the greatest bat flip of our time. They should win because the Royals are the worst. Mostly though, they should win to show Mariners fans that you can come back from a long playoff drought, battle, and make your fans cry joyful tears. Just skip the trash throwing part.
ALCS Pick: Blue Jays
NLCS: There is only one correct answer.
I mean, sure, the Mets making it all the way to the Post-World Series champagne shower for only the third time in their 53-year-history would be pretty great, especially considering the fact that said event has never occurred during my 28 years on earth. Can't complain with that. But 107 years. People. Do you know what has happened since the Cubs last won the World Series?
A global conflict ended a geopolitical world order which included governments founded in the thirteenth century.
The first United States presidential election which included the votes of women in every state.
The Lincoln Memorial was built, with a dedication attended by Abraham Lincoln's son and "hundreds" of Civil War veterans, because there were still "hundreds" of Civil War Veterans.
They figured out how to include synchronized sound in the movies.
Revolutions which completely altered the fabric of civilization in Mexico, Russia, China, Latin and South America, as well as a peaceful revolution in India which led to the formal decline of the British Empire.
The first images were broadcast on television, which combined with the establishment of radio, brought live news into the homes of global citizens for the first time in human history, fundamentally altering the dissemination of information.
The lifetime of an entire political State which upon its dissolution oversaw nearly 300 million people over the span of almost 9 million square miles.
Pink Floyd released The Dark Side of the Moon. Sure, that seems kind of out of place here, but hell, man, that was a long time ago before they let you even, like, smoke weed man.
One day there were no personal computers, and then an event happened which made it possible for you to be reading this on a screen in your home, car, train, or even hell, at the park. At this moment it had been nearly 60 years since the Cubs last won the World Series, which was only six years under male life expectancy at that time.
Logistically, the entire lifespan of billions upon billions of human beings.
27 Yankees championships.
11 St. Louis Cardinals championships.
Seven World Series appearance by the Chicago Cubs.
Look, if you can read that list and still feel worse for the Mets than for Cubs fans, then, I don't even know what to tell you. The choice seems patently clear, and even if it requires speculation, contemplation, and a non-zero amount of soul searching, then you will know that you landed on the correct side of history, even if you come out of the whole thing with a few bruises and broken bones. This may seem dangerous, but the conflation of justice with the result of a seemingly meaningless cultural event such as the World Series demands you give it adequate contemplation before arriving at a conclusion. Especially when the conclusion, then, will ring like the resounding truth it is: Cubs. Cubs.
I don't know, the Blue Jays, sure, whatever.
ALCS: Blue Jays advance on defensive indifference.