The American League Division Series games get underway today, and for one of the few times in recent memory both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will only be watching on TV. (As a Mets fan, I’ve sadly become used to having to find another team to root for in October.)
Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore Orioles
I don’t have a strong rooting interest for or against the Tigers or the Orioles… I don’t even think I’ve seen the Orioles play a game this year. But while it seems funny to consider a team with 96 wins an underdog, the Orioles definitely have that feel. The Tigers have a rotation with three Cy Young Award winners and a lineup that includes baseball’s last Triple Crown winner. The Orioles have a team that’s largely unknown outside of Baltimore. Given a choice, I’d rather root for the underdog. Tipping the scale further in the Orioles’ favor is the ex-Met factor – Darren O’Day is a key part of Baltimore’s bullpen.
Kansas City Royals vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
How can you not root for the Royals after Tuesday night’s Wildcard Game? Except for some diehard Kansas City fans, we all wrote them off after Brandon Moss‘ second home run. The Royals didn’t give up – they battled back — twice — and knocked Oakland out of the postseason before “#Oaktober” ever had a chance to get started.
Besides, the Angels are annoying. They play their home games in another city more than 25 miles away, but still insist on being called the “Los Angeles Angels.” And then they can’t even come to a lease agreement with the City of Anaheim, so they’re looking for a new ballpark in yet a different city.
The Angels do have a pair of ex-Mets on their roster — reliever Joe Smith and outfielder Collin Cowgill — but that’s not enough to sway me. Besides, Kansas City’s got an ex-Met of their own starting tonight’s game: pitcher Jason Vargas.
Assuming that your team didn’t make it, who are you rooting for in the ALDS?