by Lincoln Mitchell
I confess that because neither the Giants nor the Yankees are in baseball’s postseason tournament this season, I will be watching a bit less intensely than usual. I also had to take some time to figure out who to root for. So, below is a guide to who to root for in the postseason if your interests and opinions are unhealthily similar to mine.
1. The Texas Rangers-The Rangers are an excellent team with a lot of pop and enough pitching to play deep into October. However, it is the manager of this team that has me rooting for them. Bruce Bochy led the Giants to three World Series championships earlier this century, and in addition to being the finest postseason manager of his generation, is a funny and charming guy who exudes baseball. It would great to see Bochy become the first man to manage in a World Series 25 years removed from the first time he managed in the fall classic.
2. The Baltimore Orioles-The Orioles captured the top seed in the American League by winning 101 games with a team that is built around young players who came up through the Orioles farm system. They have got this far by doing what every team tries to do. Gunnar Henderson, Kyle Bradish and Adley Rutschman lead an extremely good and likeable bunch. There is not a lot to root against here.
3. The Miami Marlins-Other than Luis Arraez who won his second consecutive batting title, one in each league, the Marlins do not have a particularly well known roster. That is okay because they have a tough road ahead of them beginning today in Philadelphia. However, the Marlins are the first Major League team to have a woman as general manager. Kim Ng has built the Marlins back into a contender, and seeing her lead the team to the championship would be a huge event for a sport that has excluded women for so long.
4. Toronto Blue Jays-The Blue Jays have enough frontline talent in players like Bo Bichette, Kevin Gausman and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. that it is possible they could play deep into October. This year’s team, as has been the case for much of their history, has not elicited any strong positive or negative feelings from me. However, one of the Blue Jays best players this year was Brandon Belt, who slashed .254/.369/.490 in 2023. Belt, a former Giant is one of my all-time favorite players, so I would love to see him win one more ring to go with the two he has from San Francisco.
5. Atlanta Braves-The Braves are the best team in baseball. Their lineup includes Ronald Acuna Jr. who had MLB’s first 40-80 season and Matt Olsen who slugged 54 home runs while driving in 139. Behind them is a lineup that hits from top to bottom and an ace pitcher Spencer Strider who may be a cut behind the game’s best pitcher, but was the game’s only game winner 2023. It can be fun watching a truly superior team run the table and the Braves are the team that might do that.
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