Toronto Baseball Guys
Friday, October 12, 2007
  Who To Cheer and Why
So after a relatively lacklustre first round of the playoffs, we're down to four teams still in contention for the 2007 World Series. If you're a baseball fan and your team isn't one of the remaining four, who do you pull for? Usually, it's the best story - the player who has never been to the postseason, the long-suffering franchise, the team that bounced back from injuries, the manager who kicked the opium habit, etc.

So which team is worthy of your support?

Arizona Diamondbacks
Last won: 2001

Case For: Well, they're the young, hungry, how-did-these-guys-get-to-the-playoffs team. Considering they allowed more runs than they scored, I'm not exactly sure, but here they are, with young stars like Brandon Webb and Chris Young, and those snazzy new red uniforms.

Case Against: As a franchise they're younger than the average member of a Little League team, and they just won a World Series in 2001, so there's no nostalgia factor here. The closest thing they have to a grizzled veteran is 37-year-old Jeff Cirillo. Plus, "D-Backs" on the front of the jerseys? A nickname's nickname? Maybe there's a reason you don't choose a 12-letter name...

(Canadian Exception): Who doesn't love the O-Dog? Though the popular ex-Jay will have to cheer his team on from the dugout, as an injury will keep him from any post-season action.

Boston Red Sox
Last won: 2004

Case For: Not much of one, really. They had a ground swell of support back in 2004, as they finally expunged The Curse. It would drive Yankees fans crazy though, and that is always a worthy goal.

Case Against: Just three years removed from the 2004 victory, baseball fans have been reminded that Red Sox fans are very nearly as obnoxious and insufferable as Yankees fans. And who really needs a ring on this team? Jonathan Papelbon? Julio Lugo? J.D. "I've held out and opted out of every contract I've ever signed" Drew? I wouldn't begrudge David Ortiz another October dogpile, but if you're not a member of Red Sox Nation, there's precious little to recommend the Sox as an adopted playoff team.

(Canadian Exception): It would be nice to see Eric Gagne add a World Series ring to his Cy Young Award, but if he doesn't start to perform more effectively, he might not make the World Series roster, should the Sox get that far.

Cleveland Indians
Last Won: 1948

Case For: There's the 59-year drought, which looks like nothing to a Cubs fan, the years... ok, decades as a laughingstock franchise - what other team has a hit movie based on finally overcoming their futility? How about Kenny Lofton finally winning a World Series ring on his 14th tour of duty with his original team (I'm not counting those 20 games with Houston)? Plus, they knocked out the Yankees, for which about 95% of baseball fandom is grateful.

Case Against: About as thin as Boston's case for. I suppose there's politically incorrect name, but we survived 14 years of The Chop, for cryin' out loud. And C.C. Sabathia should really straighten out that hat.

(Canadian Exception): Kinda thin, but Casey Blake is a former Blue Jays farmhand, while Josh Barfield is the son of former Jays' slugger Jesse.

Colorado Rockies
Last won: Never

Case For: They're the hottest team in baseball over the last month, and the winners of an absolute classic playoff game against the Padres. They've never been past the first round of the playoffs in their admittedly short history, while expansion cousins Florida and Arizona have combined for three World Series titles. Veteran slugger Todd Helton is making his first playoff appearance.

Case Against: They don't have the same historical gravitas as the Cubs or Phillies, but compared to Arizona, they're pratically greybeards. And c'mon, a humidor?

(Canadian Exception): Canada's current best hope for a Cy Young Award is Rockies' ace Jeff Francis, a Canadian university product, and already off to a stellar 2-0 start in the '07 playoffs.

So to recap, here's the order in which you should be cheering for the postseason survivors:

Indians (and it's not even close)

Rockies
Diamondbacks
Red Sox
 
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