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2010 MLB Playoffs: Who we're rooting for

October 7, 2010

The 2010 season was an ugly one for both Berndon's Cubbies and my Dodgers, the former was led by a manager who seemed content with cashing a pay check while the latter appeared to take their rightful place as the forgotten children of divorce. That leads us here with no horses in the race and no idea who to pull for to win the big one. So we got out our copy of Baseball Prospectus, a couple pads of paper, three pouches of Big League Chew and got to work, dutifully working on a formula to find the most deserving team of our fugacious praise. This formula consists of six categories; Team history, city, team finances, notable players, their fans, and lastly (but certainly not least), our biased hatred for the teams involved.

New York Yankees
Langston: They call the greatest city in the World home, their fans are myopic yet as loyal as they are plenty, and the squad is chock full of talent. However, the operating expenses and last years World Series eliminate them immediately from my fleeting praise.

Berndon: I used to really hate the Yankees, but this hatred is seemingly dying out each passing year as the Cubs spend more and more money. How can I hate on a team for buying championships when my boys unsuccessfully do the same thing each winter. This Yankee team really isn't that bad in terms of likeability. That being said, despite the fact that I like guys like Jeter, Cano, and Nick Swisher, I still can't stand ARod or Posada. I would like to see Kerry Wood, former Cubs wunderkind, get a ring. There fans are still obnoxious and they still get overhyped all the time, so I'm still rooting for the Twins to take them out in the first round.

San Fransisco Giants
Langston: They'll always be the Gints to me..

Berndon: I really enjoyed the Buster Posey experience, as he's potentially a keeper on my first-ever championship-winning fantasy baseball squad. San Fran seems like a cool city, and they did produce the Grateful Dead. I also really like their announcers, Jon Miller and Mike Krukrow. Ex-Cub Mike Fontenot factors into my decision of liking them to advance, and I'll pull for them if they knock off the Braves, but for reasons I will mention later, I'm rooting for them to lose to Atl. 

Philadelphia Phillies
Langston: The balance between their great city, good food, likable players, rotten fans and two straight triumphs over my Dodgers in the NLCS make this a tough decision. But being the most recent World Series Champion from the NL eliminate them from eligibility.

Berndon: Philly gets a bad rap as a city, but I enjoyed my experience there last summer when I caught a Phillies-Cubs game. It reminded me a lot of Chicago, albeit a slightly more obnoxious version where you substitute cheese steaks for pizza. As for their players, I don't dislike anyone, but don't really have any strong feelings other than the fact that Ryan Howard can hit a baseball further than Uncle Rico of "Napolean Dynomite" fame can throw it, which is enjoyable for everyone. I hope they take down the Reds and then lose after that.

Tampa Bay Rays
Langston: Everyone, including the Rays, has been crushing the Tampa fans for not showing up the day they clinched their playoff spot. However this is a pretty ridiculous and shortsighted attack on the fanbase considering they never show up (23,024 average and 52.6% tickets sold for the season, good for 22nd in MLB attendance) and they play in the worst stadium (outside of Oakland) in the majors. Plus, after 81 games, can't the loyal 53% take a night off to prep for the postseason? Despite the unneeded chiding, they went to the series two years ago, so I'm ready for some new blood. Sidenote: They do deserve our scorn for DJ Kitty (aka meme that needs to die).

Berndon: Tampa loses points because I feel like their fans don't deserve a winning team. They can't even show up unless the Yankees or Red Sox are playing, and even then the crowd is mixed. I like their core group of players, although it's depressing to think that the squad will be broken up after this season. All in all though, it would be nice to see them get a crack at the Yankees in the ALCS, but I can't say I would mind if Texas took them down early.

Texas Rangers
Langston: This team has a whole lot of interesting subplots; from the drug histories of Ron Washington and Josh Hamilton to the change in ownership to the great Nolan Ryan to the down-and-up year of Vladimir Guerrero. They have a low payroll considering their exciting squad and lose points for terribly average attendance and lack of pitching. I want to root for them, I really do, but I can't root for a team that I can't answer the following question: Would anyone care if they won?

Berndon: Josh Hamilton is an inspiraton on a personal level, as anyone who read my Michael Vick story will realize. Other than that, I think the Vlad Guerrero comeback is a nice little story, and each game they win will be moving further in the postseason than they ever have. Seeing them battle the Twins in the ALCS wouldn't be the sexiest of matchups, but enjoyable nonetheless. I'd like to see them beat Tampa and lose to the Twins.


