Once again, the Mariners have failed to make the postseason, and thus our hearts and minds are up for grabs in the baseball postseason. While there’s a certain freedom in enjoying the games simply as entertainment, with no rooting interest at hand, attaching yourself to a favorite team (or two! Who’s to stop you?! Your heart is as free as a majestic wild horse!) can offer a frisson of excitement as the postseason marches on. We at the site have our favorites, and we want our favorites to be your favorites, too. PICK ME PICK MY FAVORITES.
The AL: [choking slightly] Boston
Of the five AL playoff teams, four employ players with a domestic violence history and the one that doesn’t has a racially insensitive logo that they’ve clung to despite MLB gently and then not-so-gently trying to pry it away from them. I’m rooting for the NL this year. If forced to pick an AL team, I guess I’ll go with the one that employs Mookie Betts, a charismatic star with a megawatt smile who is inexplicably ignored by MLB brass in favor of promoting human mayonnaise sandwich Mike Trout. Rooting for Boston feels like rooting for the Borg, but the alternatives are all equally distasteful, and I’ll admit to being straight-up mad about the AL Central’s lack of competitiveness essentially gifting Cleveland a playoff spot. Really, I don’t care what happens, as long as the loathsome, morally bankrupt Astros lose and I get to watch some of the truly terrible accounts on Astros Twitter burn down in real time.
The NL: Milwaukee
While choosing an AL team to back is like choosing which type of poison to drink, the NL has the opposite problem, other than the loathsome, morally bankrupt Chicago Cubs (if it’s a Cubs-Astros series I will root for the meteor). Even the Dodgers are a less distasteful option than they’ve been in years past, thanks to their strong statement against signing players with DV histories (now you gotta walk the walk, though, fellas) and the presence of noted Fun Players Yasiel Puig and Kike Hernandez. As for a favorite, I am torn between the Rockies and the Brewers, but empathize strongly with Brewers fans who have seen their field invaded by Cubs fans over the years. While both teams have had their share of futility, the Brew Crew had some truly dark years over the past few seasons, so I’m giving them the edge here. Also, the Brewers have the slide, the sausage race, and a mascot that doesn’t look like it crawled out of a 1990s necrodimension. Edge: Brewers.
The AL: Mooooooookie, Carlos Correa, José Ramírez, Carlos Carrasco, Fernando Rodney’s Mayhem, and the singular triumph of Stephen Piscotty.
When it comes to the AL I’m the biggest fan of Not the Yankees. There was a decent stretch of my young, self-righteous baseball fandom where I was probably more an Anti-Yankees fan than a Mariners fan, so it’s easy to root for any of the other four teams. Realistically though, given Mookie Betts’ overwhelming coolness, and my Fenway Park Centennial pajama shorts, I’m probably most loudly cheering for the Red Sox.
The NL: The Brewers
ICYMI: You're (still) killing me, Smalls. pic.twitter.com/257xYFkwdN— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) March 20, 2018
I mean, come on.
I’m also rooting for the Rockies, because a) Nolan Arenado, b) Jon Gray, and c) I’m dressing up as Dinger for Halloween (when we went to the M’s series in Denver one of the games just so happened to be Dinger Foam Hat Night. Sorry Mom and Gogo, I can’t quite be as invested in the Dodgers this year.)
The Brewers seem like the most fun option. The Rockies are also fun in a “CHAOS REIGNS” kind of way, but also fuck the Rockies for kicking the Mariners’ asses this year in very unfun ways. But, back to the Brewers, they’ve never won a World Series and have only won the pennant once 36 years ago. Yes, Bud Selig stole the Pilots from Seattle to move to Milwaukee, but have you been to Milwaukee? Geez, what a shithole. They deserve something nice. And then just a few short years later, King County built the Kingdome and MLB hit us back with the Mariners and their 40+ years of mostly incompetence, ah shit I just argued myself out of my point. Whatever, I don’t hold a grudge against the Brewers because the move happened like 13 years before I was born. Also remember Prince Fielder on the Brewers? He was dope as hell. The current team has a fun group of players that we’ve all lusted after in previous offseasons like Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, and known dinger smasher Jesús Aguilar. Go Brew Crew, don’t blow it and make all the ‘Sconnies cry into their brats and Leinies.
This is more by process of elimination than anything else. As a Mariners fan who a) watched the 2001 ALCS and b) isn’t the devil incarnate, I don’t have the stomach to root for the Yankees. The A’s are out just because they’re a division rival and they took the Mariners’ spot in the playoffs. Cleveland has a bad name and made the playoffs thanks to a mediocre division. And the Astros won the World Series last year, so their fans aren’t exactly hurtin’ for a title. That leaves me with the Red Sox. It might not be like rooting for the Empire to beat the Rebels, but yeah, Mookie Betts & co. probably did cheer a little bit when Alderaan exploded. Sports isn’t about logic, however, and neither is my bandwagon team.
