For the most part, the playoff situation appears settled. The Mets and Yankees have already clinched. The A's can get in today by beating the Angels in a game that will be on Fox in most markets, including Colorado. The Cardinals look safe. The Twins and Tigers can still switch places between division winner and wild card, but either way they're in. That leaves two spots for three teams, the Dodgers, Padres, and Phillies.
So which team do we as Rockies fans pull for in the playoffs? I believe it's okay to go ahead and pick a club now. The Padres and Dodgers are disqualified from consideration because they're our bitter division rivals and we hate them. The Phillies have special problems of their own. But back up a second -- do we really hate San Diego and Los Angeles? No, we don't. We don't have particularly strong feelings either way about either team. With their complete lack of history Colorado has been unable to build up much enmity for any of the NL West teams. If there's anybody we find mildly distasteful, it's Arizona. They are newer than we are and yet they've won a championship. Plus their ugly uniforms totally stole the thunder of our ugly uniforms. Our purple pinstripes were pretty ugly, but then they came along with those sleeveless things and completely blew us out of the water. As it happens the Diamondbacks are changing to a red and tan look for 2007, but if the NHL Phoenix Coyotes' look is any guide, those uniforms will be hideously ugly as well. It's something to look forward to for the offseason, at the very least.
OK, so we don't really hate the Dodgers (except for Jeff Kent) or the Padres. The point is we should. Let's start pretending we do and hope they both make the playoffs so they can both lose in the first round. This would also eliminate the Phillies, who I have just had it with. Every year it's something else with that team. They've got the talent, but not the heart. They've got the heart, but not the bullpen. They've got the manager, but what they really need is this other manager. Just go away already. After Bobby Abreu was traded, the Phillies by all rights should have skulked off into the darkness and left us alone for several years. Instead, they've forced their way to the brink of playoff contention. This is so annoying. The only thing Philadelphia has been consistent at the last five years is making baseball writers look stupid. They dealt Abreu, inspired a thousand "raise the white flag" columns, and now they've back up in it. Enough!
So, officially, we don't care who among the three teams still fighting makes it into the playoffs. What about those teams that are already guaranteed a postseason spot? First of all, the Yankees are not an option. There will not be a discussion about this. That leaves the Tigers, Twins, A's, Cardinals, and Mets. There's a few interesting choices in that group. The A's have our old friends Jay Witasick and Joe Kennedy and a payroll that somewhat resembles our own. The Twins are also a midbudget team, they feature the best pitcher on the planet, and they're vaguely in our geographic vicinity. The Cardinals are also our quasi-neighbors and the Rockies tend to play them well every year. That's always a good straw-grasping reason to pick a postseason team. The Mets on the other hand beat us like a drum this season. They're a big money team, but they appear downright scrappy when contrasted with the ludicrously big money team with whom they share a city. New York has an intriguing blend of established playoff heroes (Pedro, Beltran) and some embraceable debutantes (Wright, Reyes). Then there's Detroit. I have bagged on the Tigers all year long. Wouldn't it be kind of noble to turn around and cheer them on now that they have proved themselves? Also, among the playoff teams Detroit is the one that most closely resembles a supercharged version of the Rockies. They have a dominant young pitching staff and a fitful offense that doesn't walk nearly as much as it should. Of course, in this comparison Josh Fogg is Kenny Rogers, and I'm not comfortable with that at all.
Feel free to share your thoughts on this important issue. For my part I picked Oakland and the Mets to meet in the World Series this March and I am going to root for them so I can brag about it incessantly if they make my prediction come true. As far as reversing course and giving the Tigers some love, that is never going to happen. I hope they crash and burn, the phonies.