Shane Victorino

Who To Root For: A Primer

Most of us Mets fans are used to this by now … figuring out which bandwagon to jump on. Many of us have gone to our October homes to back a playoff team. Most, I've found, get a nice little place in Tampa. Some go up north to Boston. There's even a few that head off to Cincinnati. But some of you might still be confused as to where to send your allegiances this October, especially with some new vacation spots. I want to see if I can try to help you. While I'm not going to tell you who to root for, I will give you the pros and cons of each option as you try to decide which playoff team to back.

Let's start with the American League:

Boston

Why you should root for them: This one's easy. First off, enemy of my enemy is my friend. Worst to first. Beards. A great sports town where every conversation you overhear on the street is about the Red Sox. I'll ask again, what's not to like?

Why you shouldn't root for them:

Oh yeah. Sorry Boston.

Tampa Bay

Why you should root for them: They have the best manager in the game today, who regularly has farm animals roaming the clubhouse to keep things loose. If I had a life manager, I'd want it to be Joe Maddon. Plus, a team that does it with a limited payroll, which shows competent ownership and management. Plus, they have a cat for a D.J., and fans who know their baseball.

Why you shouldn't root for them: Do you want a World Series to be decided on a ball that hits a catwalk? (No pun intended.)

Cleveland

Why you should root for them: Because how many sports disappointments does a city have to go through before enough is enough? Jose Mesa? LeBron James? Ernest Byner? Craig Ehlo? The Baltimore Ravens? The Cleveland Rockers getting a number one seed then being upset by the Charlotte Sting? When does it end?

Why you shouldn't root for them: Because the cartoon caricature with the big goofy smile offends me to no end:

Detroit

Why you should root for them: Because even Cleveland boasts that they're not Detroit. This is a city you must automatically root for. And because Jim Leyland is an unapologetic bad ass.

Why you shouldn't root for them: You might know Miguel Cabrera as the future Hall of Famer that is on track to be the best right handed hitter who ever lived. But do you remember when Miguel was the petulant Marlin fatty who wouldn't (couldn't) dive for a baseball in the All Star Game? I do. And that's why I can't root for Detroit.

Oakland

Why you should root for them: Because don't you want to see an entire stadium doing this in October:

Why you shouldn't root for them: Because Moneyball never bothered to mention that Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, and Tim Hudson were three of the best young pitchers in baseball. And I could never quite get over that.

(Yeah, that's all I got.)

And now for the National League:

Atlanta

Why you should root for them: Speaking of Tim Hudson, he is a decent human being and he has to watch the playoffs laid up at home after his ankle was broken by Eric Young's unfortunate step (or as Doug Gottlieb calls it: "fake hustle".) It would be nice if Hudson was the emotional pillar which sent Atlanta on to victory. Also, the more games Atlanta plays, the better chance you'll see Brian McCann keep somebody from scoring after a home run.

Why you shouldn't root for them: You mean aside from the obvious? John Rocker? Brian Jordan? Larry Wayne Jones? A playoff team drawing 18,000 a game in September?

No, that's about it.

Pittsburgh

Why you should root for them: What's not to root for? A team that hasn't made the playoffs for 20 years? Marlon Byrd and John Buck? A beautiful ballpark? What more could you want?

Why you shouldn't root for them: Do you know how many Steelers Bars there are in New York City? Eleven, according to Steelerbars.com. You know how many Steeler bars there are in the United States? Enough for the need for a website called "Steelerbars.com". If the Pirates win? Hell, there will be nowhere to drink! NOWHERE!

Cincinnati

Why you should root for them: They have a catcher named Corky. What more do you need?

Why you shouldn't root for them: Because the longer they go in the playoffs, the more we'll see Dusty Baker offend the senses of America with nonsensical bunts. Plus, have you seen this:

This is what they do in Cincinnati … chili on spaghetti. I love chili. I like spaghetti. And I love cheese and onions. Yet this picture makes me want to projectile vomit all over the city. And this:

This is a cheese coney. This kills more humans than anything else on the planet. And not in the roundabout way where this causes life threatening diseases down the road … no. You eat this, you die. On the spot.

It also looks slightly pornographic.

St. Louis

Why you should root for them: This is a fantastic organization, one that a certain club in Queens should aspire to. They lose franchise hitters and legendary managers, and they barely miss a beat. Plus … 

Why you shouldn't root for them:

Because while I'm for Carlos Beltran winning a World Series, I'm against the idea of Carlos Beltran winning a World Series … especially in that uniform. Met fans from 35-50 hate the Cardinals with a passion that can't be understood by merely reading a goofy blog such as mine. You had to be there. Mets/Cardinals in the 80's was baseball jihad. There was nothing like it. And that dies hard. If my 15-year-old self knew that I would even give reason one why you should root for the Cardinals, he'd build a time machine, find me, and beat me with a bat.

So don't root for the Cardinals.

And finally …

Los Angeles

Why you should root for them: Because it would show the Wilpons once and for all that you need to spend money to win in major league baseball to win.

Why you shouldn't root for them: Because of the banner raising at Citi Field that Fred Wilpon will feature on Opening Day.

Metstradamus

About Metstradamus

I've been a Mets fan since 1976. The 1988 NLCS still bothers me infinitely more than it should. Keep reaching for the stars, and then get checked for a torn ligament.

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