Meanwhile, over in the NL, there are a couple intriguing teams. The Brewers have an exciting core, assembled in a hurry, while the Braves have created their division winner by patiently losing a whole bunch of games and taking advantage of draft picks. But neither has the cool factor that the Rockies do. Purple is obviously a superior color, Nolan Arenado is obviously a superior third baseman, but most of all, Dinger is obviously THE superior mascot in all of baseball, if not all of sports. A large, happy dinosaur so named because they found dino bones on the site of Coors Field? Sign me up!
I am a genetic Red Sox fan, so they’ve always been my backup team. (Except when I went to school in Massachusetts. Being surrounded by Red Sox fans disabused me of that for several years.) Half my family and many friends are Red Sox fans, so it’s an easy bandwagon for me to fall onto. I love Fenway Park for the Green Monster and the weird angles and the oldness that so many non-Boston fans despise. I love the history of the postseason there. Taking just the present into consideration, how can anyone not enjoy watching Mookie Betts play? Let’s have as much of him as possible.
NL: Atlanta, with Milwaukee as a close second
Initially, I picked the Brewers. I love Craig Counsell and his presence in October. The Pilots thing doesn’t bother me all that much because I love the lore of that one season. It’s that used-car-salesman-turned-Acting-Commissioner-for-Life Bud Selig that sours me on the Brewers. I don’t want him to experience any joy. So, Atlanta it is! A team that once again, has often served as a backup team for me. Like many of you, I grew up watching them on TBS and I’ve always dreamed of an Atlanta-Seattle World Series, so until that happens I’ll take an Atlanta-Boston World Series. (Which would be fun in its own right because they used to be the Boston Braves. If only the Beaneaters were still around to get in on the fun.)
AL: Giancarlo Stanton, Mookie Betts, Corey Kluber, Gerrit Cole, Francisco Lindor, & Chris Sale
Each of the team options make me want to retch, so it’s not a particularly pleasant choice. I have immense appreciation for individual players on each team, but the individual parts fail to overcome the distasteful nature of their sums. The baseball itself will be exceptional, as at least the three best teams in the league are in the AL, and likely five of the playoffs’ six best are in the AL’s ranks. It seems plausible the ALCS will be the true matchup of baseball’s two best teams, and seeing any of them face off will be a uniquely beautiful experience as a largely impartial fan.
A relative lack of familiarity with the NL breeds a delight in the possibilities of these matchups. No non-Mariners team has my heart like the Rockies do, and in another life I could see my fandom playing out there. It helps that their relatively lackluster history features only scattered individual achievements and scant playoff involvement. Seeing the Yankees or Red Sox forced to trek to the mountaintop of Coors and have the vaunted breaking balls of the many dominant AL hurlers flatten out in the altitude is a challenge I wish to see teams try to overcome. The playoffs are a tournament of the peculiar, and baseball becomes a sprint. I refuse to hope for anything less than one run in a million.
AL: New York Yankees
[Sixteen cannonballs go whizzing past my head]
Just, if you will, hear me out.
[I ignore the cries of an entire city to crawl toward my keyboard]
The New York Yankees aren’t as evil as we’ve decided them to be.
[A large man wearing a suit and dark sunglasses breaks into my apartment and steals my computer]
I need to preface this by saying that these are my opinions, and as such, they do not reflect the views of Lookout Landing dot com. I understand that the Yankees do some incredibly wack shit, whether it’s an archaic facial hair policy, carrying an impossibly sanctimonious aura, employing Aroldis Chapman, or owning a never-ending payroll that literally prices out their competitors. All of these things are inescapable, and they’re very bad. To be abundantly clear, I am in no way a Yankee fan, but I’ll take them over the other American League playoff squads.
Now, for my reasoning. Many of the other writers here will try to sell you on the Boston Red Sox and their old-timey quirks or the unfading sheen of Mookie Betts. While Mookie is undoubtedly fun to root for, and undeniably magnetic, the team across his chest bruises the otherwise tempting fruit.
I started to comprehend baseball right around 2001. Since then, I’ve seen the Yankees lose more World Series than I’ve seen them win. In the same timeframe, the Boston Red Sox have won each of the three World Series they’ve made, sweeping two of them. They’ve enjoyed Hall of Fame careers from Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, and Manny Ramirez, and maddeningly solid stints from the eternally punchable Dustin Pedroia and Curt Schilling. This year, they set fire to everything in their path with two of the three best hitters in the American League, a deathmonger left-handed pitcher, and the best closer on the eastern seaboard. For most of my life, the Red Sox have been the furthest thing from lovable losers. Couple that with their New England-based army, and the Red Sox are basically the Patriots, who I think we can all agree are dementors.
