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Who do you root for when your team is eliminated?

Sep 27, 2013, 11:31 AM EDT

Dodgers Fans

I’m going to root for my Barves as long as they’re still playing. Nothing will stop that. Not silly unwritten rules enforcement, not dumb “choptober” hashtags on Twitter, nothing. They’re my team and you root for your team until they’re eliminated. That’s how sports works. Even when they annoy you, they’re your guys.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t transfer allegiances if and when they’re eliminated. Or, if your team didn’t make the playoffs, that you can’t pick a playoff rooting interest. I do this every year to some degree. Indeed, being a Braves fan, changing one’s rooting interests in the middle of the playoffs has become something of a necessity over the years.

This is subject to change depending on what annoying playoff habits/chants/rituals any of these guys get into and drive me crazy, but for the moment my secondary rooting interests break down like this:

National League:

1. Dodgers: I love Kershaw and Greinke. I’m a slave to Puig-mania. I’ve come to respect what Don Mattingly has done this year. I also want Boston people who are convinced that Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford are poison to have to explain how they can play on a World Series winning team. Lots of fun to be had here.

2. Pirates: Good story, Andrew McCutchen is a God. Pittsburgh deserves something to cheer for. My only reservation is that this bandwagon is going to be overflowing if the Pirates advance and I don’t want to be in that crowd.

3. Reds: Pattern here: I tend to like teams whose best player has skills I love to see. Joey Votto has the best batting eye in baseball and while a team full of guys like him make for long, boring games, I like to see him ply his trade. Plus: viva Ohio.

4. Cardinals: Eh, just not gonna happen. I don’t hate them. I don’t think there are any bad guys on this club. I just don’t like watching them for some reason. Maybe it’s a Buck/McCarver thing and the way their commentary gets when the Cardinals are involved. Maybe it’s the Best Fans in Baseball thing. But no, I can’t see myself cheering for the Cardinals at least until the World Series (I’m an NL guy) and maybe not even then.

American League:

1. Athletics: This is basically the “Major League” team here. Their owner is trying to move them and they play in a ballpark that is literally full of crap. I also want to see Bartolo Colon raise the AL Championship trophy while sucking on a BBQ rib bone or something. Plus: I’m covering the World Series again this year and I’d like to return to the Bay Area without being near death’s door due to that plague or whatever it was I had last year in San Francisco.

2. Tigers: Nostalgia. It will make my girlfriend happy and if my girlfriend is happy I’m happy. I’m not anything approaching a Tigers fan anymore, but I’ve met a lot in the past few years and I like them. Plus I know the fun places to go in Detroit now. Shut up, there are fun places in Detroit.

3. Indians: More viva Ohio. More comeuppance for the Boston scribes who thought Terry Francona was a problem (or who let the front office tell that story for a while without pushback). Chief Wahoo makes it hard, but I’ll get over it.

4. Rays: There is still some underdog appeal here and I’m a sucker for good starting pitching, but I feel like Joe Maddon’s Phil Jackson impression has worn thin and I really can’t root for a team that features a rapist, an anti-semite and a homophobe.

5. Red Sox: Eh, it’s been a nice turnaround and there are some likable players here, but non-Sox fans rooting for them is almost as bad as non-Yankees fans rooting for New York. They’re the classic overdog. Plus, they tend to play games that last until 1AM and I just can’t do that every October. The one saving grace is that I’ve never been to Fenway and now I possibly could. But I could also just fly there next summer if I want and not have to endure Sox October baseball.

So that’s how it breaks down for me. Lots of appealing options and a potential Red Sox-Cardinals series that may drive me back into being a football fan.

What’s your view on all of this? If your team tanks or has already been eliminated, who ya got?

115 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. dand66 - Sep 27, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    I root for two teams – the Red Sox and whoever is playing the Yankees. With the Yankees already eliminated this year, I’ll switch to football if the Red Sox get eliminated.

  2. jimbroney - Sep 27, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you’ve been called a nerd more than once in your lifetime Craig.

