Thursday, March 29, 2007

How to pick a team to root for in the playoffs

Original post date - Monday, October 2, 2006

So your favorite team is not in the playoffs, but you still are going to watch.

How do you figure out who to root for?
Sometimes it seems easy, but other times you need some help.

So I have written out the 10 factors you need to consider when picking a team you honestly don't care about to root for.

1. How long has that team been waiting for a title?
2. How long has that city been waiting for a sports team to win?
3. Is this team your mortal enemy? Are they playing your mortal enemy?
4. How many 10 year + veterans on the team don't have a ring?
5. Which player or manager will a World Championship secure a Hall of Fame vote? Do you like them?
6. Would you like to see the manager be celebrated?
7. Which stadium would look best in a championship celebration?
8. Which team has the best old players to dust off and throw out the first pitch?
9. The Lazarus factor: Which player who was counted out will be the most heart warming to see them win a title?
10. Which team has the most former players from your team? Will their winning make you happy or sad?

Now for some people one factor may weigh one point more than the other.
(If the team is your mortal enemy or playing your mortal enemy, that should cancel out all other points.)

But use these points and figure out which team you are going to latch onto.
And if that team gets eliminated, then use the factors again to find a new team!

Now I'll apply my points to the 8 playoff teams.
Some of the answers are statistical, some subjective (like my illogical dislike for Tony LaRussa) and the former Team answer refers to the Red Sox for me.




DETROIT TIGERS

1. How long has that team been waiting for a title?

They last won it 1984... and this is their first trip to the post season since 1987.
And as recently as 2003 they were laughing stocks... 119 losses to be exact.


2. How long has that city been waiting for a sports team to win?

Detroit has had a good 10 years as a sports town with the Red Wings piling up Stanley Cups and the Pistons winning an NBA title. The Lions continue to stink, but you can't have everything.


3. Is this team your mortal enemy? Are they playing your mortal enemy?

I guess this is applicable if you are a Blue Jays fan or really hate the movie "For Love Of The Game" with Kevin Costner.


4. How many 10 year + veterans on the team don't have a ring?

2.
Todd Jones has been playing since 1993. Seems like a fun guy and looks like Morgan Spurlock from Supersize Me.
Sean Casey is a stretch for a 10 year veteran. (he only played a handful of games in 1997).


5. Which player or manager will a World Championship secure a Hall of Fame vote? Do you like them?

Pudge Rodriguez will be credited for turning the team around. He has a ring with Florida and this will solidify it.
Jim Leyland will get into the Hall as just the second manager to win a World Series in both leagues.


6. Would you like to see the manager be celebrated?

Leyland is the real life version of the manager in Major League. What's not to love? "Give the heater, Vaughn!"


7. Which stadium would look best in a championship celebration?

Comerica Park doesn't have the cool grittiness of Tiger Stadium, but I'm sure the celebration will look cool.


8. Which team has the best old players to dust off and throw out the first pitch?

A 1984 Tigers reunion will be cool, if bittersweet for Alan Trammell who managed the 119 loss team.
Al Kaline is still kicking around.
Willie Horton, who played a big part in helping calm racial tensions in 1960s Detroit would be a welcomed sight.
Not sure if Denny McClain is out of jail.
I for one would love to see Mark the Bird Fydrich on the mound, talking to the ball before the first pitch.



9. The Lazarus factor: Which player who was counted out will be the most heart warming to see them win a title?

Not a lot of Lazarus on this team other than Leyland. A title in Detroit would be all about Leyland.
Not sure if anything is heart warming about Kenny Rogers... although I pity the camera man who would interview him after the World Series.
(Rogers has a ring with the 1996 Yankees, but he pitched so poorly for them that they should ask for it back!)



10. Which team has the most former players from your team? Will their winning make you happy or sad?

For a Red Sox fan like me, not many former Red Sox.
Todd Jones was on the 2003 "Cowboy Up" team that lost to the Yankees. Other than that, the active roster is Red Sox free.




NEW YORK YANKEES


1. How long has that team been waiting for a title?

It's been an eternity! SINCE 2000! There are kids who are in kindergarten who have never seen the Yankees win in their lifetime!
THIS FANBASE NEEDS SOME RELIEF!


2. How long has that city been waiting for a sports team to win?

Do we count New Jersey titles? The Devils have been prolific but the last New York team to win was the aforementioned 2000 Yankees.



3. Is this team your mortal enemy? Are they playing your mortal enemy?

Who DOESN'T hate the Yankees that isn't a Yankee fan?



4. How many 10 year + veterans on the team don't have a ring?

7 (but really 8)

A title would be the monkey off the back for a bunch of high profile players.

A Rod is the most celebrated ringless Yankee.
But Giambi, Mussina and Bobby Abreu have yet to win a title.

