Wednesday, October 7, 2009

As the postseason begins, who to root for?

I should clarify that headline. I will, of course, be rooting for the Yankees. But while the Yanks are taking on the Twins in the first round of play (starting tonight - well, this afternoon really), there are a bunch of other first round series going on as well. During the playoffs, I like to catch as many of the other games as possible so I know who my team might (hopefully) be up against in the next round and the World Series.

If you're a regular baseball fan, you get to know the players on the teams your team tends to play a lot - for that reason, in this first round of postseason play, I'm fairly familiar with most of the Red Sox and the Angels, and just out of love for Joe Mauer, I'm fairly familiar with the Twins as well. I never watch National League play so I'm less familiar with those teams in the running - a few of the Rockies I know from their World Series run a couple of years back, and I know Manny Ramirez is on the Dodgers and Albert Pujols is on the the Cardinals and Ryan Howard is on the Phillies (actually, to be honest, out of New York-based solidarity fandom with the Mets, I'm familiar with more than a few players on their nemesis team, the Phillies).

Anyway, the point is, you know what to expect from certain players both on your team and other teams, as well as what to expect from your team against certain teams. So when you're watching these other playoff teams, you have to figure out who to root for to make it to the next round to be the best matchup for your team to make it all the way.

Since I'm more in tune with the AL, let's focus on that for now. The last time the Yankees were in the playoffs, I think it was coming down to the wire as to whether they or the Red Sox would come in first in the AL East - the other would come in as the wild card. This was 2007. That year, the Yanks got in as the wild card team, which I was actually optimistic about, because it meant they would play the Tigers and not the Yankee-owning Angels in the first round. Sigh of relief breathed.

Of course, the Tigers knocked the Yankees out in that first round. Major grumbling ensued.

No scrappy Tigers this season. Scrappy Twins instead. But the Yanks beat the Twins 7-0 in games this year, so fingers crossed that the Yanks will dominate.

In other games, the Angels might own the Yankees (usually), but in the postseason, Angel ownage (usually) goes to the Red Sox. Whenever they meet up in the postseason, the Red Sox prevail. Which is good news for the Yanks, should both teams prevail in the first round. Boston might have owned the Yankees at the beginning of the year, but the Yankees had their number enough to pretty much even up the series and own them the second half of the year.

But, this year the Angels started playing differently, which might mean they could beat the Red Sox this time around. Boo!

But we like when the Red Sox get beat...yay!

But whatever the Angels are doing to play differently this year, the Yanks have started to figure them out and have actually won some late season games against them...yay!

But Red Sox-Yankee baseball is, in my humble opinion, the best kind of baseball there is...

But I really can't will myself to root for the Red Sox, at all, even if it means them beating the!

As for the National League (yeah, I'm going back to that), I'm gonna root for the Rockies. When I don't really know the teams, I always go with the underdog. And while Colorado isn't the underdog they were when they made it to the World Series last time, they're still the scrappiest and least-likely team out of the NL bunch. Plus, I think the Yankees could kill them in the World Series...

And while I'm talking about who to root for, let me add that on the Yankees themselves, I'm rooting for players like Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia, who have had at best questionable stuff in October and at worst, no stuff at all, to finally figure themselves out. And for young up-and-comers like Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain to prove that the Yankees are on the right track with developing young homegrown talent instead of spending the GNP of a small nation on a fading superstar to bolster their line-up and bullpen.

Let the postseason begin...may the best team win!

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