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A handy rooting-interest flowchart

Oct 1, 2013, 8:40 AM EDT

Josh Donaldson AP

Last week I mused on who, if my Braves are eliminated, I’d root for in the playoffs. That was kinda wordy and subjective, though. Today Emma Span of Sports on Earth has a much more user-friendly option: a flowchart to help you determine your playoff rooting interest.

Not gonna lie: most of its choice criteria is how I think about these teams. Whether a team is from the rust belt is not too important for me, but it may be for you! And of course there’s a nice branch-off involving unwritten rule enforcement, both moderate (St. Louis) and militant (Atlanta).

Using her chart, I pretty much settle on the A’s and Dodgers. Which, if it has to be a non-Braves series, OK, I can deal with that. If for no other reason than I like to see World Series games at least begin in daylight. And I like to hear people in California complain about getting home from work in time to see the games start.

  1. jarathen - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    It’s a great chart. I like that the Pirates are just there right up front.

    Come on, if your team is out, root Pirates.

    • chill1184 - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:43 AM

      Pirates for the NL, A’s for the AL

      • historiophiliac - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:10 AM


    • jm91rs - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:54 AM

      Unless the Pirates are eliminated tonight…

    • tfbuckfutter - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:16 AM

      I’d be more inclined to root for the feel-good Pirates if they didn’t share an overlapping fanbase with Steeler fans….who are insufferable assholes.

      I was already tricked into rooting for the sad sack Detroit Lions before they immediately turned into a group of festering turdnuggets.

      • jarathen - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:38 AM

        Hey, at least the Steelers are 0-4, right?

        Tampa Bay’s NFL team is a garbage fire, but at least the Rays can do something meaningful in the fall.

      • psuorioles - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:14 AM

        Just give it time and you’ll be saying the same about Pirate fans…

      • yahmule - Oct 1, 2013 at 12:12 PM

        The Pirates make the playoffs for the first time in countless generations and the locals can’t enjoy it because their beloved Stillers suck so bad.

  2. gothapotamus90210 - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    How about whoever you put money on?

    • km9000 - Oct 1, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      You’re thinking of football.

  3. aceshigh11 - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    Well, I’m a Red Sox fan, so I couldn’t go through that chart honestly, but if I had to root for a team other than them, it would definitely be Cleveland just for Francona.

    Actually a Cleveland / Pittsburgh World Series would be awesome. Talk about Rust Belt Awesome.

    • KR - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:59 AM

      Same here.

      Also, a Cleveland/Pittsburgh WS would piss off Fox Sports, which is another plus.

    • historiophiliac - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:11 AM


      • wlschneider09 - Oct 1, 2013 at 1:07 PM

        Historio, you’ve got a horse in the race. So this post, nor the comments will be of little use to you while having the possibility to annoy. So sit back, enjoy your bread pudding and cheer for the boys proudly. The rest of us need to figure this out.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 1, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        But, but…you can root for the D. Sympathy and all that.

  4. stoutfiles - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Wait, what? When did the Cardinals get associated with “politeness and doing things the right way”? I may be biased as a Reds fan but the Cards are not squeaky clean.

    Also, being a Reds fan, we are not a bunting team. Infact, we are probably the worst bunting team in baseball. Arroyo is honestly our best bunter.

    • anthonyverna - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:07 AM

      It’s all about Dusty Baker and “clogging up bases.” It’s reflexive.

    • wonkypenguin - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:16 AM

      I don’t think it’s about a squeaky clean thing as much as the idea projected by “the best fans in baseball” that they are the ones “doing it the right way.”

      Also: It takes at least a decade for the sanctimonious sweat produced by Tony La Russa to wash out of St. Louis.

      Also: I may hate the Cardinals. :-) Go Pirates!

      • hustleandflomax - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:41 AM

        Come on, don’t hold that ‘best fans in baseball’ bullshit against us fans. MOST of us had nothing to do with that label! The media, announcers and former players blowing smoke up everybody’s asses are the ones that keep perpetuating that crap. This is not Tony La Russa’s Cardinals anymore. Let go of the TLR-era bitterness. :)

        Oh, and I am pulling for the Pirates all the way if they make it past Cincinnati and St. Louis is eliminated.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 1, 2013 at 4:12 PM

      Choice stuff. “I may be biased as a Reds fan but the Cards are not squeaky clean.”
      I very much AM a biased Cardinals fan and I can tell you the Mouth at 2nd Base and little Joanie on the mound make it impossible for me to root for you guys.
      Even with Ludwick, Votto, Choo, Frazier and Cosart being players I like.

