There is one certainty in being an ardent supporter of Minnesota sports: you probably won't be holding the trophy at the end of the season. Such is true this year as well (at least in baseball), as the Twins couldn't muster a lousy run off of a pitcher who had a 7.91 ERA against them in 2008.
So here we are, with eight teams, none of which are from Minnesota. I fancy myself as somewhat of a sports bigamist. Yes, the Minnesota teams are all at the tops of my lists in their respective sports. But I also love the Eagles (the football team, not the terrible band), the Golden State Warriors, and the Buffalo Sabres, to name a few.
Baseball is really the only sport that I don't have a backup plan. Maybe it's because of the salary inequities between teams that I feel like a front-runner rooting for a big market, or maybe it's because I don't like any of the other teams' hats. Whatever it is, I need to find a team to root for this post-season, if for nothing else than to taste that bandwagon, semi-phony, sweet, sweet juice of victory. Here are three pros and three cons for each of the contenders. Maybe in the end, I'll have a new favorite team. But I doubt it.
TAMPA BAY Rays (record vs. MIN: 3-3)
(1) Joel "Mad Dog" Maddon's glasses...NERD!!
(2) A Rays playoff berth prevented a Yankees playoff berth.
(3) the probability that a Rays' pennant would mean them defeating both the White AND Red Sox.
(1) Potential one-year wonder -- I mean, who wants to be the guy who thought A-Ha was going to be as big as the
(2) Terrible fans in a stadium that may double in the off-season as an airplane hangar.
(3) Proof positive that the Twins made a stupid move giving up Garza and Bartlett for a platoon infielder and a right-handed version of Joe Mauer's power.
BOSTON RED SOX (record vs. MIN: 4-3)
(3) None. Seriously, you went all those years claiming poverty against the big evil entity that is the New York Yankees, and now you pretty much do the same thing on a year-to-year basis.
Cons (aside from the one I listed in the 'pros'):
(1) Annoying asshole fans. My rule of thumb is that if a 20-year-old girl who has no affiliation to any one team is wearing your hat, you're either a team with a pink hat, or you've become the default team for idiots to root for.
(2) Bill Simmons will dedicate his ensuing year's worth of columns on ESPN Page 2 to how it happened, and I really just want him to write about the NBA.
(3) "Good Will Hunting." I hate that fucking movie.
CHICAGO White Sox (record vs. MIN: 8-10, yet they get the home field in a tiebreaker...)
(1) Their logo looks like it says "Sex", not "Sox".
(2) I still think AJ Pierzynski is a fantastic catcher, and don't fully understand why Twins fans hate him so much.
(3) A small part of me would be happy to see the second-best center fielder of my lifetime win a championship. By the way, I meant Ken Griffey, Jr., not Dewayne Wise.
(1) Obvious division rivalry that I won't elaborate on because thinking about the White Sox is pretty equivalent to thinking about Sarah Palin in a position of governmental power. It just boils the blood.
(2) Flawed tie-breaking procedure one of the key factors in the White Sox being in the playoffs to begin with.
(3) Anti-Twins-style baseball at its finest. Or worst, I guess.
ANAHEIM Angels (record vs. MIN: 5-3)
(1) I still have my Torii Hunter Twins shirt, and would like him to win* (* = please see Con #3).
(2) Someone apparently killed the Rally Monkey.
(3) My only athletic trophy is an 11-year-old city championship that I acquired while a member of the Angels, so the team has a good sixth-grade vibe for me.
(1) Still mad over the 2002 ALCS, with the likes of Donnelly, Spezio, and Eckstein, to name a few.
(2) The spiteful, hating Catholic in me would like to see them punished for making such poor financial decisions (Hunter, Matthews, soon-to-be Texiera).
(3) Continues the disturbing trend of high-profile former Minnesota athletes to go elsewhere to get rich (I will have a seperate blog about this).
PHILADELPHIA Phillies (didn't play MIN)
(1) John Kruk. Enough said.
(2) I would gladly accept the Twins signing or trading for: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, and Cole Hamels. I thoroughly enjoy watching all of those guys play the game.
(3) My uncle lives outside of Phily, and I've had a Phillies pennant on my bedroom wall since about 1988. So, I guess more out of second-hand homerism, I like them.
(1) Their fans threw batteries at J.D. Drew one time. I can empathize, because he seems like a dick, but seriously...BATTERIES??
(2) Philadelphia sports teams seem to be about as good at closing the deal as Minnesota. I'm glad professional sports isn't high school, or both towns would be virgins. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
(3) I'm afraid that Sly Stallone will show up if they advance too far and do the whole "Rocky" bit, like he did when the Eagles opened the Linc a few years ago. Awkward.
CHICAGO Cubs (didn't play MIN)
(1) Steve Bartman could be taken off of witness protection, and then go on tour with Bill Buckner.
(2) Most of those fans have witness some pretty appalling baseball over the years, and so it might be nice to throw them a bone.
(3) The FOX broadcast team could allow Will Ferrell to do his Harry Caray impression for a few innings. That would be GOLDEN.
(1) Cubs fans have the definite potential to become as annoying, if not MORE annoying, than Red Sox fans. Unlikely, but possible. The "20-year-old girl" corollary (as mentioned above) is in play.
(2) At some point, I would like to go to a game at Wrigley Field. I feel as though a Cubs World Series would make that more financially difficult.
(3) Listening to dozens of Joe Buck-narrated pieces about how long it's been since the Cubs won a World Series.
MILWAUKEE Brewers (record vs. MIN: 2-4)
(1) I have a lot of friends that are Brewers fans, and part of me would want them to be happy.
(2) Any team named after beer deserves SOME credit...even if it is a tasteless, watered-down beer.
(3) Miller Park is a gorgeous field, and I would love to call that my home park.
(1) I have a lot of friends that are Brewers fans, and part of me would want them to be miserable.
(2) I tried to punch a guy at Miller Park back in 2005 after the Brewers beat the Twins on Prince Fielder's first career home run. I'm not sure that's a con, but I thought someone needed to know.
(3) Willingly rooting for a Wisconsin team just seems wrong to me.
LOS ANGELES Dodgers (didn't play MIN)
(1) Joe Torre has to be considered one of the five or six best coaches ever, and he could certainly stick it up the Yankees' ass (metaphorically) by winning a World Series in L.A.
(2) Manny Ramierez, for all of his character flaws, is a fantastic hitter, and he could certainly stick it up the Red Sox' ass (metaphorically) by winning a World Series in L.A.
(3) The Dodgers are pretty much the only pro sports team that you can get southern California to give a shit about on a regular basis, so that's saying something.
(1) Having to Watch the video of Kirk Gibson's gimpy ass hobble around the bases ten thousand times.
(2) Major market spite.
(3) They were sort of the best of the worst in the NL West.
So there's the breakdown. How's it gonna play out? Well, knowing what I know, here's how I think it'll shake out.
Rays over White Sox in four.
Angels over Red Sox in five.
Angels over Rays in six.
Phillies over Brewers in four.
Dodgers over Cubs in five.
Phillies over Dodgers in seven.
Phillies over Angels in six.
So there you are. Batteries and all, go Phillies. And give some of that good goo-joo over to the Eagles, too...because hey, we all KNOW the Vikes are toast.