With the Cincinnati Reds showing some youthful vigor but still way out of the playoff hunt, I find myself looking for a team to support during the 2017 MLB Playoff Race. Last year I didn’t really bother picking a team because I still had some hopes for my college, fantasy & professional football teams and could use them to ignore baseball. That’s not the case this year, as I’ve already given up on all three.
When you’ve been a Reds fan as long as I have, there are certain teams you just can’t root for out of principle. There isn’t another team from the NL Central that’s an option. The Chicago Cubs were a nice story last season when they hadn’t won a championship in 108 years. Now? Get em outta here. The Milwaukee Brewers are making some progress and could be a threat soon. Not this year. The St. Louis Cardinals? I’d root for the North Korea National Team against them.
Rooting for the Washington Nationals is kinda tempting. I thought Dusty Baker got a bum rap among Reds fans that didn’t appreciate a manager that could win games. Unfortunately, he didn’t win many playoff games, so it’s probably a really bad time to hop on that particular bandwagon.
The Boston Red Sox & New York Yankees? Nope, can’t do it. The Yanks/Sawx feud is a heel vs. heel feud and nobody involved knows it. Once upon a time we could like the Red Sox, but they won too much and Boston fans got way too far up their own rear ends for us to side with them on anything. Aaron Judge seems like a really cool dude, but he still doesn’t swing things in favor of the Yankees. And really, if you’re jumping on the bandwagon of a team going for their 28th championship, you’re doing this whole sports fandom thing all wrong. You’re supposed to root for underdogs, not foregone conclusions.
The Cleveland Indians are tempting, especially with Jay Bruce & Edwin Encarnacion in the fold. Edwin’s another one of those guys that got a bad rap from Reds fans, all he needed was a change of scenery to realize his potential. Jay had a solid Reds career and never said a bad word about anybody in the organization, so there’s no reason to hate him. The only downside is that…well…it’s Cleveland.
As a Cincinnati sports fan, I can’t bring myself to root for anybody from Cleveland. This includes the Cavaliers & LeBron James, The Miz, and the Windians. I did favor them over the Cubs in last year’s World Series simply because Cubs fans were so rude in 2016, but it was a “lesser of two evils” situation. If the Indians make it all the way to the World Series again, I might root for Jay & Edwin to get a ring. Before that, I can’t do it.
The Houston Astros are a team I’ve been high on for awhile, and they’ll get a championship here sooner or later. It’s tough for me to root for them though, as I don’t see them very often. Once the playoffs hit and I see them more often, maybe my feelings will change.
There’s a bunch of AL teams still in contention for the second wild card. I mean, it’d be nice for Mike Trout & the Los Angeles Angels to get in. Trout is supposed to be the best player ever and it’d be nice to see him prove it in the postseason. The Minnesota Twins are a plucky small market franchise, so that would be fun…if they didn’t just fire their Single A affiliate manager whose house got damaged in Hurricane Irma. That was the first call he got after his power came back on. You stay classy, Twins. I’ll let that whole thing shake out on its own.
This leaves us with the three NL West teams. The Los Angeles Dodgers sure seem like they’re due. Until recently they looked like they were going to challenge MLB win records. That’s not a good sign for them. Also not a good sign: the ace of my fantasy baseball team, Clayton Kershaw, giving up the first grand slam of his career tonight. TO THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES. Honestly. It’s the finals of my league. I was expecting an easy quality start and win from Kershaw on Monday night. That didn’t happen. He let me down. There’s a reason people started calling him “Peyton Kershaw” a few years ago. Dude shrinks in the big moments. If I was a Dodgers fan I’d be pushing that panic button even if my team won over 100 games this year. Bad juju going on here.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are my grandaunt’s favorite team. She’s lived in Tuscon forever now. She’s invited me out there and I should probably take her up on it someday, but people keep expecting me to work and not take vacations. I rooted for them in 2001 before I knew that Curt Schilling was the biggest asshole walking God’s green Earth. Tony La Russa works for them. I can’t do it. Sorry Marge!
This brings us to the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies check most of my boxes. Coors Field is one of the best venues for baseball thanks to Denver’s thin air. More home runs & more offense are good things, I don’t care what the traditionalists say. I was nine years old in 1993 when the Rockies & Florida (Miami) Marlins joined Major League Baseball and I loved both teams’ color schemes. I had Rockies & Marlins shirts because I loved the purple & black of the Rockies and the teal of the Marlins.
The Marlins have won a couple of championships and have sucked most of the other years. It’s the damndest thing. The Rockies haven’t gotten there yet. I had a feeling things would be different this year with Bud Black at the helm. That dude can manage and I had no idea why San Diego let him go. Their loss was Colorado’s gain, no doubt. They had some talented players. Nolan Arenado is one of the best third basemen in the sport. He makes incredible plays in the field every night and is pretty good with the bat. Charlie Blackmon has had an unbelievable season. Their top five starting pitchers have ERAs under 5, which is pretty amazing.
Oh look, there’s Ryan Hanigan on the roster! Former Red!
The Rockies feel like the right choice for several reasons…
- They’re a National League team, but not in the Central Division.
- They don’t have any previous issues with my favorite team, the Cincinnati Reds.
- They’re fun to watch due to the thin air in Denver.
- Denver is a non-traditional baseball market. As a fan of the Nashville Predators, a team in a non-traditional hockey market, I feel a connection there.
- My best friend, the Voodoo Penguin, lives in Colorado and roots for St. Louis. Rooting for the Rockies will surely piss him off.
- I asked Lauren Gardner if there was room on the bandwagon and she said there was.
I have not consulted with Dustin or Jeremy on this, but I feel comfortable in throwing THE USB’s endorsement behind the Colorado Rockies for the 2017 MLB Pennant Chase & Playoffs. Go get em, boys!