By DYLAN MALONE
With October upon us it’s time for post-season baseball.
I usually have an order of business in my fan duties that helps me follow the game closely and be entertained. This year my baseball “moral code” is facing several challenges early.
First on the list is a need to root for anyone playing the New York Yankees. With the pinstripes out of the playoffs I’ve had to check that off the list prematurely (devilish grin...).
Next, I have to root for MY team who, quite sadly but also quite predictably, have kicked the bucket in the opening round...again. The Atlanta Braves fell victim to the Los Angeles Dodgers and there’s nothing more I can do about it.
Injuries have plagued my team from the start of the season and they literally limped into the playoffs with a slim chance against LA’s surging team.
From my team I have to jump to the “underdog” vote.
Oh, wait...the Pirates are out too, now?!? Time for plan....D, I guess.
I suppose from here I go to the “local” teams (Detroit, St. Louis) but I can’t seem to shake my anger towards Cardinal fans. I’ll try and elaborate.
You Red-bird fans are so stinking knowledgable and polished!!!
I have no ties to St. Louis and your baseball tradition is so pure and deserved that it’s so hard for me to not root for your team.
The Cardinals have the success of the Yankees without the excess money, the swagger of the Red Sox without being in the limelight, and the talent scouts equal to Oakland without getting a movie out of it (SEE also Moneyball).
And for some reason, maybe my own bitter distaste for my Braves losing, I cannot enjoy watching a team like that win constantly. Even when they shocked the world with their Wild Card World Series win in 2011 coming back from the depths several times, I watched my screen with a grumpy look on my face like Mr. Scrooge.
My October resolution now may be to root for the Cardinals anyway.
My underdog team in the AL is the A’s but playing the Tigers in a game 5 tonight I’m a little nervous about who will come out on top.
I do like the Athletics, though because of the small ball and numbers that they play. Can you tell me two players on the Oakland roster? Obviously if you’re paying attention at home, former Norwell ace Jarrod Parker is the go-to name you’ll dig up.
But other than the local fame, Oakland is everything that baseball money hoarders hate with their lack of flare and big names. Can you imagine a World Series with Oakland and the Pittsburgh Pirates?
It won’t happen now, but if it did it would probably be the least watched Series in quite some time.
There would surely be some interest stemming from the underdog fans who would watch simply because neither team is supposed to be there, but once they watched a few innings and still couldn’t figure out who the Pirates’ outfielders are they would surely turn the channel.
No, Oakland/Pittsburgh would only be a baseball purist’s dream.
Am I saying that the game is rigged for the big team names to make it to the WS? Naw, but I do know that the powers that be would eat and drink comfortably (more comfortably than they already do that is) if the Dodgers and Red Sox were in the Fall Classic.
I’m choosing to ignore the possibility that the Tigers will make it to the World Series at all. It’s for your own good, Detroit fans. They haven’t won the World Series since 1984 despite two trips since then (2006, 2012) and when they were there they did that disappearing act that is inexplicable and yet quite real for small market teams.
All in all, despite my “baseball moral code” running thin, I still have some storylines to root for this October. I would be perfectly content with the A’s, Tigers, or...gulp...the Cardinals winning the World Series.
My only hope is that it’s not the Dodgers and Red Sox in the final game. I don’t think I could stomach anymore Puig talk from LA or how much Big Papi has had a rejuvinating post-season.
There are way more compelling stories out there from the other teams that ESPN has not yet belabored to death. Yes, I said it, the big sports station ruins stories by overplaying them as much as Top 40 radio.
It’s the reason you can’t hear the name Tim Tebow without cringing anymore.