Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sox eliminated - for whom do we root now?

The Red Sox were officially eliminated on Sunday afternoon.  Certainly not a surprise, but for whom do we root at this point?

The obvious first answer is Anybody But The Yankees.  Either league, any division, doesn't matter.  Just not the Yankees.

Oakland is doing well with a limited budget, just like in Money Ball.  Of course, those Money Ball teams in the early 2000's kept getting knocked out in round one of the playoffs.  The A's last World Series win was in 1989.  The Earthquake Series against the Giants.  They'll be a Wild Card this year.

My American League choice, however, is Baltimore.  I used to live there, my younger daughter was born there, the O's have a very good history, and Camden Yards is a great ballpark.  Their last World Series win was in 1983.  Last playoff appearance was in 1997 when the kid in the right field short porch at Yankee Stadium leaned over the railing of the 8-foot fence and grabbed a catchable fly ball.  The Orioles were cheated out of a World Series appearance.  Had they gone to the Series and won they'd have been the only team to win it all in the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's.  It didn't happen, and they've been horrible since - until this year.

In June my niece Charlotte graduated from Wellesley High School, where I went, both of my daughters went, plus a sister-in-law, a nephew and another niece.  The featured speaker at the commencement was David McCullogh, son of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the same name.  An excellent speech entitled, "You are not special" that went viral this summer.  In the speech he mentions that the majority of marriages fail, and that marriage does worse than the Baltimore Orioles.  Clearly he wrote this speech in March, before the Orioles, under the new leadership of Dan Duquette, made an amazing turnaround.  Dan has got to be loving this.  So Baltimore is my AL choice.

In the NL, I have to go with Washington.  The last time that Washington had a World Series winner was 1924.  That's 88 years ago, longer than the Red Sox 1918-2004 drought and as long as the White Sox 1917-2005 drought.  To be fair to DC, they had a 32-year gap with no MLB team, from 1972-2004.  But if you fill that gap with either the last team that departed DC (the present day Texas Rangers) or the franchise that became the Washington Nationals (the former Montreal Expos) you still have the winless streak intact, as neither of those teams even made the World Series between 1972 and 2004.  And the Nationals haven't yet, but are threatening this year.  Good for them.  At 88 years Washington DC has had the longest wait any of city.  (Cleveland is second on that list at 64 -I'm counting 2012 as the Indians are already eliminated.)

A Beltway Series - maybe they'd call it a BWI Series, or a BW Parkway Series - between Baltimore and Washington would be fun.  I'd be happy with either team winning it all.  Just not the Yankees.

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