  3. adross47 - Sep 27, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    1) Winner of Pirates v. Reds one game playoff
    2) Dodgers
    3) Any AL team not in Boston
    4) Cable going out during WS
    5) Red Sox
    6) Contracting herpes
    7) Braves
    8) Agonizing death
    9) Cardinals

    • adross47 - Sep 27, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      smiley face is the number eight

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 27, 2013 at 4:59 PM

        No worries. There are a lot of people who couldn’t root for the Hoosiers when Coach Knight was still there. Strangely…I was/am a big fan of both.
        Perhaps it’s the consistent winning?

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 27, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      I gotta’ give it to you 47. Out of all of the posts…yours made me laugh the hardest.
      Well done fine Sir. Well done.

      • adross47 - Sep 27, 2013 at 4:46 PM

        I’ve been to two games in St. Louis. I had a lot of fun and was treated very kindly by Cards fans. I have not been able to disassociate Tony LaRussa from that franchise, and until that day arrives, I will always root for them to lose at everything.

  4. asimonetti88 - Sep 27, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    I could see myself rooting for the Pirates, Reds or Rays. As an Angels fan, I think my biggest rooting interest is against the A’s and Dodgers because I don’t want to have to deal with the ribbing from their fans.

    • km9000 - Sep 27, 2013 at 5:26 PM

      Angels fan also. An A’s/Dodgers series would be kinda cool, esp since I got into baseball during the 88 postseason. But I see your point.

      The only teams I have no qualms about are Cle and Pit. That’d be a great series with the traditional teams/hard-luck fans.

      Every other team has something that makes me not want to see them win. Love the Rays, except for their dubious acquisitions. Indifferent on the Braves until the last month. Cards are fine, but would like to see some new stories.

  5. yankeefanincolo - Sep 27, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    As a Yankee fan it seems very strange to not have my team in the playoffs, but it’s certainly not the first time in my life since I’ve been a fan since the early 60’s. That said, if the Yanks aren’t in the WS, I root for the AL unless the Red Sox are there, then I go for the NL team.

    This year all that is out the window… Mattingly was my favorite player for all his years with the Yanks, and I’m hoping he finally gets a ring, even if it’s with another team. So I guess I’ll bleed Dodger blue for the next few weeks. (Which would shock my late-Aunt who teased me mercilessly back in 1963 when her Dodgers swept my Yanks in the earliest memory I have of baseball.)

    If the Dodgers are eliminated I’d like to see the Pirates do well, but the Cards, Braves and Reds leave me cold.

    In the AL, I’m hoping the Sox are swept out of the first round; I don’t care for the Rays or A’s, and I’m not much on the Indians or Tigers either, so for the first time in my life I’m rooting for an NL team from the start.

  6. stlouis1baseball - Sep 27, 2013 at 4:29 PM


    If I have to root for an AL team…ahhh….phuq it. I can’t. Sorry Inda. I like your boys and especially Madden. I just can’t root for the AL. Only a portion of your players hit. This bothers me to the point of not being able to overcome it.

    Pulling for a Cardinals/Indians World Series. But I have to admit…I would love the Cardinals and Tigers to match up again. This would afford me the opportunity to talk big shit to Philiac.

  7. janessa31888 - Sep 27, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Yeah, yeah, another Chief Wahoo crack. What do you want us to do, hold Mark Shapiro prisoner until he gets rid of it? I don’t wear anything with that logo and I refuse to feel guilty for being an Indians fan.

    • moogro - Sep 27, 2013 at 8:40 PM


  8. jpash42 - Sep 27, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    I remember when Craig “theclown” bashed Philly fans for low attendance in April when it was 38° out, I wonder if that hammer head noticed the pathetic attendance number for the Braves last night for a team fighting for home field advantage on a cool 75° night!! The Braves tomahawking fans may be the worst in all sports!

  9. Jack Marshall - Sep 27, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    I think it’s fair to say that if you can’t root for this edition of the Sox, you won’t root for them ever. It’s an unusually likable bunch with a great team mentality.

    It’s second all-time to the Cardiac Kids, and they had a mean SOB as manager. Depth, hustle, come-backs, walk-offs, Koji and Daviel Nava—what’s not to like?

