Here's a sad note: In the early years of this site, I would look forward to this annual post. It's not like the Giants were supposed to be anywhere close to the playoffs, so this was a sad way to enjoy this silly tournament.
We're here again. There are 10 teams in the playoffs. None of them are the Giants. That means it's our duty to rank the teams in order of how palatable it would be for them to win the World Series.
I should point out that people who root for the National League at all costs -- Cardinals over Indians? -- are weird. Completely weird. I don't like the DH, either. But you're still weird. You're like those UCLA fans who root for USC in the Rose Bowl because of Pac-12 pride. Weird.
Not an option to have them anywhere else. Not an option. You can't pull the "if the Red Sox" card or "National League is" on this. No, no, no, no, no. Just imagine what Yasiel Puig would do during the post-Series celebration. He would take the Chevrolet they give to the MVP and drive it around the roof of the stadium. Doin' donuts and shooting a pistol in the air.
No, no, no, no, no. We've done temporary name changes in the past:
Welcome to Aaron Archives, Mathews Musings, or the Glavine Gazette for the next week. All those people talking about rock bottom in July had no idea what horrors might await.
Let me check if … yep, Matt Holiday is still on the team. And … right, right, Jose Oquendo is still a coach. Really, the Cardinals are going to be around for the next decade, and eventually they'll win it all. So root against them when you have the chance.
8. Red Sox
A Red Sox/Cardinals World Series is almost my worst fear because a) we've seen it before, and recently, and b) I dislike both teams equally. Not enough to froth at the mouth. Not enough to sneer at people who wear the caps of either team. Just a low-grade annoyance, for the most part.
The Red Sox have won two Series recently, so they fail the at-least-I'd-be-happy-for-their-fans test. And there's also this:
Imagine a Shane Victorino/Mat Latos matchup in the World Series. Who do you root for? These guys. You root for those guys.
Strong field of annoying teams if the Braves are just #7. I remember the fair-weather Braves fans at Candlestick when I was growing up. Funny how they weren't there in the '80s, but in the '90s they would take over the ballpark. Scarring. And there's 1993 to think about, too.
That's before you get into the whole Paul Blart, Unwritten Rules Cop persona of the current team. And I don't like that Andrelton Simmons is going to keep Brandon Crawford from ever winning a Gold Glove. And I don't like that Craig Kimbrel is so good. And I don't like the stink of Chipper Jones wafting about the entire organization.
And that chant. Oh, god, that chant.
Without Victorino, the Red Sox move up a spot. The Braves are pretty gross. The most important part of them not winning, too, is that it tickles me that the 2010-2012 Giants combined for more championships than the Braves from 1991 through 2005. Just tickles me.
This is purely a function of Mat Latos and the relative likeability of the teams ahead of them. I still like Dusty Baker, even though I still wake up in the middle of the night screaming, "BUNT, BUNT, GET DOWN, BUNT, BUNT, TAKE MARK GARDNER OUT, LEAVE RUSS ORTIZ IN, IT'S A BUNT, BUNT, BUNT, BUNT, BUNT."
So I like a lot of things about the Reds, and they've had an underrated run of pain, too. They've won just one playoff series since 1990. I wouldn't be crushed to see them with a little success.
Mat Latos, though.
I … I just don't like the Rays that much.
I used to. They're smart. They do more with less. They're fantastically inventive with how they build a roster.
But it's hard to cobble a list together of individual Rays that I like. Evan Longoria and David Price, sure. Ben Zobrist hasn't done anything to actively offend me, I guess. Sam Fuld's neat. But when I look at the Rays, I see Josh Lueke, Delmon Young, Luke Scott, and Fernando Rodney. Wil Myers already annoys me like I thought Bryce Harper would. Is that Ryan Roberts? Goodness.
That's not enough to make me dislike the entire organization or how it was constructed, so I could root for the Rays in the World Series without holding my nose. If they won, it would actually be a fantastic story of brains over resources. And they were also kind enough to see something in Tim Beckham in 2008. So I could be okay with the Rays. Just not ahead of the other teams.
They really did us a solid back there, guys. And they're also one of the reasons the Padres don't have a title. The city of Detroit could use a little pick-me-up, and it's not like the Tigers have one in a while. Sure, they've spent their way to the top, for the most part, but that can't be the only consideration. I didn't dislike the Tigers last year, and I'm kinda pulling for them now.
Technically, they're my second team. But I don't want to hear it. So I'll root for them with my hands over my face, peeking out between my fingers.
Imagine Bud Selig presenting the trophy at O.co, though. Someone on my Facebook feed mentioned this, and I can't get it out of my head. The boos, oh, man, the boos. It would be glorious.
It takes one hell of a drought to put a team in front of the A's, but the Indians are one of two teams that qualify. The last time the Indians won the World Series was before Willie Mays made The Catch. That's a long time. Children born after the last Indians Championship are collecting Social Security now.
Kinda have to pull for Scott Kazmir, too. He's the Ryan Vogelsong of the American League.
This is also not an option. Of course you're rooting for the Pirates. National League, long drought, long history of unwittingly helping the Giants.
It's been a long time since 1972, everyone. The Pirates would be #1 on this list in a field of 29.
Raise the Jolly Roger.
But for the next week, I think I'm a bigger Braves fan than anything else. Everything else is secondary. Go Uptons, go.