So your team didn’t make the playoffs and now you don’t know what to do. Don’t worry, friend, we’ve broken down the remaining playoff teams so you can pick a new club and enjoy the postseason, too!
2. Oakland Athletics
Upside: The Athletics are basically the crazy little brothers of baseball. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and right now they’re finally out of the shadows of their big brother, the San Francisco Giants, who have won two of the past three World Series. They also play in a crummy stadium, don’t have much money, and have had pretty bad luck in the playoffs for the last decade or so, despite being one of the most innovative organizations in baseball. A’s fans could use a break.
Downside: Brad Pitt is not their real general manager.
Bonus: They specialize in choreographed high fives.
4. Atlanta Braves
Upside: The Braves, who rolled through a weak NL East division, have some of the most impressive athletes in the game with Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, and Jordan Schafer. Outfielder/backup catcher/pinch hitter Evan “El Oso Blanco” Gattis has the most unique backstory of any player in the game; the guy basically spent four years on a vision quest before returning to baseball, making the majors, and cracking 21 homers in his rookie year. The Braves also have the best ERA in baseball, if you’re into pitching, and Kate Upton on their side.
Downside: The tomahawk chant/chop can get really old, really fast.
Bonus: Braves organist Matthew Kaminski, @bravesorganist, plays funny custom tunes for whoever is at bat.
6. St. Louis Cardinals
Upside: The Cardinals were able to finish the regular season tied for the best record in baseball despite losing Cy Young pitcher Chris Carpenter, closer Jason Motte and shortstop Rafael Furcal to season-ending injuries before the season started. Good perseverance there, Cardinals. They’ve also won three NL Pennants since 2004 and two World Series titles since 2006, and have made the playoffs in four of the past five seasons, so you could root for them if you’re one of those people who also likes Jeter and Roger Federer because you’re into “excellence.”
Downside: The St. Louis arch is closed because of the government shutdown.
Bonus: The St. Louis Nacho Crunch Dog with pulled pork, nacho cheese, tortilla strips & jalapeños.
8. Los Angeles Dodgers
Upside: The Dodgers went from being one of the worst teams in baseball to the hottest, thanks to the most exciting and talked-about player in the league, Yasiel Puig. They ended up winning the division by a league-best 11 games and have the best pitcher in the majors, Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers are, appropriately, one of the flashiest teams around right now.
Downside: They have the least amount of wins of any playoff team.
Bonus: The return of Brian Wilson.
10. Pittsburgh Pirates
Upside: The Pirates are in the playoffs for the first time in 21 years and everyone in Pittsburgh is super-excited about it. Star centerfielder Andrew “McClutchen” McCutchen is one of the easiest players in baseball to root for.
Downside: Closer Jason Grilli is one of those guys who was a mediocre reliever for like ten different teams and then randomly caught fire late in his career, enraging fans of all of the teams he’d been lousy for previously. Like, why couldn’t he have done that for US?
Bonus: They know how to party.
12. Tampa Bay Rays
Upside: They’re in the playoffs.
Downside: You’d be the only fan rooting for the Rays.
Bonus: So many available seats.
14. Boston Red Sox
Upside: Talent at every position. Great stadium. Got rid of all the malcontents from the past few years’ teams. Would be cool to see David Ortiz make another October run as he reaches the end of his career.
Downside: In the rare Yankees-less postseason, they’re the most Yankees-like team. Lots of $$$, bandwagon fans, etc.
Bonus: David Ortiz can hold your baby.
16. Detroit Tigers
Upside: Detroit is explosive on offense, with best-hitter-in-the-league Miguel Cabrera once again making a strong case for MVP. Their pitchers, most notably 20-game winner Max Scherzer and former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, are heat-throwing strikeout machines. They have good fans who have gone 29 years without a title.
Downside: You never know when Ndamukong Suh is going to come out of nowhere and take out your knees.
Bonus: Prince Fielder running as hard as he can is awesome.