REVISED UPDATE: Sorry Ohio, but you're not representing this year so here's my liat of teams that are left in the order in which I want them to win it all!
I love the baseball and it's that time of year where I start rooting for teams that I don't follow for most of the year. These are the teams that battled it out and made it to the top 33% of all teams in baseball.
I'm not a fan of the one game playoff for the wild card teams that was introduced last year. I prefer the one wild card team format because half the time it allows a good team in a great division (like the 2001 Oakland A's) to make the playoffs. There was a one game playoff yesterday between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers anyways.
Anyway, with the new format I will list the teams I am rooting for to win in all in the order of my interest. Keep in mind, the two teams I root for (The New York Mets and the Seattle Mariners) were out of it by August. This year I will have a new team at the bottom of the list because the Yankees got knocked out last week. So that decision become tough for the first time in 5 years. I'm giving different numbers based on the multiple game series that will follow the Wild Card playoff game. so it will be a 1-8 order with ten teams listed. I don't feel like waiting until Thursday.
1. The Pittsburgh Pirates have not been in the playoffs for more than 20 years. As a matter of fact they haven't had a winning record since 1992. Now THAT'S an underdog. Plus they haven't won a World Series since 1979. The third longest stretch behind the Cubs and Indians of teams that have won the World Series in the past. They have the most beautiful ballpark in MLB and it will rock if the Pirates get into the first round of the playoffs. If the Indians lose their Wild Card game, Pittsburgh is tops in my book. Plus a rematch of the very first World Series in 1903 between Pittsburgh and Boston would be cool.
2. The Tampa Bay Rays ware a team that has been around since only 1998. They were a lousy team playing in a generic indoor stadium with no charm. They eliminated the "Devil" part of their name and have been a solid team since, actually making a World Series appearance in 2008. It's a small market team with a smaller fan base. So they are kind of an underdog.
3. The Detroit Tigers were one of those old school baseball teams that has some success in their past. I like the team, the players and the way they recovered from having one of the worst records of all time ten years ago to becoming one of the elite teams of this decade. Aspiration is a good thing when you root for a bad team.
4. The Boston Red Sox were lousy last year. Had their worst record since the 1960s. People expected them to be better but no one expected to win the division never mind the fact they ran away with the division by August. I've always been a fan of the Red Sox except when they had Roger Clemens. As a Yankee hater it gives me a bit of satisfaction when they win but karma bit me in the ass when they won the World Series in 2007 the same year the Mets had their epic collapse. Of course the Red Sox had their own in 2011 so all is forgiven.
5. St. Louis Cardinals 2006 still stings. If the Mets had not collapsed in the years 2007, 2008 and had decent playoff runs it wouldn't hurt as much and I wouldn't resent the Cardinals so much. The Cardinals in my opinion is the best run baseball organization and their World Series championships are second only to the Yankees. Still, if they play the Oakland A's I will root hard for them.
6. The Oakland A's I dunno why I hate the A's. It might be that my first awareness of them was of highlights of the 1973 World Series that had them beat my Mets. They looked like bad guys with their black mustaches and to a 6 year old that was significant. The A's of the late 1980s were a bunch of cheaters who brought in the era of steroid juiced players. The current A's are the "Moneyball" teams that brought about the term Sabermetrics and the annoying and phony statistic known as WAR (Wins Above Replacement). They made a movie about the team that starred Brad Pitt for Christ sakes. It even got Jonah Hill an Oscar nomination. But here's the thing. The Oakland A's hasn't won anything in the era that started in 2000. As a matter of fact several teams with similar payrolls HAVE won it all and the A's have won only one post season series since then despite being in the post season a half dozen times. The Mets bettered that in one post season. So this year would be good for them to put up or shut up. Especially since they play the Tigers who have man handled them more than even the Yankees.
7. The Atlanta Braves are a division rival of the Mets. That fact alone puts them low on my wish list. They ran away with the division around the time the Mets went to pot in May. So they had no adversity in winning the division. Still, They have been behaving like punks in recent weeks. Getting into battles with low ranked teams for stupid reasons. Their fans suck too. To this day they don't fill out their ball parks despite they are only second to the Yankees in playoff success in the last 20 years. I can't root for them.
8. The Los Angeles Dodgers Some team has to be last on my list. Without the Yankees I had to actually choose a team I least like to win the World Series. Why the Dodgers? Well, They are acting like the Yankees in their spending. Two, Puig is a punk. Three, I STILL haven't gotten over 1988 and with the 25th anniversary of that Dodger team coming up we'll be reminded of it. So I hope they get even get knocked out by the Braves.
So there you have it.