September 30, 2012; St. Louis, MO. USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran (3) hits a two run home run during the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

Who Should Mets Fans Root For This October?


Unlike in the NBA where teams with losing records frequently make the playoffs, the Mets and their 74-88 record are sitting at home this postseason. We all know things will eventually come together for our ball club, but until they do, we spend October as refugee fans, looking to take up temporary residence in some other team’s camp. Thus, the question is this: whose camp to set up shop in? Who, as Mets fans, should we root for this year in the playoffs?

Using this extensively tested and highly scientific method (seriously, we got a grant), this article will show you the pros and cons of supporting each of the last eight teams in the hunt for the Commissioner’s Trophy. Each team will be rated on a three-point scale with “Go on ahead” as the most positive rating, “No chance in hell” the most negative, and the neutral “Meh” sandwiched in between. By the end of this, um, “study,” you should have a pretty good idea of how your fellow Metsians will react when you don one of the other teams’ hats for the rest of the month.

 

Washington Nationals (NL East Champs)

Oct 8, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson (5) walks off the field during the fifth inning of the 2012 NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

Why you should root for them:

If you thought Mets fans were long-suffering, I introduce to you Washington baseball fans, who have gone through three different franchises, two exoduses, five rounds of expansion, 13 presidents, and seven constitutional amendments since their last postseason appearance in 1933. Having the Nationals in the playoffs is a great moment for a sports city that has had to put up with incompetent ownership (Redskins), an underachieving superstar (Capitals), and scary-but-not-in-a-good-way player behavior (Wizards). It’s an exciting time for DC fandom, and that excitement can’t help but rub off on anyone paying attention. Plus, they’re managed by Davey Johnson. Davey Johnson is awesome.

Why you shouldn’t root for them:

While it’s nice for them that they did so well, the Nationals’ success came at the expense of their NL East rivals, including the Mets. Gio Gonzalez may steal away R.A. Dickey’s Cy Young Award. Bryce Harper could become the reincarnation of Larry the Met Killer. The way the Nats have it set up, they could become the next Atlanta Braves winning the division for the next decade.

Final Analysis:

Let’s face it: we all rooted for Tom Brady and the Patriots the first time. While the Nationals will likely become an arch-enemy in the future, I think a little leeway can be given for this, the first time for Washington in nearly 80 years. Plus, Davey Johnson is awesome. Go on ahead.

Cincinnati Reds (NL Central Champs)

Why you should root for them:

It’s always nice to see the smaller market teams do well. Brandon Phillips is fun to watch because he has such a great time playing the game. Bronson Arroyo and Aroldis Chapman are the next Hall and Oates.

Why you shouldn’t root for them:

The Reds have historically been a Met rival (see 1973 NLCS, 1986 brawl). Cincinnati was Tom Seaver’s destination during the Midnight Massacre. R.A. Dickey was forced to cut off his daughters’ friendship bracelets in Cincinnati.

Final Analysis:

It’d be nice to see the National League win again, and it’d be nice to see Cincinnati finally have something go right after David Bowie’s diss. Aside from that, there isn’t really much you can say about the Reds. Meh.

San Francisco Giants (NL West Champs)

Why you should root for them:

Many Mets fans can trace their fandom back to ancestors and relatives who supported the New York Giants; my grandpa was one of them. The Giants were the team of Willie Mays, one of New York’s favorite sons. While he’s not playing this year, the team still plays with the spirit and energy of Brian Wilson’s beard. If you go to San Francisco, you get to wear flowers in your hair – who doesn’t love to accessorize?

Why you shouldn’t root for them:

San Fran fans threw a coup in July when they got Pablo Sandoval, who was injured for half the time, to start the All-Star Game over David Wright. Buster Posey, despite being the best catcher in the National League, “couldn’t handle” the knuckleball, so Tony La Russa gave the start to another Giant, Matt Kain, over R.A. Dickey. Brian Wilson’s beard itself won’t be in the playoffs. You’re allergic to flowers. Accessorizing sucks.

