This year was the most disappointing season in San Diego Padres history. They were projected to win more than 90 games before the season started but ended up falling on their faces in the second half of the season.
Now, Padres fans are looking for a team to root for in the playoffs. Some fans might want to only root for certain former Padres players but if you want to root for a team, you’d ideally want to root for only one franchise or at least one team in each league.
In this guide, I’ll tell you which team you should be rooting for in each series, including in the National League and American League wild card games. Let’s get to it!
American League Wild Card: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
As a Padres fan, there’s no way you should root for the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday. They beat a Tony Gwynn-led Friars team in the 1998 World Series.
The Red Sox are also a great story this season because this was supposed to be a down year for them in Alex Cora’s return to the Red Sox dugout. However, they earned their playoff spot and a big reason why is former Padre Hunter Renfoe.
Renfroe became a fan favorite in a Padres uniform before being dealt to Tampa Bay in the Jake Cronenworth trade. Fans still remember his walk-off grand slam against Kenley Jansen. Tampa designated him for assignment, allowing Boston to pick him up heading into this season. Renfroe hit 31 home runs and drove in nearly 100 runs this year. Garrett Richards is another former Padre on the Red Sox roster.
It would be cool to see Renfroe make a deep playoff run this year. Go with the Red Sox on Tuesday night.
National League Wild Card: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Deciding who to root for here was a little tough because Padres fans shouldn’t be rooting for a division rival but the other team playing Los Angeles are the ones that effectively knocked the Padres out of wild card contention in September.
With that said, we still need to root for St. Louis because it’s impossible to say you’re a real Padres fan if you root for the Dodgers in the playoffs. You have to tip your cap to the Cardinals for winning 17 straight games to put themselves in the postseason. As for San Diego connections, Miles Mikolas is a former Padre and Tommy Edman grew up in San Diego.
Root for St. Louis. It would be nice to see Dodger fans be miserable after they get eliminated after one game despite finishing with a 100+ win season.
American League Division Series: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Wild Card Winner
The Rays are the team to root for here regardless of their opponent. If the Red Sox beat the Yankees, I wouldn’t blame you for sticking with Boston because of Renfroe but there are still plenty of Padres connections in Tampa.
They may be the one seed in the American League but they’re still always going to be looked at as an underdog because they never have huge name players on the roster and just like San Diego, are still without a World Series title. Manuel Margot, Francisco Mejia, Matt Wisler, and Luis Patino are former Padres representing Tampa Bay this postseason. Those are a group of players you want to see do well.
Go with the Rays.
American League Division Series: Houston Astros vs. Chicago White Sox
The second ALDS series features some of the same Astros players who were on the team that cheated in 2017. There’s really no reason to root for the Astros other than if you want to see Dusty Baker win a World Series. But then that also means Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa would get their second ring.
The White Sox have an experienced manager in Tony LaRussa so if they can win the AL pennant, then that will be the latest example of a veteran manager leading their team to where the Padres want to be: the World Series. Craig Kimbrel and Yasmani Grandal are former Padres on Chicago’s current roster. Go with the White Sox in this series.
National League Division Series: San Francisco Giants vs. Wild Card Winner
If the Cardinals beat the Dodgers, you obviously would root for St. Louis in this series. But if the Dodgers win the wild card game, you should root for the Giants. They are the best story of the 2021 season because they were projected to be a third place team but finished with the best record in baseball.
Alex Dickerson is a former Padre and Kris Bryant went to the University of San Diego before getting drafted. It would simply be better if the Dodgers didn’t make a deep run in October.
Go with the Giants if they’re playing the Dodgers. If San Francisco faces off against the Cardinals, go with St. Louis.
National League Division Series: Milwaukee Brewers vs. Atlanta Braves
There aren’t a ton of connections in this series for Padres fans so I went with the team that is most similar to the Padres: the Brewers. Like the Friars, Milwaukee is a small market team that has never won a World Series and are on the come up. Eric Lauer, Jace Peterson, and Luis Urias are former Padres donning the Brewers uniform this October.
The only former Padre on the Braves roster is Max Fried, who never reached the big leagues with San Diego before he was traded in the Justin Upton deal in 2014 (that worked out well).
Go with the Brewers.
I am personally rooting for the Brewers in the National League and Rays in the American League because they’re the teams that resemble the Padres the most. Milwaukee and Tampa Bay both don’t have a World Series yet, like the Padres, and have former Friars on their rosters to root for.
I am curious to hear who you’ll be rooting for this October with the Padres sitting on the couch. At the end of the day, we can all agree that as long as the Dodgers and Giants don’t end up hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy, we’ll be okay.