Saturday, October 12, 2013

Picking a rooting interest

Zach Greinke, who went eight innings for the Dodgers
on Friday in Game One of the NLCS, is one reason to root
for Los Angeles. There aren't many.
I can't complain about the quality of the four teams standing in the baseball playoffs. There's not a wild-card pretender left in the field, and there's a good case to be made for any of the four as the best team in baseball.

There's just not a team left I really want to root for.

The route espoused on Twitter earlier in the week by friend of the blog Jim Crikket — that he'd stop paying attention — isn't feasible for me. Crikket likes football, or at least some specific teams; I'd just as soon the whole sport went away. There's only so many baseball games left to 2013 (maximum now of 19 to be played). I'm not going to ignore them.

So I here try to pick the lesser of the evils:

Los Angeles Dodgers

Reasons to root for: Zach Greinke has been one of my favorite pitchers to watch since before he became a star. Vin Scully, the 85-year-old broadcasting legend, made the journey to St. Louis to do the games on Dodger radio (it's not in sync with the TV feed, but it's still an improvement over the TBS blather).

Ex-Twins: Nick Punto is on the active roster; Drew Butera is inactive.

Reasons to root against: It's Los Angeles, and one thing I've become increasingly certain of in 55 years of life is that little good comes from L.A. Biggest payroll in the game, and from all indications the new ownership intends to step it up further. Tommy Lasorda's still connected with the franchise.

St. Louis Cardinals

Reasons to root for: Midwestern city. In many ways, a model operation, fixing problems with home grown solutions. The Cards let Albert Pujols walk and got better.

Ex-Twins: None anywhere. Closest I can see is that reserve infielder Kolten Wong was drafted by the Twins as a high schooler and went to college instead.

Reasons to root against: Still soiled to some extent by Tony LaRussa's borderline insane belligerence. I've grown weary of the smug puffery about "the best fans in baseball." That they feel it necessary to repeat the claim ad nauseum suggests they doubt it.

Boston Red Sox

Reasons to root for: I need more time to come up with an active reason to root for them. Not being the New York Yankees is no longer enough, and the long drought without a World Series title is a thing of the past. OK: Bill James is part of the baseball operations. Best I can do.

First baseman Mike Napoli displays one
of the more unkempt beards on
the Boston roster.
Ex-Twins: David Ortiz in the starting lineup, Craig Breslow in the bullpen.

Reasons to root against: The untrimmed beards. "Sweet Caroline." The chronic smear campaigns against players and managers on their way of out of town. The spending. The obvious organizational ambition to be as unlikeable as the Yankees.

Detroit Tigers

Reasons to root for: Midwestern city. The hope, probably in vain, that if he wins a World Series title that aging owner Mike Ilitch will scale back the spending to a level that would appear economically sustainable. Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball; Justin Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball. Prince Fielder recently took a nacho from a fan's tray after chasing a foul ball.

Ex-Twins: Torii Hunter

Reasons to root against: Force of habit as a Twins fan. Jhonny Peralta was part of the Biogensis steroid scandal (and upon his return from his 50-game suspension hit a crucial, if disputed, home run against the Athletics in the ALDS). Cheater!


Tigers, Cardinals, Red Sox, Dodgers in that order. 


  1. I would go with the Cardinals first, because they are constructed like we wish the twins were: mostly home grown talent, with wise free agent and trade acquisitions.

  2. I'm glad you can maintain your interest, Ed. If the 4 teams were teams I was indifferent about, I could just root for good games and enjoy that. But these four teams have nothing I like about them. Your "reasons to root against" sum up my feelings, but I can't buy in to any of the "reasons to root for."

    Friday night, I checked the score and saw LA/StL were tied 2-2 in the 8th, so I started watching. After 3 innings, I realized I was rooting against both teams when they came to bat. I couldn't enjoy that, so I turned it off and watched a movie.

    I'm ready for spring training to start.

  3. I am right with you in the picking order. I tend to go with the team that would make the Twins look best. I like Torii Hunter, Cabrera and the Tigers' pitching. I like that it will be cold tonight in Detroit. That's how October baseball should be.

    I haven't heard the "best fans" thing enough to make me tired, but St. Louis sure feels like a baseball town to me. And it's a Midwestern powerhouse.

    The Boston beards are dumb. That Duck Dynasty stuff doesn't belong in baseball.

    And I haven't liked the Dodgers since I originally started not liking them in the 70's.