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A Giants fan’s guide to the 2020 postseason

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Who should you root for? Let me tell you.

Minnesota Twins Spring Training Workout Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

If you’re missing baseball, fear not. There are only 184 days until the San Francisco Giants open the season against the Seattle Mariners. You only have to wait that long.

Or, if you’re impatient, there are also four MLB postseason games on Tuesday, and another eight on Wednesday.

It’s a tradition on McCovey Chronicles to rank the postseason teams in order of lovability, so fans know who to root for. Sometimes we rank 10 teams, sometimes we wait until after the Wild Card Games to rank eight, and sometimes when the Giants are in the postseason, we wait until they’re eliminated and just rank a few.

But now, in this backwards season, we have 16 to rank. So I’m going to speed through them.

So here you go. Here’s all 16 teams, based on who you should root for. Starting with who you should emphatically not root for.

16. Los Angeles Dodgers

43-17, #1 seed in the NL

Yeah I’m not going to waste anyone’s time explaining this one.

15. Chicago Cubs

34-26, #2 seed in the NL

With Joe Maddon gone, and the “curse” finally being something that isn’t talked about every 20 seconds, I’m not sure there’s anything too offensive about the Cubs anymore.

But if you can name a single thing about the Cubs that is likable and worth rooting for, then you’re a better person than I am.

14. St. Louis Cardinals

30-28, #6 seed in the NL

I’m pretty sure that about 90% of Giants fans hate the Cardinals. Some have good reasons, like past playoff matchups. Others, like me, don’t. For me, looking at the Cardinals is the visual equivalent of having a rash. It’s just so ... ugh. Why?

I hate their jerseys. I hate that Yadier Molina has a few Gold Glove trophies that should be in Buster Posey’s storage unit. I hate that they’re managed by Mike Matheny, and yes, I realize that they’re not actually managed by Mike Matheny, and haven’t been in a few years but I hate it anyway. I hate that even in a year where they weren’t very good, and only made the postseason because of demon rules, they carry themselves like the Homecoming King walking through a class of freshman.

I don’t like them.

13. Cleveland

35-25, #4 seed in the AL

Don’t like their name, don’t like their mascot, don’t like the fact that they continue to make money-saving moves despite having a championship-caliber roster. They’ve got some likable players though. Francisco Lindor would look good in a Giants jersey.

12. Milwaukee Brewers

29-31, #8 seed in the NL

For this week, the Brewers are the top team to root for, because they’re up against the Dodgers. We’re used to LA losing in the World Series, but if they lost in the opening round to a team with a losing record that’s only in the postseason because of a last-minute potentially temporary rule change? That would be amazing.

But as far as teams to win it all? Nah. What do the Brewers offer, other than a reminder that the Giants finished with the same record as them, and a differential that was 19 runs better, with a much more difficult schedule, and didn’t even get a chance to play a tiebreaker?

11. Houston Astros

29-31, #6 seed in the AL

No one likes the Astros. Astros fans don’t even like the Astros. And were it not for their manager, they’d probably nestle snuggly in at the number 15 slot in these rankings.

But Dusty Baker winning a World Series ring would make you smile, no matter how many trash cans are involved.

10. Cincinnati Reds

31-29, #7 seed in the NL

I challenge you to name one thing about the 2020 Reds. Just one thing. It could be a good thing or a bad thing. It could be a player. It could be the name of the team. You can’t do it.

9. New York Yankees

33-27, #5 seed in the AL

I don’t find anything about the Yankees particularly likable or unlikable, but they sure are fun to watch. They hit so, so many dingers. That’s got to count for something in a year like this.

8. San Diego Padres

37-23, #4 seed in the NL

I would guess that there’s a wide range of spots that Giants fans put the Padres in. It’s justifiable to dislike them. After all, they’re a division rival, and they’re supposed to quietly play the role of lovable failure, which they’re failing at. They also eliminated the Giants from postseason contention, which was rather rude of them.

On the other side of things, they’re a wildly fun team to watch, and Fernando Tatis Jr. is one of the easiest players in the league to root for. And even if it hurts as a Giants fan to have the little brother Padres win it all ... imagine how Dodgers fans would feel! It’s beautiful.

7. Chicago White Sox

35-25, #7 seed in the AL

It’s kind of easy to forget that the White Sox exist. They’re just kind of there. There’s nothing offensive about them, but they are fun to watch.

This is also just their tenth appearance in the postseason. They’ve been around since 1901.

6. Atlanta Braves

35-25, #2 seed in the NL

With games being played without fans, we (hopefully) don’t have to be subjected to the offensive chants that ring through the TV at Atlanta games. And instead we can just enjoy Pablo Sandoval, who is expected to make the postseason roster, along with former Giants Will Smith, Adam Duvall, and Mark Melancon.

5. Miami Marlins

31-29, #6 seed in the NL

There’s a pretty clear point for and against the Marlins. In their favor is the fact that they went 57-105 a year ago, made no improvements, made no attempts to compete anytime soon, and then fell into the postseason.

Against their favor is the horrific cavalier manner in which the handled the coronavirus pandemic, which not only put many people at risk but nearly shut down the entire season.

Ultimately, I have them so high because I’m worried that MLB will keep the expanded postseason format beyond this year. And I can’t think of anything that would do a better job at making Rob Manfred realize that’s a horrible idea than a 31-29 team, with a -41 run differential, that wasn’t trying to make the postseason anytime in the next three years, winning it all.

4. Oakland Athletics

36-24, #2 seed in the AL

The A’s are the team with the widest spectrum on a list like this for Giants fans. There are three distinct ways to look at the A’s:

  1. You hate them because they’re a regional “rival.”
  2. You don’t think about them at all.
  3. You like them because if the Giants can’t win, maybe the other Northern California team can.

I fall somewhere between the second and third category.

3. Tampa Bay Rays

40-20, #1 seed in the AL

The Rays have, by many accounts, the best and most innovative front office in all of baseball. That’s exciting and worth encouraging, even if it excuses their cheap owners far more than it should.

They’re a fun team that is leading the charge as baseball evolves. And they have a former staple of the McCovey Chronicles community working in said front office.

2. Toronto Blue Jays

32-28, #8 seed in the AL

The Blue Jays are all kinds of fun. They have the most enjoyable young core in baseball, with Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernandez, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. They have Joe Panik, bless his wonderful soul. They haven’t been able to play a game at home all year, yet made the postseason.

They’re awesome.

1. Minnesota Twins

36-24, #3 seed in the AL

They have Sergio Romo. Do I need to say more?

If you need me to say more, they also have Ehire Adrianza.

And they have Kenta Maeda, who could finally get a ring in his first year off of the Dodgers.

They’re fun, they’re exciting, and there’s absolutely nothing offensive about them, which is hard to find in baseball.

Go Twins.