Final Analysis:

While the Giants have the historical roots to support them, they have already won a World Series recently and their fans found multiple ways to keep the Mets down in 2012. Meh.

St. Louis Cardinals (NL Wild Card Champs)

Why you should root for them:

Carlos Beltran.

Why you shouldn’t root for them:

Yadier Molina. Adam Wainwright. Everyone else.

Final Analysis:

It’s nice to see Carlos in the playoffs, but why did he have to do it with the Redbirds? No chance in hell.

 

New York Yankees (AL East Champs)

Why you should root for them:

It’s nice to see Ichiro Suzuki get another shot at a title before his Hall-of-Fame career is up.

Why you shouldn’t root for them:

Twenty-seven other reasons. Plus you’ll keep your soul.

Final Analysis:
Not even Ichiro should sway you to the Evil Empire. No chance in hell.

Detroit Tigers (AL Central Champs)

Why you should root for them:

I personally may have the strongest case to go for Detroit: it would make all my Tigers fan friends at college in Michigan happy. Ernie Harwell was a poet.

Why you shouldn’t root for them:

Um…National League bias?

Final Analysis:

The Tigers are one of those rare teams Mets fans have absolutely no quarrels with. They never met in a World Series and nothing too dramatic has happened the few times we’ve faced them in Interleague Play. No reason to pick against them, but no reason to pick them either. Meh.

Oakland Athletics (AL West Champs)

September 21, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane at a press conference before the game against the Texas Rangers at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Why you should root for them:

The A’s were projected to finish about at the Mets’ level this season, but defied all logic and a 13-game deficit to win their division. It’s an inspiring story and proves that anything can happen in baseball. Billy Beane is a front office wizard (not to mention former Amazin’ prospect) and it would be great to see him finally win the last game of the season.

Why you shouldn’t root for them:

Jealousy: why couldn’t it happen to us instead? Oakland kept New York from a world championship in 1973.

Final Analysis:

Billy Beane brought the Moneyball magic back on the 10th anniversary of that season and may have produced an even better story. An Oakland World Series would be one of the greatest upsets the baseball world could ever see. And you have to think that if the A’s can get it done with the lowest payroll in the majors, surely the Mets can make it work with just a middle of the road budget. Go on ahead.

Baltimore Orioles (AL Wild Card Champs)

Oct 8, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter (26) prior to game two of the 2012 ALDS against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE

Why you should root for them:

They’re not the Yankees. Orioles fans have been long-suffering. They finally brought back that classic cartoonish bird. Buck Showalter is a cool guy, plus he helped R.A. Dickey transition into a knuckleball pitcher when they were both in Texas. Baltimore has former Mets Endy Chavez and Omar Quintanilla on roster. They’re not the Yankees. Jim Thome is one of the classiest men in the game and still chasing that illusive championship. There’s the potential for a Beltway Series with Washington (and no chance for an earthquake – looking at you, Bay Series). Did I mention they’re not the Yankees?

Why you shouldn’t root for them:

Um…orange is our color?

Final Analysis:

All we would ask for is an early trip home for the Bronx Bombers, but the Orioles have more going for them than anyone else in the field: likeable personnel, Mets connections, and an underdog status. What’s not to like? Go right ahead.

 

Final Rankings

Go right ahead:

1. Baltimore Orioles

2. Washington Nationals

3. Oakland Athletics

Meh:

4. San Francisco Giants

5. Cincinnati Reds

6. Detroit Tigers

No chance in hell:

7. St. Louis Cardinals

8. New York Yankees

 

The choice is yours, Mets fans. Just remember, there’s nothing wrong with simply rooting for great baseball.

You can follow me on Twitter @MidwesternMet and at my own Mets blog of the same name. Thanks for reading, have a nice day, and L.G.M!

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