      You made me laugh Stout. I mean that.

      Nevertheless…good luck to you and the Wonkeypenguin tonight! I expect a good game!

  5. prosourcetalk - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Having grown up in Maine and currently living in Pittsburgh, I gotta root for a Sox-Pirates WS

    • historiophiliac - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:12 AM


  6. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    I’m rooting for the Athletics because of this:

    Why isn’t this as big of a story as when people bitched about the Orioles refusing to move for the Ravens?

    • indaburg - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:12 AM

      East coast bias.

    • chill1184 - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:20 AM

      I believe the issue was more because the Ravens were the SB champion

    • paperlions - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:24 AM

      I saw more bitching from “baseball people” about the NFL asking than I saw bitching from “football people”….it isn’t a story because “football people” just accept that this happened and don’t feel the need to complain about it.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:30 AM


      • paperlions - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:37 AM

        Yes, really….notice there is no link to any football person bitching about it…it is just Craig bringing it up all by his lonesome to complain about the audacity of the NFL to have asked. Week 1 in the NFL season, no one cared….and for every “the Orioles should change their game time” article/opinion there were 10 “how dare they even ask the Orioles to change their schedule” responses.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:35 AM


      • paperlions - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:39 AM

        And what? You are citing bitching about bitching as if that somehow proves a point. Again, there has been no story about an NFL prime time game being moved to 11:45 eastern because of a baseball playoff game because no one is bitching about it.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:39 AM

        One more for you

      • paperlions - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:41 AM

        That isn’t “one more” that is a reprint based on those already linking to in one of Craig’s whine-fests.

      • paperlions - Oct 1, 2013 at 10:07 AM

        Here is a question for you:

        Do you think Craig follows NFLPRguy, Darren Rovell, et al. on twitter or do you think he became aware of those tweets because he follows baseball people that were re-tweeting those things (likely while complaining about audacity or some such)?

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:06 AM

        Does it really matter? The NFL threw a temper tantrum because the MLB wouldn’t contort it’s self to fit the NFL’s whim, and people, including Craig, called them out for it. You seem to think that Craig was looking for a fight, and maybe he was, (and maybe he wasn’t), but it still doesn’t change the fact that the NFL was acting like a child who was told he couldn’t have ice cream before dinner.

  7. lazlosother - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    I’ll be rooting for Pittsburgh and the Indians due to the former Yanks they have. And no, I don’t hate AJ. Good to see him pitching well.

  8. indaburg - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Emma Span nails it. Just as with the Rays, mandated questionable company and strange outfits are exactly how I express my individuality.

    • cur68 - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:47 AM


      • stex52 - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:04 AM

        You kiddin’, Cur? You know the crowd she hangs out with. How they stay off government watch lists baffles me.

      • cur68 - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:17 AM

        You mean…we’re NOT on that watch list? I thought for SURE we were. After all, they keep track of IP Addresses.

      • indaburg - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:09 AM

        It’s a compliment!

      • cur68 - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:20 AM

        So which is it? Am I “questionable company” or do I wear “strange outfits”?

      • indaburg - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:47 PM

        The answer is both, golfer.

    • historiophiliac - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:27 AM


      I prefer “eccentric.”

  9. paperlions - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    According to the chart, I have to root for the Pirates, if they are eliminated, I apparently have to root for the Red Rays or Ray Sox….because I express my individuality with strange outfits, questionable company, and facial hair.

    • historiophiliac - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:15 AM


      • paperlions - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:39 AM

        Are you going to tell me to get off of your cloud?

      • historiophiliac - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:43 AM

        No, I’m going to tell you to give me some olives.