Pitchers Cory Lidle, Ron Villone and Jaret Wright have also been around for 10+ without a title.

Hideki Matsui has only been in America since 2003, but he is a veteran by any standard.



5. Which player or manager will a World Championship secure a Hall of Fame vote? Do you like them?

A Rod obviously needs to get this off of his shoulders.
Mussina would get some Cooperstown consideration and a second ring for Johnson and Sheffield wouldn't hurt either.
Neither would a fifth ring for Jeter, Rivera and Torre!




6. Would you like to see the manager be celebrated?

Torre has been celebrated so often he is practically deified.




7. Which stadium would look best in a championship celebration?

It may be painful to watch a celebration there, but Yankee Stadium looks beautiful on TV and in person




8. Which team has the best old players to dust off and throw out the first pitch?

A lot of the classic ones are passed away (and Rizzuto isn't doing well either) but Yogi and Whitey are still around. So is Reggie.




9. The Lazarus factor: Which player who was counted out will be the most heart warming to see them win a title?

Not a player but a coach. Don Mattingly is the most loved Yankee in history without a ring. Even a hard hearted guy like me would ALMOST be happy to see that.... almost.




10. Which team has the most former players from your team? Will their winning make you happy or sad?

Damon and Myers are on the squad.
Oh... I'm thrilled for them.








OAKLAND A'S



1. How long has that team been waiting for a title?

The A's last won in 1989 during the Earthquake series versus San Francisco. It was a muted celebration.



2. How long has that city been waiting for a sports team to win?

Also since 1989... and with the way the Raiders and Warriors are playing, the A's are the East Bay's only hope!



3. Is this team your mortal enemy? Are they playing your mortal enemy?

Are you a Giants fan? Are you an Angels fan? Do you hate Billy Beane? Do you hate the Raiders and just want their fans to be miserable?



4. How many 10 year + veterans on the team don't have a ring?

Just 2.
Jason Kendall has been around forever without as much a taste of the post season.
Esteban Loaiza is ringless.
(Eric Chavez and Jay Payton just missed the cut.)



5. Which player or manager will a World Championship secure a Hall of Fame vote? Do you like them?

Frank Thomas would get a big boost from a ring with Oakland. Sure he won with Chicago, but he didn't play in the playoffs and things ended badly with the White Sox. I'm sure this would be more rewarding.

Barry Zito could boost his resume before heading off to New York.




6. Would you like to see the manager be celebrated?

Does anyone know ANYTHING about Ken Macha?
Does Mrs. Macha know?




7. Which stadium would look best in a championship celebration?

The McAfee Collesium (or what ever they are calling it now) is as ugly a baseball stadium as it is a football stadium. Let's hope they sell out the place without a tarp over the top deck!




8. Which team has the best old players to dust off and throw out the first pitch?

Reggie, Rollie and Vida are still around.
I for one would love to see a McGwire/Canseco reunion, just for the awkward spectacle.




9. The Lazarus factor: Which player who was counted out will be the most heart warming to see them win a title?

Frank Thomas winning would be cool, I must admit.




10. Which team has the most former players from your team? Will their winning make you happy or sad?

Jay Payton and Scott Sauerbeck were briefly Red Sox... neither made much of an impression on the nation.






MINNESOTA TWINS



1. How long has that team been waiting for a title?

Since 1991. A title this year would make them the only team to win in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Not bad for a small market team that can't compete.



2. How long has that city been waiting for a sports team to win?

Also since 1991... but the Vikings sure party like they've won.



3. Is this team your mortal enemy? Are they playing your mortal enemy?

Unless you are blundering baserunner Lonnie Smith or overly creeped out by "Fargo" how can you hate the Twins? Even their name is cute!




4. How many 10 year + veterans on the team don't have a ring?

4
Brad Radke has been with the Twins through good and bad since 1995.
Rondell White was part of the 1994 Expos team that was screwed out of a potential division title because of the strike.
Dennys Reyes has been kicked around the bigs since 1997.
Torii Hunter sneaks in with 1 game in 1997... and he has been the face of the Twins for years.



5. Which player or manager will a World Championship secure a Hall of Fame vote? Do you like them?

It's early but Johan Santana is building a nice resume.
It's REAL early for Morneau and Mauer, but an early ring wouldn't hurt!




6. Would you like to see the manager be celebrated?

Ron Gardenhire has been in Minnesota forever.... probably will be deified like Tom Kelly was.



7. Which stadium would look best in a championship celebration?

We've already seen two World Series celebrations under the dome and in front of the blue baggie in right field. Unless you are a die hard Twins fans, it is an ugly sight.



8. Which team has the best old players to dust off and throw out the first pitch?

With Kirby gone, Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew and Kent Hrbek are all available.
So is the kid manager from "Little Big League."




