Wild Card Wednesday: Who are You Rooting For?

As a Mets fan, yesterday was … hmm … bittersweet? Sweet in that Jose Reyes won the batting title, and, though not “sweet”, it was somewhat relieving that this morbid season is over and we as fans can think about a fresh start in 2012. Bitter, of course, because there is no more baseball until next spring. Bitter, also, because the team’s final record and fourth-place finish are not exactly anything to cheer about (except for the folks who expected the Mets to finish in last place and 20 games under .500).

As a baseball fan, last night was tremendous, wasn’t it? It might have been one of the most exciting nights in baseball history — I know I was on the edge of my seat.

After the dust settled, the Red Sox and Braves were knocked out, while the Rays and Cardinals jumped in to the postseason. A great story, considering that both Tampa Bay and St. Louis came back from considerable length to put themselves into this position. And of course, the fact the Rays were down 7-0 entering the 8th inning and came all the way back to beat the mighty Yankees was dramatic.

As much as I despise the Adulterated League, I’m pleased to see the Rays in the postseason, but I’m mixed about the way the NL turned out. It was really a no-win situation for a Mets fan; I couldn’t be happy for either the Braves or the Cardinals for obvious reasons. But forced with making a choice last night — between rooting for the Braves or the Cardinals — for me, I was hoping for the Braves to win. Why? I hate the Braves less — probably because I have no love for either Tony LaRussa nor Albert Pujols (though, plenty of respect). And for me the St. Louis hatred goes back to the 1980s.

Also, if the Mets aren’t going into the postseason, then I at least want a team from the NL East winning the World Championship. Maybe that’s strange, but the way I see it, if an NL East team wins the World Series, then at least there’s some validation that the Mets played in the best division in baseball. That may not make any sense to you, but it works in my warped sense of reality. So if both the Braves and Phillies were in the playoffs, I figure there are two shots at an NL East team being crowned World Champs.

In the end, that means, if I’m pulling for a team this fall, it’s the Phillies — as hard as that might be for you to stomach.

What about you? Are you going to be “rooting” for anyone this fall? If so, who, and why? Answer in the comments, and feel free to post your vote in the poll.

Who will you be rooting for this fall?

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Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. NormE September 29, 2011 at 11:17 am
    I agree with your thoughts about last night. If you’re just a Mets fan it wasn’t important, but if you’re a Mets fan and a baseball fan last night was truly a treasure.
    But, you lost me on rooting for the Phillies. If the Braves had made it, maybe I could “root” for them. But my heart, my stomach and my mind (what’s left of it) can’t allow me to root
    for Philadelhpia in any sport. I can admire their talents, just like you appreciate Albert Pujols, but I can’t “root” for them.
  2. Timo September 29, 2011 at 11:36 am
    Joey, to use your own words.. you really have a “warped sense of reality.” I never bought into the whole…I should root for my team’s division in the playoffs. I understand your point but I can NEVER root for the Braves or Phillies. Living in a Philly area (likely not the heart of Philly because I still get SNY to watch my Mets), I don’t want to listen to all the talk about how the Phillies are awesome and Mets stink. The only comeback I have for Philly fans would be “Did you win the WS? No, so you were in the same boat as the Mets. We didn’t win it either. I’m sure they would say other things like they are better than us (which is true). BUT they weren’t the best team in baseball. Which makes me feel better.
    I’m just hoping that we don’t have another Philly/Yankee WS. I would like to watch the World Series this year. I never watch a game when they played each other 2 years ago.
  3. NormE September 29, 2011 at 11:39 am
    If I may be allowed a further thought, I would like to express my appreciation you Joe Janish for providing us Mets fans with this blog. It is informative, fun and nicely provocative.

    The regulars who write in, Timo, Joe , Izzy and the others, give voice to many of the frustrations we share. We may not always agree, but the level of discourse is respectful and not abusive.

    For Mets fans the best season is the off-season. We can dream and plot, and most important, not lose any games.
    Have a healthy and enjoyable off-season!

  4. Mike B September 29, 2011 at 12:13 pm
    There is nothing wrong with enjoying great baseball after your team is done but I find it hard to truly root for another team. I was going nuts last night when Longaria’s ball cleared that 2 foot fence in left, but today i dont really want to root for the Rays. I understand your point with NL east but really the mets were 25 games behind the Phils, so they might be in the Phils division but they are certainly not in thier league so I cant take any joy in them winning. That being said, go Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers. He is great and the mets have very little connection with the rangers compared to any other team.
  5. Joe September 29, 2011 at 12:20 pm
    The Phils are the “enemy” these days to me, the Braves the scrappy ones, while the Cards seem to be the establishment of the NL Central, sort of like the Yanks a few years back — weaker but seems always to come back with the vet manager etc. Rather the Braves there, if not by much. Can’t really root for any of these all the way.

    I’m rooting for the Diamondbacks, underdogs and a group that didn’t win for a decade, and then (Batista!) in slew the dragon (if via two hired guns) fashion. I am also rooting for the Rays — that was something last night — but heck, they did great just getting here and already went to the WS a few years back. Be great if they get to the WS, but if Detroit or Texas does, I won’t mind.

    I really don’t want some Yanks/Phils WS or something or one of those vs. some sacrificial lamb. As for the Brewers, can’t be too excited, though I can see how some might be.

  6. Corey Gorey September 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm
    I’m with Timo. No Phillies or Braves…EVER. I don’t particularly like the Cards, but their fans make me a lot less angry than Braves fans (my northern prejudice against clean-cut tomahawk moron southerners and my brother telling me he had to sit in a special section at the TED to drink booze) or Phillies fans (scum).