I’m fully aware that this will get me dragged across the internet, but the Yankees are, always have been, and always will be cooler than the Red Sox. This is admittedly a subjective statement, but it’s one I’m extremely comfortable with. Growing up, I wanted to be Derek Jeter. I wanted to wear a Yankee hat like Jay-Z and 50 Cent. I wanted to watch games on TV and see celebrities behind home plate and a diverse fanbase from every corner of the earth, not the Irish-washed light beer fest of Fenway.
World Series games at Yankee Stadium are one of my platonic images of sport. Andrew McCutchen could saw my Achilles in half and I would thank him. Desus and Mero’s World Series tweets would be museum-quality. When I think of the Yankees I think of the artists I grew up admiring, and dudes like Jeter, Rivera, Bernie, and Matsui who helped me fall in love with baseball. When I think of the Red Sox I think of my least favorite genre of sports fans, privileged drunkenness, and Jimmy Fallon. Give me the Yankees and some hiking gear, as I’m ready to die on this hill.
NL: Atlanta Braves
I’m riding with Atlanta for many of the same reasons I listed above. The Braves are the coolest of the remaining National League teams. Their gray jerseys might be my favorite in the league. Most of their hitters wear enormous gold chains. They have Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies and Touki Toussaint. Even Freddie “Worst Dancer at the BBQ” Freeman is easy to love. They have the Player’s Ball video. They have online martyr Brandon McCarthy. Quavo would be there.
Every team in the bracket can give you reasons not to like them. For the Yanks, it’s their overall Yankee-ness and the Chapman-sized blemish on the organization. For the Braves, it’s the impossibly ignorant Tomahawk Chop or Sean Newcomb’s bad tweets or the fact that they’re probably cloning their players. But the playoffs are more fun with a rooting interest. Despite both teams’ flaws, I’ll take a Yankees-Braves World Series and all the 90s nostalgia that comes with it. Atlanta sports needs this.
AL: Giant Meteor
This has got to be the least exciting AL playoff slate in years. Whether it’s the fact that the playoff race was sewn up with nearly a full week of the regular season left, Cleveland winning their division despite having the worst record of the five (I am officially on team #AbolishDivisions after the way this year played out - despite the fact that the Mariners would have still missed the playoffs), or the fresh pain of seeing those damn Oakland A’s playing October baseball, I can’t bring myself to root for any AL team this year. While the games and series will most likely be objectively entertaining - and Giancarlo Stanton finally making his postseason debut is neat, I guess - I’ll likely be sitting most if not all of this leg of the playoffs out.
Over the last thirty games of the season, no team did better than Milwaukee’s 23-7. Christian Yelich - freed from the purgatory of Miami - burst out as a legitimate MVP candidate with a monstrous (this term still feels like an understatement) .367/.449/.770 second-half slash line. After edging out the Cubs in yesterday’s tiebreaker, they secured the best record in the National League. The *Brewers*! Projections are far from gospel, to be sure, but FanGraphs had them pegged at 78-84 going into the season. Yelich and Lorenzo Cain alone gave them thirteen wins, easily the most impactful offseason additions for any team in baseball. Although their starting pitching isn’t spectacular, and some may wince at seeing old “friend” Wade Miley pitch in the NLDS, the fact remains that Milwaukee’s second half was nothing short of spectacular, and I look forward to seeing if they can ride that wave deep into the postseason.
Oh boy. It’s definitely bad form to pick a division rival as your bandwagon team in the playoffs, but I just can’t stop watching the A’s. There are plenty of reasons to hate them. Everyone on their team is named Matt. Their success this season is likely the sole reason the Mariners didn’t make the playoffs. But I’m just so curious to see if their ridiculous hot streak continues in the playoffs. There’s no possible way they’ll be able to make it very far with a rotation led by Mike Fiers, Trevor Cahill, and Edwin Jackson, right? Will Khris Davis hit all of the home runs or will his bat go cold at the worst possible moment? Will Blake Treinen finally allow a run? Honestly, one of my best friends is a huge Oakland fan and it’ll be nice to finally root with him instead of our usual playful rivalry.
Rooting for the Brewers is like rooting for a Seattle sports team, right? Beyond that, they’re just so fun to watch. Christian Yelich is probably the NL MVP and might possess the most pure swing in the game right now. Their rotation has the same amount of perplexing curiosity as the A’s, but they’ve made it work somehow. They were one of the few teams who actually upgraded their roster this offseason to try and contend. In an era of unprecedented tanking, it’s nice to see them rewarded for that effort.
Final vote totals:
NL: Brewers (5), Rockies (2), Atlanta (2)
AL: Red Sox (3), Yankees, Individual players (2), The Haters Ball (1), Meteor (1), Oakland (1)
Who are you rooting for in the NL?
This poll is closed
And the AL?
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