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AL/NL Wild Card: rooting guide, how to watch, and Game 1 Thread

We all know what we’re rooting for: chaos

New York Yankees Vs. Boston Red Sox At Fenway Park
just rooting for chaos honestly
Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

It’s crushing that the Mariners didn’t make it into the playoffs, and even more crushing that the Red Sox and Yankees did. At least they have to face each other, and the one thing about sitting out yet another year of the playoffs is getting to see those two fanbases self-immolating in real time while our stomach linings remain delightfully intact. The NL Wild Card doesn’t stoke so much agita, although it’s truly stunning to see the Dodgers have to try to wiggle their way into the playoffs rather than just winning the division outright. Here’s the schedule for the WC games, as well as who the staff is rooting for:

Tuesday, October 5

AL Wild Card: Yankees at Red Sox, 5:08 PT, ESPN

Wednesday, October 6

NL Wild Card: Cardinals at Dodgers, 5:10 PT, TBS

The LL staff’s picks:


NL Wild Card: Cardinals

I’m going to out myself as something unfashionable: a Cardinals fan. I’m currently working on a project that requires me to watch a ton of Cubs games, which means I’ve seen a lot of the Cardinals drop-kicking the hapless Cubs all over the field, and I regret to inform you they are pretty Fun. Beefy Canadian Boy Tyler O’Neill? Fun. Jack Flaherty? Fun and sassy. Mulleted Harrison Bader? Fun. Yadi? Not fun exactly, but secretly a player I have always loved, please do not cancel me. Also this spicy story about someone on presumably the Cards who is presumably Wainwright paying off his teammates to get vaxxed? The spiciest. Love it. The Cards are the team I hope to win, but I’m pretty sure the Dodgers will blast them into outer space, so what’s the harm in rooting for them? Join me.

AL Wild Card: Meteor

UGH. It’s not just that it’s not the Mariners, or not the Blue Jays, a team I was prepared to bandwagon as far as it took me. It’s not even that this is the most boring, MLB-pleasing, mass market wankfest matchup possible, although it’s not not that. It’s that I don’t think the Yankees or Red Sox are even particularly good teams, and I don’t know that either can take down the Astros, which is always and forever my chief rooting interest. UGH. ugh. A big slice of ugh covered in ugh sauce with a side of ugh fries. The Yankees, I guess, so former staff writer Matthew gets to spend more time with his favorite player, Brett Gardner.


Both Wild Card Games: Meteor

The best part of these Wild Card games over the next two days will be that two of the participating teams are guaranteed to be eliminated. The four teams in these games are the four teams I hate the most (outside of the other AL West teams). Boston and New York? Spare me the East coast flagellation, the hot takes on how “this is the real pennant”. Meanwhile, I have conflicted feelings on the Dodgers: growing up, I always hated the Yankees for their massive budget and the seemingly unsporting way they used it to “buy championships”. The Dodgers have taken the mantle as the league’s top spender. Recently, though, my frustration lies more with the teams which, despite having fabulously wealthy owners, run their teams as exercises in austerity. That said, I dislike the Dodgers for some of the same reasons I do the Red Sox and Yankees: people in LA tend to think the world revolves around LA. The Cardinals, meanwhile, I dislike partly out of jealousy (can you guys just not have something amazing happen to you, like, ONE time?) and partly out of my associated hatred for Tony La Russa. In any case, I hope whoever wins the AL game gets their asses kicked by the Rays, and that whoever wins the NL game gets their asses kicked by the Giants.


NL Wild Card: Dodgers

The Cardinals have been in the upper echelon of “evil” teams from my perspective for pretty much ever and no amount of Tyler O’Neill is going to change that. This Cards team still has the familiar devil crew and should not have been given a postseason berth in the first place. I am salivating over the thought of the 106-win Dodgers steamrolling them on their way to what should be an outstanding NLDS.

AL Wild Card: Red Sox

While the meteor ending would certainly be preferable, and I may sit out the game, I will always and forever take Boston over the Yankees. There is no team I can muster the same hatred for: not the Astros, not the Angels, not the A’s, not the Cardinals. The Yankees have played some abysmal, unappealing baseball all year, whereas the Red Sox have played with some semblance of heart. My only caveat is that a second straight Rays/Yankees ALDS in which the Yankees are publicly humiliated by the best team in the American League would be endlessly satisfying. My heart couldn’t handle it, though.


AL Wild Card:

To quote Don Rickles in Dirty Work, “Why don’t you get a horse and live in the mountains some place and don’t bother anybody?” (RIP Don and Norm)

NL Wild Card: Cardinals

Okay, hear me out here. I do not like the Cardinals. I do not like their devil magic ways. I do not like that they probably sacrificed at least one infant in the last 15 years to make all these inconceivable postseason runs possible. Human sacrifice is about the only market inefficiency that should not be exploited in baseball. Call me crazy, but I’ll draw a hard line there. Anyways, I’m only for the Cardinals here because it will be very funny to me if the Dodgers get eliminated despite having more money and resources than God herself and then their only recent title will have been from a 60-game, pandemic-cursed season with a big ol’ asterisk next to it. Go piss in your pampers, Dodgers fans.


AL Wild Card: Matthew Roberson

NL Wild Card: Dodgers

By this point I think you all know where my familial loyalties lie. Kershaw finally got his ring, so I don’t particularly want to see them in the World Series againagainagain, but I would rather jump off the ferry in the middle of January than see the Best Fans in Baseball continue to celebrate.


AL Wild Card: Yankees

I have two reasonings for this, one semi-logical and one borderline conspiratorial. The first is that while I am proud to have predicted the BoSox would return to prominence ahead of this season over Kate’s bewildered guffaws, I like watching Giancarlo Stanton swing the bat. A lot. I want to see him hit a baseball through the signage above the Green Monster. The more galactically cranial reasoning is that I see the Yankees as a greater long-term threat to the Mariners, and a Wild Card bouncing is certain to spur a greater deal of fervor for improvement than anything else. Lulling New York into any degree of even slightly lesser pitch than full flung pitchforking of Aaron Boone and thereby giving Seattle even a slightly better shot at a top-tier free agent or two is as good a reason as any to root for one of two villainous organizations.

NL Wild Card: Cardinals

Isabelle’s family, stop reading………

Okay they’re gone. Listen. These Cardinals are kinda cool. Nolan Arenado is still dope. Dylan Carlson is a fun possible future glance at the next stage of development for Jarred Kelenic. Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas are two of my favorite pitchers to watch. The corpse of Andrew Miller is here! Also, Toenail is, after three years of deeply worrisome struggles, seemingly part of a rare, delightful win-win Mariners trade. Yes I want them bounced immediately upon their arrival in the Divisional Series, but I have to pick someone, and will not cower in fear in deference to wishes for astronomical intervention.


Who are you rooting for in the AL Wild Card?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    (44 votes)
  • 33%
    Red Sox
    (169 votes)
  • 57%
    I won’t pick and you can’t make me
    (286 votes)
499 votes total Vote Now


Who are you rooting for in the NL Wild Card?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    (186 votes)
  • 61%
    (293 votes)
479 votes total Vote Now