There will be millions and millions of baseball fans watching the MLB postseason over the next month, cheering for their favorite team to win them the World Series. But it is worth noting that millions and millions of baseball fans will be watching the MLB postseason over the next month
There will be millions and millions of baseball fans watching the MLB postseason over the next month, cheering for their favorite team to win them the World Series. But it is worth noting that millions and millions of baseball fans will be watching the MLB postseason over the next month and not rooting for their favorite team to win the World Series. Because their team didn't make it.
We need to help those fans out. Rather than focus on the negatives -- lamenting that your team is home this October -- let's find something positive. You fans need someone to root for. Let's come up with some Cheering Justifications For The Otherwise Unaffiliated. Here's why you should get behind each team in the Division Series. Let's bandwagon together
- The Braves have the most exciting rookie in the sport. Ronald Acuna Jr. dominated much of the preseason conversation without ever playing a game. Once he arrived in late April, he struggled for a bit, but over the last two months of the season, he was one of the best hitters in the game. Acuna won't turn 21 until a week before Christmas. You'll want to get in on the ground floor here.
2. Atlanta is stealthily one of the most tortured fan bases in baseball. Sure, the Braves have all those division championship flags, but even with Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Chipper and the gang, they still only won one World Series, and it was in 1995, the year after the strike (aka, the year when no one was quite ready to be happy about baseball yet). Atlanta has reached the postseason 14 times now since winning its last title. That's a lot of October pain.
3. Nick Markakis. The native Georgian has quietly put together a sleeper Hall of Fame candidate career without hardly anyone noticing. He has only made the postseason one season of his 13 years, and now here he is with his home-state team, the rare veteran on a team of youngsters. Who doesn't want to cheer for Markakis?
- Nolan Arenado. He is the best player in baseball that almost no one outside of the Mountain Time Zone appreciates. Arenado will have no better opportunity to make himself a legend than this month.
2. Coors Field is always crazy. The Rockies' stadium might not be quite the haven for constant moonshots like it was back in the day, but it's still a place where flat curveballs and straight fastballs go to die. A World Series game that ended 15-14 could be quite the blast, no?
3. The Rockies have never won one. You always want to cheer for a team that is going for its first championship. There are two teams of these eight who meet that designation. This is one of them.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- Revenge. The Dodgers have now gone 30 years since their last World Series title. That game was so long ago Reagan was still president. Last year they came so close, within one win in an epic series. This year was a struggle from start to finish, and the team hasn't been nearly the world beater it was last year, which is why this year might be even more perfect.
2. Those colors in October. Dodger Blue is as eternal a baseball color as there is, and Chavez Revine is so old now -- the third-oldest stadium in the game -- that it feels classic, like 1950s Los Angeles brought back to life. Maybe even Vin Scully will show up.
3. Clayton Kershaw. The whole baseball world has been waiting for Kershaw to have his definitive Hall of Famer World Series moment, and finally get that ring that would secure him as the best pitcher of this generation in everyone's eyes. Is this the year?
- Bob Uecker! If you don't want to spend as much time with Uecker as possible, I'm not sure you and I can be friends anymore.
2. Those fans. The Brewers might have the most underappreciated fan base in the country, reaching 2.2 million in attendance for the 13th straight year in 2018. (They were top 10 for the second straight year as well.) This is a loyal, dedicated group of tailgaters who are always in the shadow of the Cubs. Not anymore.
- The Brewers have never won one. You always want to cheer for a team that is going for its first championship. There are two teams of these eight who meet that designation. This is the other one.
Boston Red Sox
- Moooookie. Mookie Betts actually made his MLB debut the year after the Red Sox won their most recent title. He has since become the best player in baseball not named Michael Trout, and the best one currently in this postseason. Betts is everything baseball should be.
- Fenway Park. October just doesn't feel like October without Fenway. The place gives us a viral moment, all on its own, every year.
3. Historical excellence. You want to see the best and cheer for the best? Here are your 2018 Boston Red Sox. This team won more games than any in Red Sox history, and the most in baseball since 2001. There's no better bandwagon to get on than the one most likely to win.
- Rajai! Rajai Davis may not be on the AL Division Series roster, but he's still responsible for the greatest moment in recent Indians postseason history. He needs another one.
- The Tribe is running out of time. The White Sox are gaining fast, and the Twins are coming. The Indians are still the class of the division, but they're getting older. You don't want this era to end without a title when they've come so close.
3. It's Cleveland! This might be the most tortured fan base left in baseball. No fan base left has been through more. It's Cleveland. It's the Indians' time.
- So, so many fun young players. Carlos Correa would be the overwhelmingly most popular, accomplished young star on roughly half the teams in baseball. On the Astros, maybe he's sixth?
2. Remember last year? Don't forget how much fun that World Series was last year. Who wouldn't want go through that again? Minute Maid Park was a pinball machine on full tilt for weeks on end last October. It would be this year as well.
3. We need another repeat champ. We haven't had a team repeat as World Series champion this century. The Astros were great last year. But if they win this year, they're legendary.
New York Yankees
- They're still pretty likable, for the Yankees. The exuberance of last year -- that weird sensation that, hey, the Yanks are young and fun! -- has worn of a bit, but not entirely. And every kid in the world wants to be Aaron Judge.
2. Someone's going to hit a ball so far you'll need all 400 of the broadcast's cameras to find it. And it'll probably be someone on this team.
3. They're the Yankees! OK, so maybe cheering for the Yanks isn't the most touchy-feely, underdog activity you could partake in. But if you cheer for the Yankees, you know that you will never, ever be doing it alone.
Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.