The 500 Level Fan Guide to Playoff Rooting

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The march to the 2014 World Series begins tonight as the Oakland A’s take on the Kansas City Royals, in Kansas City’s first playoff game since 1985.  The fact that the Royals made the postseason this year means that the crown of longest suffering fans has been passed to those of us who support the Blue Jays – a humiliating achievement.

Because our beloved team once again failed to play on past game 162, for the 20th consecutive playoffs we need to choose a new team to support.  After all, the playoffs make for great TV watching, but only if you go non-Swiss and actually pick a side to root for.

Normally the process of elimination is fairly straightforward as there is always a bitter rival to cheer against, like the Yankees or Red Sox.  But this year marks the first time since 1993 that neither Boston nor New York qualified, so things aren’t so simple.

But don’t worry – by following a simple step-by-step process, 500 Level Fan will have an October team picked out for you in no time.

Let’s do this.

Step 1 – The AL East

Just because the Red Sox and Yankees missed the cut, doesn’t mean it’s OK to support another AL East team.  It’s actually against the law to do that.

CUT – Baltimore Orioles

Step 2 – Recent Winners

Building dynasties can be fun if the dynasty plays in your city.  Otherwise, they suck and are not to be cheered for.  The Giants and the Cardinals have combined to win 4 of the past 8 World Series.  Enough is enough.

CUT – St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants

Step 3 – Teams that make you mad

Granted, this may be subjective, but tell me that you look at the roster of the Kansas City Royals and don’t get at least a little bit angry.  On paper the Jays should be able to crush a team that starts Omar Infante, Nori Aoki, Alcides Escobar, and brings Raul Ibanez off the bench.  Yes they are a nice story, but I can’t get behind them.

CUT – Kansas City Royals

Step 4 – Boring Teams

Aside from Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, tell me something exciting about the Nationals?  Harper’s regression this year makes him much less interesting than Trout or Puig, and there is no cinderella element to them.  They just do everything pretty well – and that’s boring.

CUT – Washington Nationals

So that leaves us with half the field: the Pirates, Dodgers, Angels, A’s, and Tigers.  The final step is to rate those teams in three categories: ex-Jays, best story, and most exciting.

Ex-Jays

5 points – Angels – Johnny Mac, John Buck

4 – Tigers – Rajai Davis

3 – Pirates – Travis Snider

2 – Dodgers – Brandon League

1 – A’s – Jesse Chavez

Best Story

5 – Tigers and A;s (tie) – I like it when teams go for it, so the aggressive trade deadlines for Oakland and Detroit give them a leg up.

3 – Pirates –  Back in the playoffs two years in a row.

1 – Dodgers and Angels (tie) – same expensive rosters as a year earlier.  Ho-hum.

Most Exciting

5 – Angels – Mike Trout in the playoffs, enough said

4 – Dodgers – Puig, Kershaw, Greinke, Brian Wilson’s beard…

3 – Tigers – Miggy, Victor, Kinsler, Price, Verlander, Scherzer, and on and on

2 – Pirates – McCutchen is worth watching all by himself

1 – A’s – Adam Dunn finally tastes the playoffs

Bottom Line

I can’t believe I’m saying this, what with bitter division battles in our history, but with a total of 12 points, give me the Tigers this October.  With a roster full of great players, a long series drought, an aggressive GM and owner, recent playoff failures, and ex-Jay representation, why not pull for them to bring the series back to Detroit?  They can keep it warm for us for 2015.

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