    Brewers would be fine–they’ve earned it AND they have to deal with K-Rod. They have Gomez. Remember him?
    D-Backs? Meh–whatever. No feelings whatsoever.

    As for the Rays…the truth is they are my minor league–I mean–AL team of choice. Maybe it was all those Hudson Valley Renegades games I sat through (TB’s single A team). And reason #1 – I hate the Yanks AND the Red Sox; they can both suck it; #2 – Sternberg is supposedly an old Mets fan; #3 I hate the Marlins so much that I’d be happy if they had to share the state with a team who actually won the WS; #4 – Maddon seems like an alright guy.

    I can’t get behind any team from Texas (more NY prejudice–what can I say, I’m a jerk); Detroit? That wouldn’t be too shameful. Then again, it’d probably sit with me like Arizona…I mean, who cares?

    But ANYTHING is preferable to a Philly/NYY WS. Anything.

  7. Timo September 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm
    All I want is to see good games in the post season. Kind of like those games last night to decide the wild card teams, that would be awesome. I’m not looking forward to hearing the Fox anouncers (Buck and Tim McCarver). McCarver brings shame to all people names Tim (I hate that being a Tim). Plus, he brings nothing to the broadcast. They should have GC, Keith, & Ronnie do the game calling. That would really get me excited about the post season. I think TBS has some games and hoping Ronnie does a few like last time.

    Also, Joey J, If you told me you would be rooting for an NL team, that would make more sense. However, the only NL team I would root for is the Brewers. I’m with you about the Cards (can’t stand Tony L), You know how I feel about the Phillies, and the Diamondbacks wouldn’t stand a chance against any of the AL teams. I want the NL to win, so Go Brewers!

  8. Gerard September 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm
    I can’t buy the division thing. Before the realignment in ’95, each team played 18 games vs. division foes, and 12 vs. other. Division competition meant something. The unbalanced schedule and interleague play – don’t like ’em2 yrs. ago iI didn/t root for, but wanted the Phils to win, but that’s only because they were playing the Yankees. The rivalry with the Cards lasted a few yrs., and that was 25 yrs. ago. I can’t hold much against the Phils, because in all the Mets 50 yr. history they only mattered to us twice, and they didn’t beat us so much as we gave it to them. And except for Rollins’ big mouth that wouldn’t have been much of anything either.
    So, there ain’t no real rivalry at all anymore, but in me there is still that Braves antipathy – the only real rivalry since the Cards in mid 80’s and Cubs 40 yrs. ago.
    Always rooted for NL team, but now it’s the team I like best after the final 8 comes down to 2.
    Unless it’s the Yankees, and I usually don’t watch at all.
  9. Midwestern Met September 30, 2011 at 12:28 am
    I’m going to school in Michigan, so I’m pretty much obligated to root for the Tigers in the AL. In the NL, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Brewers do well, get to their first WS since ’82.

    Also, I finished my season in review post a while ago. We may have finished 77-85 this season, but I’m taking so much more away from 2011 than just our record. When you really think about it, it was a fun year.


  10. argonbunnies September 30, 2011 at 8:42 pm
    I became a fan in 1990, so the Braves are my biggest enemies. They won our division every damn year and then stomped us whenever we had a chance.

    The Phils haven’t done that. They played gritty and clutch and got some luck in ’07, and we sucked so hard at the end of ’07 and ’08 that no one else could be the culprit. I do root against them! But I’d rather them win than the Yankees any day.

    As for the Cardinals, when they came into Shea, I was hoping we’d pay them back for the make-up game in ’07 when Pedro pitched well but Pineiro had the game of his life to kill our shot at breaking the losing streak.

    On day 162, though, I was rooting for a Braves-Cards tie-breaker game so Pujols could get to .300-100. Losing an 11-year streak by 1 hit and 1 RBI is just tragic… especially considering he had a would-be SF taken away on the penultimate day with a runner thrown out at home.

    In the AL, I love how the Sox’ success galls Yankees fans, so I never want to see those scales tipped. But hey, if the Rays beat the Yanks in the ALCS, that’d be almost as good.

    I am now rooting for the Brewers. Feel bad for their history of suck, their late season swoons, and their closing window of opportunity. And I love Prince Fielder’s swing. Trim away the bulk, and you know who it reminds me of? Griffey. Just watch the bat! You’ll see it.

  11. BRAVESNATION4EVER October 1, 2011 at 1:33 pm
    We fellow Braves fans normally hear about how the Braves normally lose in October all the time–hey so what those two Sox’s once lost in October for 80-plus years and Boston has won 2 World Series after all that heartbreak in October and those Chicago WhiteSox have already won the World Series once, so speaking of the Braves losing in the postseason year after year or sometimes not even getting in October there will be a time when the Braves reverse their heartbreaking October defeats and start winning the BIG ONES in the postseason every year and this is a message to all of us Braves and especially to all of you totally idiotic losers who have always totally hated the Braves and have critisized the Braves all the time for their October defeats, and I know as a Braves fan this Atlanta team will start winning the BIG ONES in October year after year sometime in the near future.GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  12. Joe October 8, 2011 at 6:36 pm
    It is ironic, and a bit amusing, how the Phils helped the Cards and then the Cards knocked them out. It’s too bad K-Rod (barely) got out of a jam in Game 5 & Arizona (the losing pitcher a former Met too) ultimately lost the game.

    I’m rooting for Detroit now. Don’t mind if the Rangers get in a second time, maybe winning it all. Brewers has earned their berth, if they manage to beat the dangerous Cards (as the Mets realized), but I — like Steve Somers — really have no emotional attachment to them.