Another season has come to pass and you, Padres fan, know that we were probably not going to make the playoffs since...first pitch this season. That’s ok! You know the process is at work. You know all about the talent and the lava. There had been flashes of brilliance, of the promise made for future seasons made apparent this year. We’re on the way to having our Padres in this discussion.
For this season, however...we’ll be on the outside looking in at the usual (and not so usual) suspects in this year’s playoff picture. I know, I know, you’re a Padres fan first and foremost. But which team would be kosher to follow in their postseason? Let’s take a look at the teams in the hunt this year. I’ve (arbitrarily) ranked them from least offensive to most offensive to cheer for, and my reasoning behind each rank. You’ll have your own opinion, and that’s fine. Far be it for me to tell you how to fan, but you do know there is one specific choice that is least palatable.
Alright, let’s get into it.
Granted, this squad may be a one-and-done in the Wild Card against a talented New York squad. However, this is probably the one true underdog team of the whole group (I’m not really counting the Brewers). With a cast of players you couldn’t really call household names (outside of Khris Davis and Pitching Ninja favorite Blake Treinen) the A’s are a relatively safe pick as a California team that isn’t in the NL West or the Angels. They also boast the lowest payroll entering the playoffs...something our Padres may be trying to copy once the window opens.
Besides, you really want them to beat New York at least, right? Right.
I’d honestly consider Cleveland and Oakland to be interchangeable in this instance. The Indians are a fun group with some excellent ballplayers and personalities (Francisco Lindor, Jose Martinez, Edwin Encarnación). I’d be remiss to not mention the two former Padres in Brad Hand and Adam Cimber getting their first taste of postseason baseball.
Though Cleveland itself has become less “woe is me” since Lebron finally delivered a ‘ship to the city, the Indians themselves have not raised a trophy since 1948. Say what you will about the name; at the very least Chief Wahoo is being phased out, which is...progress. They probably have one of the toughest hills to climb to get back into the Series since...
They’ll have to play against defending champion Houston. Not much has changed for the ‘stros since their championship run last year except that their starting rotation is better with the addition of Gerrit Cole to a rotation that already features Justin Verlander, Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie f’in Morton. This team is still a fun bunch to watch and the series against Cleveland will most likely be a must-watch.
The only knock I have on an otherwise sterling franchise and example of what the Padres are trying to do is their trade and employment of a player accused of domestic abuse. Despite the charges being dropped it’s hard to shake that kind of label off. Your feelings may vary.
Powered by their youth in Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies and a few veterans like Freddie Freeman and Ender Inciarte, the Braves represent a rebuild turning in the right direction much like where we hope our Padres will be in the near future. Considering their first round draw I wouldn’t blame you at all for putting some rooting stock in Atlanta.
You might be against going for an NL squad, but if there were two I would be ok with it’d be the Braves and...
...Milwaukee. The Brew Crew boast a talented outfield in Christian Yelich (who was this|close to earning Triple Crown honors) and Lorenzo Cain (the Royal we should have signed, maybe). Old friend Jhoulys Chacin leads the starting rotation.
The stench of Josh Hader’s past still floats around this pick, no matter how talented he is. Again, you may feel differently.
The Red Sox are talented this year. Extremely talented. They’ve got Chris Sale, Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, old friend Craig Kimbrel, J.D. Martinez...they won 108 games.
They’re also the Boston Red Sox.
Alright, these aren’t your father’s Yankees. They’re not even your brother’s Yankees. These Yankees are all about the long ball as evidenced by a lineup that boasts A-A-Ron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.
Still, these are still the New York Yankees. You know, the ones that have won the World Series 27 times? What, a Yanks fan hasn’t reminded you? Do you really want them to win another?
Javy Baez is fun to watch.
The rest of the Cubs, though...are starting to get annoying ever since they broke the curse (and be honest, I bet you’re looking forward to being just as annoying once we get ours, right?).
Ever since the Addison Russell news broke a player (Anthony Rizzo) and the manager (Joe Maddon) have already made tone-deaf comments regarding an issue in America that really needs to be addressed properly. Daniel Murphy has also said some pretty questionable things in the past. Do you need the reminder of Rizzo’s slide into Austin Hedges? Far be it for me to be the morality police, but...that’s a bunch of not good stuff.
Outside of the NL West bias, do you really want Bud Black to find playoff success with another team? There are already other former Padres staffers (A.J. Hinch, Jed Hoyer, Theo Epstein) whose respective squads are in the playoffs. Besides that, the Rocks couldn’t get the job done yesterday against a certain team and are now in a do-or-die against the aforementioned Cubs.
Can’t see it being worthwhile, sorry.
There isn’t any argument that I’d find worthwhile that would even give me an inkling towards wanting any kind of win for LA. I can’t be talked into the high road “well, they’re a talented squad” or “if they win one, they’ll relax and we’ll have our shot” or “don’t be such a loyalist, it’s just baseball” arguments. Can’t do it. Don’t want any piece of the sheer annoyance LA and their fans will become should they lift the trophy.
I can only hope for the Braves to knock them off, or be forced into waiting for one of Oakland/Houston/Cleveland to deliver sadness to LA yet again in the Series.
So who are you watching and hoping to find success in this year’s playoff picture? Are your rankings different than mine? Let’s talk postseason baseball.
And no, I’m not changing my mind on the Dodgers.