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Sports Authority

Thomas: Do you even bandwagon? A guide on who to root for this October

| Monday, October 7, 2019

I’m in a weird position this fall. Well, before I continue, I should warn you all I am one of the “greedy New England swine” as described by Connor Mulvena in his recent piece depicting the horrors of being a New York sports fan. My beloved Boston Red Sox saw an impressive three-year run end this year with a truly mediocre season.

As such, I find myself joining two-thirds of the country in picking a baseball bandwagon to hop on for the rest of October. I may lack experience in the art of bandwagoning, but I’m ready to give it my best shot this fall, and for those of you in my position, feel free to use this article to pick your new squad for October. I offer a quick sentiment as to why you should or should not root for each team. I do apologize for the lateness of the piece, but I needed some time to complete my bandwagon research.

Houston Astros

  • Why should you pick them? If you want to pick your squad based on success probability, go with the team with two Cy Young front-runners and a potential MVP in Alex Bregman.
  • Why not? Rooting for the best team in the league to win their second title in three years is like rooting for the Patriots if you’re not from New England.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Why should you pick them? With a roster full of largely homegrown stars, this Dodgers team has earned its rise to the top, so you might as well root for them to take the final step and win the World Series.
  • Why not? Granted, without Manny Machado and Yasiel Puig, there are fewer villains to hate in the Dodgers lineup, but having made it to the Fall Classic in consecutive seasons, the Dodgers don’t have that appealing underdog vibe.

Washington Nationals

  • Why should you pick them? They proved to the world that Bryce Harper is overrated by letting him walk and winning 11 more games without him.
  • Why not? If you want to pull your hair out as the Nationals’ frustrating bullpen lets close games turn into blowouts or struggle to convert save opportunities, than jump on this bandwagon; otherwise, head to a team that will give you fewer heart problems in October.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Why should you pick them? With Kevin Cash’s ingenuity and the spectacular work of the front office has turned this team into a contender with a scary pitching staff — headlined by Charlie Morton, who set the MLB record by winning his third winner-take-all game Wednesday night — the Rays have revolutionized the game of baseball.
  • Why not? If you’re a traditionalist, don’t root for the sabermetric-savvy Rays, who have completely changed the game with their use of openers and extreme shifts.

New York Yankees

  • Why should you pick them? N/A (This is objectively true and not due to any author biases.)
  • Why not? This is what they do when they win. Remember that classy Yankees fan who admitted that 27 rings doesn’t mean much when you have one title this century? Yeah, me neither.

Minnesota Twins

  • Why should you root for them? They’re America’s first chance to eliminate the Yankees, and they have the longest World Series drought out of the remaining American League teams.
  • Why not? If you’re an old-school baseball fan like myself, you may not want to root for the Twins, who have taken advantage of the juiced ball to the tune of a league-leading 307 home runs this season.

Atlanta Braves

  • Why should you root for them?  Ronald Acuna Jr., Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies headline a young and exciting team that plays a fast and fun brand of baseball that will be thrilling to watch in October.
  • Why not? With the Nationals seeking their first-ever title, the Cardinals riding their second half surge back to the playoffs, and the Dodgers seeking to end their World Series futility, the Braves’ ho-hum 97-win season seems to lack the compelling story that other National League squads boast.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Why should you root for them? If you were tired of Cubs fans “flying the W,” you can thank the Cardinals, who are a rare modern-day team that didn’t need to tank to rebuild a contending roster.
  • Why not? I love rooting for teams to break long curses (something about my team’s history I guess), and with a 2011 World Series title, the Cardinals have the shortest World Series drought out of the remaining teams, except for the Astros.

That’s all I have. I hope this has been helpful in selecting your bandwagon team for the year. But don’t blame me if you pick the wrong squad; I’m just a greedy New England swine trying to figure out this whole “bandwagon” thing.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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