Cincinnati Reds
Langston:  There are three things that come to mind when I think of Cincinnati or the Reds; Firstly, Marge Schott, and her racist comments. Secondly, Ken Griffey Jr signing a massive contract, only to see him rarely display the skills we came to adore him for while collapsing into a career of injuries. And lastly, Pete Rose, the best hitter of all-time and an absolutely loathsome human being. Now, I understand I'm not giving Joey Votto and his teammates enough credit, but with those images in mind how can you blame for not rooting for them. Sidenote: They do fit most of the criteria for our formula, but Marge Schott dude. Marge Schott.

Berndon: I'm conditioned to hate the Reds, since they reside in the NL Central, but I really don't have it in me. I hate the Cardinals for obvious reasons, and even the Brewers get more venomous hatred than Cincy, more than likely because they haven't been relevant for a while now. I can't truly root against Dusty Baker, but then again, there will be some bitterness because I will feel like he should have done it in Chicago. I hope Philly beats them in round 1. Joey Votto should have given Marlon Byrd daps at the All-Star game, instead of having his immature little attitude about how he couldn't shake his hand because he hates the Cubs. I hate you too Joey.

Minnesota Twins
Langston: The Twins are the ultimate team to root for; a great underrated city, haven't won the big one in the past couple of years, likable players/style of play, loyal fans(100.7 % tickets sold this season), and no rivalry connection to my Dodgers. I'll be pulling for them to win the AL,  I would be pulling for them to win the series if not for the last team on our list.

Berndon: The Twins get 5,000,000 cool points for demolishing the White Sox. That goes far in my book. Minnesota is an awesome city, despite my hatred for all things Vikings. Michael Cuddyer is from the same zip code that I now reside in, and I've just always liked the way they play. They bring web gems galore, get just enough key hits, and Ron Gardenhire has them going hard until the last out. I hope they knock off the Yankees and make it to the World Series, where 3 of there home games will inevitably get snowed out.


Atlanta Braves
Langston: My father's side of the family is from Knoxville. This is where I get my love for the Vols, the blues, BBQ, and seersucker. During summer break I would spend my time at my Papaw Jackson's house. My days consisted of going to the lake, playing hoops at the rec center, church, and the Braves. While church and the lake happened occasionally, the Braves were unending. When we weren't watching them, me and PaPaw Jack would question Bobby's decision making on the deck over a Mello Yello and a Moon Pie. When we went to watch the Smokies, we would point out guys that would fit in well with the Braves. On our weekly fishing trips, we'd breakdown Bobby's most recent ejection. While eating breakfast we would debate who was better; Greg or Tom. Looking back, the Braves were as big a part of the summers as my family, I was engulfed. So, for my Papaw, I will continue my tradition of rooting for the Braves when the Dodgers are out of the race. It's a sentimental pick, but it's not like our formula is a law.

Berndon: I kind of disliked the Braves as a child, because pre-Nats, TBS and 90's success spawned a lot of Fredericksburg Atlanta Braves fans. Two key factors make me want to root for Atlanta(although I did just bet a co-worker 20 dollars tonight that they would lose in the 1st round). One is the fact that Derrek Lee was one of the classiest and best Chicago Cubs over the middle part of the decade. D. Lee is definitely one of my favorite Cubs players ever, as he consistently went about his business as one of the best first basemen in team history. I'd love to see him get another ring after suffering through Cubs ineptitude for a while. Secondly, Bobby Cox getting a ring in his final season would be a great story in a postseason that seems a little lacking in terms of sentiment. He's only won one ring, but could very well had 4 or 5. Jason Heyward could prove to be the next Griffey, Omar Infante continues to prove to everyone he was actually a good All-Star pick, and the likable core of vets like Derek Lowe, Tim Hudson, and Billy Wagner make the Braves my pick of who I'm rooting for.

In terms of actual predictions: I'm going with Philly vs. San Fran in the NL, with my preseason pick for the World Series being the Giants winning the pennant. Despite Philly's big 3, I feel like the Giants have both the starters and the bullpen to make it through. In the AL, I think it's going to be Tampa vs. the Yankees, with Tampa Bay running their way into the Fall Classic with Posada's arm practically falling off after Crawford, Upton etc. run wild. I think the Giants will knock off the Rays in 7, with their pitching again carrying the load. Atlanta-Minnesota would be nice to see as well. And if this works out like my NCAA tourney "Who to Root for," it'll be the Yankees and Reds battling it out.

2 comments:

Russ said...

The two players holding the Giants back, Barry Zito and Jose Guillen, were left off the playoff roster. I'm cautiously optimistic. I would put Miller, Kruk, and Kuip up against any of the best announcers in the business.

October 7, 2010 at 5:01 PM
Langston said...

Russ, your three announcers while talented would lose to the Dodgers one. Vin Scully owns.

October 8, 2010 at 12:21 AM

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