      • paperlions - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:57 AM

        I didn’t say I could/would root for the Rays/RS….that is just what the chart says….there is no way I could root for the RS (I would prefer the WS be cancelled again to a RS victory), and I find it hard to root for the Rays and their combo of homophobe/antisemite/rapist on the roster

  10. bleedgreen - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    I’d like to see the A’s win just to justify Billy Beane completely.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 1, 2013 at 10:29 AM

      This is my reasoning as well A’s > Pirates > Indians, and it’s really close. And if none of them can make it, I want the Dodgers to win in a game 7 walk-off HR by Puig while he salsa’s around the basepaths…

      • historiophiliac - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:15 AM


      • dcarroll73 - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:24 PM

        As a Giants fan, I am OK with this as long as the final scene is an opposing player (with a proper sense of irony) yelling, “The hell with, ‘Wait til next year!'”, and beaning Puig as he nears the plate.
        I have a hard time cheering for the Pirates (still hold a grudge for that damn Maz HR – hey, I have lots of reasons: those of us with some Welsh ancestry are rather fond of grudges, I am also a Yankees fan, and Maz cost me the loss of my first sports bet in the amount of a dime which bought a comic in those days.)
        I like both Francona and the Rust Belt so the Indians may get my support.

  11. sdelmonte - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    I am okay with rooting for the Pirates. But the Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1947. If you want to talk about a historical underdog, it’s the Indians. Also, their presence in the playoffs seems like it was even more unlikely than that of the Pirates. Pittsburgh was building towards a return to quality the past two or three years. Cleveland looked like its success was over, even with hiring Francona.

    So root for the Pirates if you want. Make mine Cleveland.

    Though a Pirates-Indians series would be fun. Unless you are a Fox executive and know that the ratings for it would be tiny.

    • historiophiliac - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:16 AM


  12. daveitsgood - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    I’m glad somebody finally acknowledges the scourge that is Bunting and how it must be dealt with in the way that only witches, vampires, mummies and Iceman can be killed, with fire. Braves – A’s worldseries? Choptober + Oaktober = Choketober? Make this happen!

  13. Anoesis - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Apparently Emma Span (whoever she is) has decided that having a somewhat over-enthusiastic rookie from Cuba while splashing in a 2nd-class club’s pool in celebration makes my team the poster club for disrespecting the game. Go Dodgers of Anarchy! Team Baseball-the-way-it-should-be-played vs. Team Hope-you-chlorinate-your-river. Rah!

  14. rbj1 - Oct 1, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    I’d love to see Mattingly finally getting a ring, but that means rooting for the Dodgers. I’ll settle on the Tigers.

  15. pinerider22 - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Anybody but Atlanta and Cleveland…….because then I would have to watch the games with the mute turned on……listening to the annoying tomahawk chant of the Braves and the equally annoying drum beat of the Indians is too much.

  16. jpm557 - Oct 1, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    I’d love to see the high horse Braves get knocked out by the Dodgers, but I’m pulling for Strange Outfits and Questionable Company

    • historiophiliac - Oct 1, 2013 at 1:18 PM


  17. herkulease - Oct 1, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    I’d like to the the A’s make it to the world series.

    1. my team.

    2. I’m hoping that the media start a sh*t storm over the sh*t that is the Colosseum. I want to see Selig and his whole committee embarrassed at how inept they are on the national stage.

    Imagined the game be delayed because once again there is a plumbing issue at the ball park.

    • dcarroll73 - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:32 PM

      That media spotlight would be fun. The idea reminds me of a Yanks series when they had the Goodyear blimp spending more time showing fires in the South Bronx than showing the Stadium. Too bad that NSA and DoD didn’t hook them up with some imaging systems so that they could have shown all the muggings, murders, and other fun on those streets.

      • dcarroll73 - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:37 PM

        I think Fox has the sewage issue covered. Everytime we note that McCarver is full of it, he proves that he has even larger capacity. If there is an issue in Oakland, “call Roto-McCarver, that’s the name; away go troubles, down the drain.”

  18. km9000 - Oct 1, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    I wonder if she had a separate chart in the event of a Rangers win, and where they would’ve fit in.

  19. kinggator - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Rays, my team. Then A’s & Pirates – Sorry Reds, still hate the “Big Red Machine” from my youth. Red Sox – same division as Rays, so no. Tigers, Indians, Dodgers, Cardinals – YAWN!

  20. stlouis1baseball - Oct 1, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    This one is for Philiac…


    • historiophiliac - Oct 1, 2013 at 4:37 PM

      A buncha lousy AL fans on here, boy.

  21. Walk - Oct 1, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    I looked at that chart from the perspective that I had no rooting interest in any team and followed it down. I am a braves fan. Somehow I must have made a wrong turn in albuquerque because I ended up in st Louis.

  22. lefty - Oct 3, 2013 at 2:15 PM


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