Whenever the MLB playoffs begin and the Mets aren’t partaking (far too often an occurrence), I’m sometimes at a loss as what to do. While watching playoff games can be paifnul because the Mets aren’t involved (especially in ’07 and ’08), I usually wind up doing so anyway because I love the game. But as much as I try, I just can’t be neutral, so here is some insight into who I am pulling for in the 2011 MLB playoffs.
Actively Rooting For Them To Fail: Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees
It should be quite obvious as to why I’m rooting against these teams: the Phillies are division rivals, the Yankees are local rivals, and both have caused the Mets immense pain. Unfortunately, both teams are the favorites in their respective leagues. If there is a repeat of 2009 I’m rooting for the umpires.
Don’t Care One Way Or The Other: Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks, St. Louis Cardinals
These are the teams that I will root for or against depending on who they play in each round. I can respect what each one of these teams has done in order to reach the postseason but I’m not actively cheering for them. The Tigers are fun to watch and Justin Verlander has been incredible, and I’m interested to see how the rest of their pitching staff does against the Yankees. The Diamondbacks completely turned things around from a dreadful 2010, so kudos to the front office for righting the ship. As for the Cardinals, they overcame a huge deficit and played the entire season without their ace, Adam Wainwright, and while having to wonder if Albert Pujols will return next year. If one of them wins the World Series, I’d be content (unless one of them beats the Yankees or Phillies, then I’d be thrilled).
I Can Get Behind These Guys: Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays
Usually I’m a fan of the underdog, but two of these three teams don’t fit that description. The Brewers dominated the National League Central for most of the season and have an imposing home record of 57-24, along with maybe enough pitching to get past the Philles, depending on what kind of performances they get from Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. The Brew Crew has also never won a World Series. Texas, meanwhile, was in the World Series last year but fell short, leaving them too without a championship in its franchise history. Given that the team was in massive debt, I respect how they’ve quickly turned things around (and maybe it lends some hopes to the Mets). Finally, there are the Rays-the ultimate underdog. Not only did they just mount the greatest September comeback in history, but they did so after falling behind 7-0 in game 162. The team has virtually no money and can’t seem to sell out Tropicana Field, but the front office has done a masterful job scouting, drafting, trading and scouring in order to put together a team capable of making the playoffs three out of the past four years. It’s already a huge accomplishment for them to make the postseason, but veterans of the franchise are now looking for more.
Overall, I’m rooting for the Brewers. I like the Rangers and Rays, and neither one of them has won a World Series, but the edge goes to Milwaukee because they are in the National League, and I just prefer NL baseball to AL. That being said, I’m looking forward to the 2011 playoffs and hoping that the postseason can bring half the drama of the regular season’s final day.
Tags: 2011 MLB Playoffs 2011 Playoffs Arizona Diamondbacks Brewers Cardinals Detroit Tigers Diamondbacks Major League Baseball Major League Baseball Playoffs Matt Kaufman Mets Milwaukee Brewers MLB New York New York Mets New York Yankees Philadelphia Phillies Phillies Rangers Rays Rising Apple St. Louis Cardinals Tampa Bay Rays Texas Rangers Tigers Yankees