Has your favorite baseball team been eliminated from post-season play? Do you remain reluctant to dive headfirst into football 24/7? Are you willing to set aside your normal allegiance for the next month and a half and bandwagon a contender for the sake of shit-talking and a possible faux championship?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, or preferably to all three, then it’s time for you to hop on the shoulders of a more successful fanbase a la Carlos Mencia’s “comedy” routine (yes, I just Mencia’d a Mencia joke). EJSIC is here to rank the possible teams on a scale of 1 to 10; 10 being fully bandwagon-worthy, 1 meaning we’d rather root for Hitler.
Let’s start with the American League and work our way through the pennant chasers there before exploring the National League.
Note: the author of this post is anti-DH, but in the interest of fairness will attempt to reasonably grade the AL teams instead of giving all of them the 1 they so deserve.
1. New York Yankees: THE EVIL EMPIRE! That should be enough for you to realize that only intolerable douches
and fans of the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers, and Duke Blue Devils (sorry, repetitive) “root” for these guys. Seriously, they’ve won more Fall Classics in baseball history than any other team. They also possess the deepest wallet, the NY superiority belief, and include Cleveland native LeBron James as a fan. Do NOT bandwagon under any circumstance. Score – 1
2. Boston Red Sox: The Sox are 2.5 games behind the Yankees for the East crown, but with a comfy 6.5 games up in the Wild Card they’re virtually in. This is the same franchise that defeated an eight-decade curse with two World Series titles since 2004. And when the core of that team aged too much, they went out and splashed Yankee-esque money this off-season. While I find them more root-worthy than their arch-rivals, there’s no need to really bandwagon them for their fans have been treated to championships in all four major sports this decade. Score – 2
3. Detroit Tigers: Detroit has slowly put the AL Central away over the second half of the season. Aside from playing in a collapsing shit-hole of a city, what’s not to like? They have a chain-smoking manager who puffs during games, an ace pitcher who could seemingly throw a no-hitter each time out, and an alcoholic first baseman. Sounds like a recipe for bandwagon awesomeness to me. The only downside? They’re in the same league as the Yankees and Red Sox so a championship is unlikely to come this season. Regardless, you’ll have a good time. Score – 8
4. Texas Rangers: The defending AL Champs refueled after losing ace Cliff Lee to free agency, and yet they’re right here again. If you like offensive baseball, the Rangers are your team. They’ve crossed home 737 times this season, third best in baseball behind the Yankees and Sox. They also maintain a relatively unknown squad. Some guys (like Michael Young and Josh Hamilton) are known nationally, but many of their better players have yet to receive a lot of national pub (Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz). So if your choice is the Rangers, it would help to do some research and not unveil yourself as a bandwagoner within the first five minutes. Score – 7
5. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Really, these guys should get a one for having the worst name in baseball. Pick a damn city. I could also give them a one for the owner complaining after whiffing on free agent Carl Crawford this season despite the fact that the Angels have plenty of money themselves. You lost out to a better organization, STFU and get over it. However, the Angels assumed an underdog role this season winning ball games with great pitching. Their offensively challenged team has scored 586 runs to date, the worst of any AL challengers. They’re also 2.5 games back of the Rangers so they have some work to do. Score – 4
1. Philadelphia Phillies: Not just no. Not just hell no. Hell fucking no. I hate the fans of this city, no matter the sport. They reached Yankee status with their off-season spending over the past few years which only fuels the fires of hate. Also, their incredibly timely ability to achieve a big hit is mind-boggling infuriating. My nightly prayer ends with, “And may the Phillies burn in hell, Amen.” Score – 1 (though -10 is more appropriate)
2. Atlanta Braves: Full disclosure here, I’m a Braves fan (which would explain the Phillies post above). I’m willing to set that allegiance aside for a moment. The Braves were the Phillies of the 90s (or the Phillies of now are the Braves of the 00s). Whichever you choose, a lot of folks will refuse to bandwagon such a recently successful team. And I’m completely fine with that. Maybe this is the year
Bobby Cox Fredi Gonzalez doesn’t lead them to a playoff FAIL. Score – 4
3. Milwaukee Brewers: Another team which made significant advances in the off-season, the Brewers are now firing on all cylinders (h/t to journalistic cliche). Someone recently told me they have the best fans in America, though I cannot personally vouch for such. Milwaukee has never won the World Series, but this is their best chance. They boast three veteran starting pitchers, a Vegan who hits 450+ feet homers on a regular basis, one of the best pure hitters in baseball, and that crazy-ass Nyjer Morgan. Beer, brats, and Nyjer Morgan. Go Brewers! Score – 9
4. Arizona Diamondbacks: Who doesn’t love a worst to first story? The DBacks were awful last season. And then they traded their best hitter in the off-season, added some better bullpen pitchers, and now they’re steadily pulling away from the defending champion Giants. Most mainstream media writers can’t name three players on their team, but they’re an underdog. And America loves an underdog story, even when it means they’ll be swept out of October. Score – 7
5. St. Louis Cardinals: The Cards are 7.5 games behind Atlanta in the Wild Card, but I’m including them since they start a three game series against the Bravos tonight in St. Louis. In other words, there is a possibility they will be under five games behind by the end of the weekend. Regardless, I’m not seeing too many redeeming qualities. They get in fights with the teams better than them (Reds last season, Brewers this season). They’ve also won a World Series this decade (and played in two of them). Then again, a Pujols-Holliday-Berkman lineup is fun to watch. Score – 4
If you’re wondering about the San Francisco Giants, who are still mathematically alive, all you need to know is that they are the defending champions. Every fanbase deserves a championships, especially as one as loyal and deprived as the Giants, but two in a row is a bit greedy. Score – 1
There you have it, America. Pick your team and scream like you never screamed before. Be a piggish ass in the sports bars, treat your new found team’s rivals like absolute scum, and in general, act a fool. After all, once October ends, you’re no longer a fan of one of these teams.