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Adopt-a-Team

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on September 14, 2006

For the fifth consecutive season, the Hometown Nine will not compete in baseball’s postseason.  It’s frustrating, as a fan of the Seattle Mariners, to watch baseball into the month of October, and not hear the voices of Dave Neihaus and Rick Rizzs as they call the action.

But not all is lost.

If ya can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?

When one cannot have what one most desires, one must seek the next best thing.  For me, if I cannot root for the M’s in the playoffs, I do three things, one of which I know many others also do.

I root against the New York Yankees, though I pull for A-ROD to hit 1.000 with a home run in every plate appearance.  Every season the Yankees fail to win the World Series, is a feather in the cap of the rest of the league, particularly the markets not in Los Angeles, Chicago or the Big Apple.

I root against the AL West participants, no matter who it may ultimately be.  If it aint Seattle, it aint for me.  So down with the Texas Rangers, Noonan (!) to the Anaheim Angels and, last but not least, to hell with the Oakland A’s.  To hell I say!

The last thing I do is adopt a team that did make the postseason.  Typically, since I eliminate the rest of the AL West as well as the New York Yankees, I take a look into the National League and hop on the wagon of the team that appears to be the best story or the most fun in which to watch.

If the Florida Marlins somehow make up the current 3 1/2 game deficit in the NL Wildcard race, they’ll be the easy choice this season.  What rookie manager Joe Girardi, his staff and the entire roster is doing  this season is nothing short of remarkable.

The Marlins are counting on 12 players that are either raw rookies, having never seen the light of the bigs before this season, or have official MLB rookie status.  Four of their five starting pitchers are rookies, which sounds like they are rebuilding and years from contention, but on the contrary, the quartet has logged 43 wins and and a combined ERA at 3.69.

Up the middle, second baseman Dan Uggla and shortstop Hanley Ramirez are legit rookie of the year candidates while Miguel Cabrera anchors the lineup.

We’ll see if the fish can make up some ground and sneak into the postseason.  If they do, it’s the story of the year, and with Dontrelle Willis and Cabrera leading the charge, who knows what might happen this Fall.

Maybe, just maybe a team with a combined payroll of less than $15 million can make some noise in the NL playoffs.

But with three teams ahead of them, It’s a bit of an uphill battle for Florida.

In the AL, there is one team that interests me.

The Minnesota Twins are leading the Wildcard race, and have the power bats they lacked in years past, thanks to the breakthrough season of Justin Morneau, and the steady, pure hitting Joe Mauer in the middle of the order.

If Brad Radke and Francisci Liriano were healthy, the Twins would have a shot to win it all.  Without Liriano in the rotation, rookie Matt Garza will be forced into the rotation again, putting a lot of pressure on a kid drafted just two Junes ago.

With Torii Hunter playing for a contract and a bullpen anchored by the game’s most underrated closer, Joe Nathan, the Twins are armed and ready to do some damage.

Oh, and, Johan Santana is the best pitcher in baseball for the third straight season.

Minnesota and Florida…

I’m pulling for them both.

Who are you pulling for?

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13 Responses to “Adopt-a-Team”

  1. Same pair for me. Interesting teams with interesting storylines.

  2. Dave Cairns said

    Jason,

    As long as the Yankees get done, I don’t really care. Although I have always had a sweet spot for the A’s (sorry dude).

    It will be interesting to keep an eye on the AAA junior world championship starting 17 Sept. in Cuba for those purists who really watch the kids of the future. 14 of the 18 kids Australia has sent are on pro contracts – including guys like Alan De San Miguel & Brad Tippett already making big strides in their minor league career.

    Keep an eye out for Jason Smit in this competition, he is only 16 and recently signed for Cleveland. One of the best prospects Australia has seen, apparently.

  3. Goose said

    Yeah, the Marlins are a good story in the NL. But I’m rooting for the Phillies, simply because I want to see Jamie get a ring.

    If the Marlins make it over the Phillies however, I’ll go with them as well.

    In the AL,even though they are trying their best to choke it away, I’m going with the Tigers.

    I think the best scenario though, might be a Yankees-Marlins rematch with the Marlins winning again. Imagine it, the highest and lowest payrolls in baseball squaring off with the lowest winning out. It would be another huge blow to the goddamn Yankees.

    But ultimately, any non Yankee champion is fine with me.

  4. WAB said

    Definitely Minnesota. I am praying that I get to see another Minne-NY series this WS. There’s just so much to love about that matchup…

    I’m also pulling for the Phillies in the NL. I like ’em because they didn’t go and die in the corner when Gillick sold off the big names. I’m with Goose too–if Philly doesn’t make it then give me Florida.

    I guess San Diego is a last resort, despite our heated rivalry with them…

  5. T Shot said

    I am pulling for the Phillies for two reasons. The Mariner connection with Gillick /Moyer and Ryan Howard. He played at Southwest Missouri when we lived in that town and my daughter dated one of his team mates , so I got to see him play early on.
    In the AL I follow the same line of reasoning as DG , I would like to see the Sox just for pure entertainment value from Guillens’ quotes.

  6. Aaron said

    The only teams with a legitimate shot that I’m cheering against are the White Sox and Yankees.

  7. Replacement level poster said

    I’m pulling for the Tigers, I really like what they have done with the team the last couple of years. They were smart enough to take the best player in the draft. And finally Jim Leyland, gotta love a man who can chew out an ump, pause and take off his cap for God Bless America, and then go right back to the ump.

  8. Willmore said

    I doubt i’ll get into postseason baseball much, last year I pretty much cruised through it, watching maybe a few games.

    With the Seahawks, who can thing of baseball ?

    Wake me up when the winter meetings roll around.

  9. slica said

    Marlins…and I have no idea whether the Reds are still in it, but I still want Griffey to get a ring like Gary Payton. I haven’t been paying attention much with you know, a good team like the Seahawks kicking into gear.

    Long as Boston and Chicago Cubs arent in it, I dont mind anyone, though Oakland deserves first round exit purgatory with their classless fans.

    Also, I do have to say this…ive openly bashed Hanley Ramirez for not being a legit future all star, in part because I highly believe his status was pumped by the Red Sox bias. Well, I was wrong, half the nation was right…but at least hes a Marlin and not a Red Sock.

    If San Diego makes it in, they are without a doubt the team im rooting for.

  10. Just goes to show that you shouldn’t throw stones when you have never even seen the target.

  11. Bud Foxx said

    Tigers and Phillies. ‘Nuff said.

  12. Deanna said

    Phillies, for obvious reasons, and of course, the Nippon Ham Fighters, who ARE making the postseason and will hopefully make the Series as well.

  13. With Boston out, I’m rooting AGAINST the Yankees. To hell with George Steinbrenner.

    As for the teams I’m rooting for…Minnesota, San Diego, and possibly Oakland.

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