9. The Lazarus factor: Which player who was counted out will be the most heart warming to see them win a title?

The main Lazarus factor would go to the franchise itself. Slated for contraction after the 2001 World Series, the Twins have responded with 4 division titles in 5 years. A title would be a giant F-you to Bud Selig... which anytime Selig looks foolish is a good day for me!



10. Which team has the most former players from your team? Will their winning make you happy or sad?

No Red Sox of note.






NEW YORK METS



1. How long has that team been waiting for a title?

1986... and man that was close.




2. How long has that city been waiting for a sports team to win?

Well, we are in the same quandry when considering New Jersey teams. I'm sure there are many Devils and Mets fans. But I am also sure there are many Mets fans who are Rangers or Islanders fans. And I won't insult Met fans by bringing up the Yankees titles.

Let's be safe and just say 1986.




3. Is this team your mortal enemy? Are they playing your mortal enemy?

Are you a Phillies fan? Are you a Yankees fan? Are you Calvin Schraldi? If you answered yes, then you just might hate the Mets.




4. How many 10 year + veterans on the team don't have a ring?

10 year? Try 24 year veteran Julio Franco! He's almost enough to make the Mets the heart warming story of the post season!
Jose Valentin broke into the bigs in 1992.
Carlos DelGado and Shawn Green played for the 1993 World Champion Blue Jays, but weren't on the playoff roster.
Darren Oliver and Steve Trachsel have been around since 1993.
Michael Tucker has bounced around since 1995.

So that’s 7 all together.




5. Which player or manager will a World Championship secure a Hall of Fame vote? Do you like them?

Even without playing, the World Championship would add to Pedro Martinez's Hall of Fame resume.
Carlos DelGado and Carlos Beltran would enhance their chances.
And while it is early, it wouldn't hurt David Wright and Jose Reyes to get the "they've never won a ring" label off themselves. (Just ask Derek Jeter.)



6. Would you like to see the manager be celebrated?

After years of being rejected for managerial positions, seeing Willie Randolph win with his hometown team would make him, for an off season at least, the toast of the city.



7. Which stadium would look best in a championship celebration?

Face it, Shea is one ugly dump.



8. Which team has the best old players to dust off and throw out the first pitch?

Tom Seaver is a lock for the first game at Shea.
A 1986 reunion is inevitable (and more palatable for Red Sox fans since 2004.)




9. The Lazarus factor: Which player who was counted out will be the most heart warming to see them win a title?

Julio Franco might have PLAYED with the actual Lazarus!



10. Which team has the most former players from your team? Will their winning make you happy or sad?

Just Pedro. Seeing him in a different uni will always be difficult.





LOS ANGELES DODGERS


1. How long has that team been waiting for a title?

1988... and Gibson limping around the bases is STILL one of the coolest moments in sports history.




2. How long has that city been waiting for a sports team to win?

The Lakers won in 2002. And I should count USC winning the national title because that's the only football title LA will see for a long long time.




3. Is this team your mortal enemy? Are they playing your mortal enemy?

Are you a Giants fan? Are you a resident of Brooklyn? Are you Dennis Eckersley? If you answered "yes" then go ahead and hate the Dodgers.




4. How many 10 year + veterans on the team don't have a ring?


6 total.
The Red Sox fan in me still loves No-Mah. He deserves a ring.
Kenny Lofton has been in almost every single post season since 1995 with now 6 different teams... and is amazingly still ringless!
Former MVP Jeff Kent has been playing since 1992.
Olmedo Saenz broke in in 1994.
Elmer Dessens has been around since 1996.
Brett Tomko has been around since 1997.



5. Which player or manager will a World Championship secure a Hall of Fame vote? Do you like them?

There is no doubt that Greg Maddux is Hall of Fame bound. Another ring will just be resume padding.
Laugh all you want, but if Derek Lowe has another great World Championship post season like he did with the 2004 Red Sox and then becomes a stat compiler like Don Sutton... he might have an outside shot at the Hall.

Nomar isn't a Hall of Famer. He's more like Fred Lynn now, a former Red Sox great who got hurt too often. But who knows?





6. Would you like to see the manager be celebrated?

Can any Red Sox fan really celebrate Grady Little?




7. Which stadium would look best in a championship celebration?

Giant fans may not want to hear it, but Dodger Stadium is one of the best parks in the business.




8. Which team has the best old players to dust off and throw out the first pitch?

Can they lure Koufax out to the World Series? Probably not.
Get ready for more Tommy Lasorda than you can handle.



9. The Lazarus factor: Which player who was counted out will be the most heart warming to see them win a title?

Who CAN'T root for Nomar to win a ring?