  10. pens5829 - Sep 27, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    Anyone but the Reds. Dusty’s the dirtiest SOB of a manger out there. Heard a comment on the radio that he avoids confrontation, yet his pitchers seem to enjoy playing bean-ball with Cutch’s left shoulder each and every game. Wonder if Dusty was the playground bully as a child?

  11. chill1184 - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Kinda funny this thread pops up as throughout the day my friends from college who are A’s, Tigers and Pirates fans respectively all text me asking who I’m pulling for.

    The A’s were always my AL team growing up (I’m 28 years old) so I’m backing them but a WS in Detroit would help take away some of the pain that is the economic hell in that city.

    As for the NL, I’m obviously pulling for the Pirates. Love the story of ending the “curse” and McCutchen. Granted I do hope one day that Carlos Beltran finally gets his ring

  12. jdouble777 - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    Dodgers!?!?!?!? They would have effectively purchased the World Series, without cheating

    For me-
    1) Rays…they have done all they can do for so long, they are due and deserve it
    2) Indians…Major League is my favorite baseball movie (yes, seen Field of Dreams etc., love those also)
    -Also cool to see if Terry can pull one off with another franchise who had no chance
    3) A’s….not a big fan of the city of Oakland, but this franchise is just cool
    4) Pirates…humble group of professionals, guys abandoned digging down deep (Liriano/Burnett/Melancon)
    5) Reds…have to love Dusty, Votto deserves SO much more love, really reputable group
    6) Red Sox…shred payroll and pull this off would send a message
    7) Tigers…Verlander and Miggy deserve one more than any duo on any team
    8) Dodgers…for Vin, that is all
    9) Cards…small market doing it the right way, but…
    10) Rangers…ugh, really don’t like them…cocky, crack addicted manager, roid abusing roster
    11) Braves…what has happened to this franchise, just gross what the they have become (unreal talent does not equal good people)

    • jimeejohnson - Sep 28, 2013 at 7:35 PM

      This whole “purchasing” a world series sounds a lot like a Communist conspiracy designed to undermine Capitalism. Just sayin’.

  13. jdouble777 - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    AL East is the most gross when it comes to buying championships and Tampa has beat them down for years with pennies to the dollar. They have lose superstar after superstar due to being unable to afford their long-term cost. Their fans could care less about them and certainly have never provided a SEA Seahawk’s home field advantage. Despite all the cards stacked against them…they keep on coming…have to respect that.

  14. ryanw822 - Sep 27, 2013 at 11:13 PM

    if my team is out, I start to root against teams more than for teams.

    If its A’s vs Tigers for example, I’ll root against the Tigers. I dont care if the A’s win, just no Tigers.

    Braves vs ???. Root against the Braves.

    Dodgers vs??? Root against LA.


  15. jimeejohnson - Sep 28, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    Can’t believe you don’t like those Cardinals.

  16. tackandcover - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    Yankees are done and so am I. Might watch the Pirates but that’s it. NHL starts soon.

  17. sfm073 - Sep 29, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Craig are you a hipster? I swear you dislike anything that becomes popular.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      Wait! I thought “hipsters” like anything trendy.
      If trendy = popular then where does that leave us?
      I am so far out of touch it’s ridiculous.

  18. jdaniel907 - Oct 1, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    For the time being I’m rooting for the failure of the Indians, who stumbled and fell into their wild card spot after cruising through MLB’s cushiest, easiest schedule (and also because I’m a Royals fan… yes, I can admit that). Once they’re eliminated, I will then be rooting for an A’s – Pirates matchup. How sweet would it be to see a WS where both teams have a combined payroll less than the YANKees, or even the Red Sox? Ultimately, I would root for the Pirates. They and the Royals have both been in the same boat for a long, long time, now, and it’s nice to see the “little guys” making it towards the top.

  19. workin4theweekend - Oct 2, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    Reds fan here. Boy was that ever nasty last night. That being said, gotta root for the Pirates. They get knocked out the only thing I’m rooting for is Dusty Baker’s firing.

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