10. Which team has the most former players from your team? Will their winning make you happy or sad?

Seeing Nomar and Derek Lowe win again would feel nice.
Maybe Grady winning can make me not shake my head whenever his name is mentioned.
Just remember to pull the pitcher when he's got nothing left!!!!!





SAN DIEGO PADRES

1. How long has that team been waiting for a title?

The Padres have never won a title.


2. How long has that city been waiting for a sports team to win?

Neither the Padres nor the Chargers have ever won a title. The city needs a hug.


3. Is this team your mortal enemy? Are they playing your mortal enemy?

Are you a Dodger fan? A bitter Cubs fan from 1984? Do you miss the Taco Bell wrapper uniforms? Were you rooting AGAINST Gary Coleman and Robert Guillomme in The Kid From Left Field? If so, then you should consider the Padres your mortal enemy.


4. How many 10 year + veterans on the team don't have a ring?

8!
Trevor Hoffman and Mike Piazza are the superstars without rings.
Rudy Seanez has been kicked all over the bigs since 1989.
Manny Alexander has been cashing MLB checks since 1992.
Chan Ho Park made his big league debut in 1994.
Mike Cameron and Brian Giles broke into the bigs in 1995.
Todd Walker has been around since 1996.


5. Which player or manager will a World Championship secure a Hall of Fame vote? Do you like them?

Trevor Hoffman's lone blemish on his Hall of Fame resume is giving up the game 3 homer to Scott Brosius in the 1998 World Series. A title will complete his resume.

Mike Piazza is already in, but a Ring would be the icing on his Hall of Fame cake.

And who knows? With another ring for another team, would David Wells get consideration? Probably not.


6. Would you like to see the manager be celebrated?

Bruce Bochy has led them to the World Series to the bottom of the standings and back to the playoffs. A title would be a crowning acheivement.



7. Which stadium would look best in a championship celebration?

Petco Park could be the worst name of a new stadium, but it looks cool, even if that warehouse is a bit contrived.



8. Which team has the best old players to dust off and throw out the first pitch?

How fat do you think Tony Gwynn is now? We'll find out!



9. The Lazarus factor: Which player who was counted out will be the most heart warming to see them win a title?

Hoffman and Piazza would be the story.



10. Which team has the most former players from your team? Will their winning make you happy or sad?

There are so many Red Sox that it feels like a 2003-2005 reunion.
Walker, Embree, Bellhorn, Meredith and Wells will all be there.

And of course Dave Roberts, who is the biggest hero in Boston since Paul Revere. Any time Dave Roberts is happy, I'm happy.




ST. LOUIS CARDINALS


1. How long has that team been waiting for a title?

1982... which probably seems like a lifetime for this baseball crazy town.


2. How long has that city been waiting for a sports team to win?

2000 Super Bowl... and it would have been longer if Mike Jones didn't make that tackle.


3. Is this team your mortal enemy? Are they playing your mortal enemy?

Are you a Cubs fan? Do you drink Miller Beer? Do you dislike the sight of Tony LaRussa? Then you probably consider the Cardinals to be your mortal enemy.



4. How many 10 year + veterans on the team don't have a ring?

Just 3... but they are big names in St. Lou
Jim Edmonds broke in to the bigs in 1993.
Scott Rolen has been around since 1996.
Chris Carpenter has been pitching since 1997.


5. Which player or manager will a World Championship secure a Hall of Fame vote? Do you like them?

Albert Pujols has already built up an impressive Hall of Fame resume. Better win that ring when he can!
Don't look now, but Chris Carpenter is starting to put together a nice resume. Maybe too little too late, but a ring goes a long way.


6. Would you like to see the manager be celebrated?

Why does LaRussa just rub me the wrong way? Is it his "know-it-all" demeanor or the fact that he is single handedly responsible for cheapening the "save" statistic? Maybe it's because he's a lawyer.

A World Series win would make him the second to win a World Championship in both leagues. Why does it have to be him???


7. Which stadium would look best in a championship celebration?

Funny, I miss the other Busch Stadium. As the last of the concrete circle stadiums, it finally became unique! Oh well. This new one looks nice I guess.



8. Which team has the best old players to dust off and throw out the first pitch?

Red Schoendist is still with us as is Stan Musial.
I'd love to see Bob Gibson brush someone back with the first pitch.
Ozzie Smith would get a big hand.

I wonder if Mark McGwire will come back and talk about the past.



9. The Lazarus factor: Which player who was counted out will be the most heart warming to see them win a title?

Jeff Weaver... who always looks frazzled and lost his job with the Angels because his little brother was better. He got roughed up in New York and just looks like someone needs to by him a beer and tell him to relax.


10. Which team has the most former players from your team? Will their winning make you happy or sad?
No Red Sox on the team.



So let's watch some baseball.
Despite what the song says, it is the baseball playoff season and NOT Christmas that is the most wonderful time of the year!

3 comments: