The MLB Postseason is here! The Sports Equinox is upon us! We get to see the bundled up fans playing in outdoor ballparks huddled together in team-issued beanies drinking hot cocoa in extra inning October baseball! We get to see fans living and breathing with every (now pitch-clocked monitored) moment of anticipation on the mound! We get to see champagne flow in celebration as Rob Manfred’s highly-touted “piece of metal” is awarded!

It’s the most wonderful time of the baseball calendar, and in a sport as romantic as baseball, one that’s endured a 162 game novel of a season, it’s time to be introspective and evaluate the stories of each team and how they’ve gotten here. There are hero and villain narratives to every character in this story, so here’s a reason why we’re either rooting for or against each team. You decide which one outweighs the other.

Tampa Bay Rays

Why We’re Rooting For You: It’s been a long time coming for this model organization

The Rays have been one of the model franchises in sports that are consistently successful no matter the makeup of the team or the payroll surrounding them. They seemingly win every trade, they have a scouting department that identifies some of the best prospects before anyone else does, and they flip talent any time it gets too expensive.

However, dating back to 2020 when they lost the World Series to the Dodgers (with a mismanaging of pulling Blake Snell after 6 innings possibly being the reason they blew it), they’ve never gotten the big one. They’ve had the iconic Longoria home run and consistent postseason games at the Trop, but they’ve been a team built for a 162 game season due to their depth and intelligence that hasn’t gotten over the hump. It would be a blast and fitting to see a team as fun as Randy Arozarena, Tyler Glasnow (and the Cillian Murphy memes), and Yandy Diaz finally get the crown and the star power that the organization has deserved for this era.

Why We’re Rooting Against You: The small market “It’s bad for baseball” narrative (and Wander Franco)

Every billionaire owner wants to replicate the “Rays model”: spend nothing, scout talent, and still find a way to win. It’s better for baseball and the players when the larger markets that are motivated to pay their players are winning. Also, he may be away from the team and not relevant to their postseason success, but Wander Franco’s association is just a gross story that would potentially be brought up during the broadcasts. MLB wants NOTHING to do with that.

Baltimore Orioles

Why We’re Rooting For You: They’re the best story in recent baseball memory

This is a team that has had 100 loss seasons and over a decade of misery in a division of titans in the AL East. They were willingly doing everything in their power to get top draft pick 20 year old’s and bank on the future, and the future is now. Adley Rutschman, the franchise catcher that arrived last year, is the classic, old school leader at just 25 years old. Ever since his romantic moment of getting called up last year, taking in the scene of Camden at the show, they’ve not been swept ONCE! They behave like a ton of college kids on a little league team just having a great time, from the Bird Bath in the outfield, to their celebrations, to their play on the field- the Orioles don’t even particularly scare

Photo: Scott Taetsch / Getty Images

you at one particular statistic- they just have a plethora of solid starting pitching, defense from Cedric Mullins in the outfield making magnificent catches, the likely AL Rookie of the Year in Gunnar Henderson energizing the ball club, and the most powerful element of a winning team: belief in destiny.

They are the youngest, cheapest and one of the most-fun teams in baseball that looks like they have a blast playing with each other every day. This turnaround is exactly why baseball romanticism exists.

Why We’re Rooting Against You: The “tank job” ripple effect

The Orioles DID accumulate the talent of Adley, Gunnar, Grayson, Heston Kjerstad, Jackson Holliday, and Jordan Westburg by losing hundreds of games in the same fashion that the Astros were absolutely pathetic in order to get the likes of their core that got them a World Series and made them an AL powerhouse. Sports are copycat leagues. You don’t want this to start a trend of teams either being all-in or entirely motivated to put out YMCA-level rosters where they want to lose over a hundred games a year (although Oakland looks to have already copied that trend…).

Houston Astros

Why We’re Rooting For You: Repeats are one of the most impressive feats in sports

If they accomplish a repeat, all of the overplaying of the trash can jokes can respectfully go away if they haven’t already. Repeating as champions in any sport, with all of the luck and roster turnover and health that goes into a monster of a season, would be something to remember.

Why We’re Rooting Against You: You are the evil empire with a target on your back

Duh. They’re the slasher in the horror movie that just won’t die.

Toronto Blue Jays

Why We’re Rooting For You: The exciting young core on the big stage

There’s been a massive build up for this Blue Jays core to finally get the opportunity to show out on the big stage, and they’ve finally got that opportunity. Since Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette arrived on the scene through their system, they’ve made all the trades and corresponding moves to make the postseason as soon as possible as the Baby
Jays by trading for players like Matt Chapman, Daulton Varsho, Whit Merrifield, and spending each free agency period as a premium destination since their lone appearance in the shortened 2020 year and a quick exit last season. The roster getting some redemption feels a bit like the KD-Westbrook-Harden OKC years in which they were still figuring out how to win. Vladdy has had an off year, and Kevin Gausman should realistically be in Cy Young contention should he have gotten some run support, but the scary thing about this team is that they’ve never been able to put it all together. Maybe we get that this October.

Why We’re Rooting Against You: They’ve talked a lot for a team that hasn’t done anything

“Last season was the trailer. You’re about to see the movie.” is what Vladimir Guerrero Jr. said ahead of the 2022 season before getting swept immediately as a disappointing wild card by the Mariners.

Critics of the Blue Jays will tell you the young and promising team (specifically Alek Manoah barking at the Yankees before he was essentially sent to Area 51) talk about themselves as if they’re among the elite teams in the league because they’re very talented, but haven’t accomplished anything when it matters.

Minnesota Twins

Why We’re Rooting For You: The “Cursed Sports City” Narrative

Minnesota Vikings missed field goals and playoff blunders. The North Stars getting uprooted and moved to Dallas. The Twins have had one win in the postseason since 2004 and have been notoriously murdered by the Yankees several times in the process.

The Minnesota sports curse seems to be real. This team has arrived here (with a large benefit of playing in a horrid AL Central) with an awareness of the curse, but have young and bright prospects like Edouard Julien, Willi Castro, and the grand-slam phenomenon of Royce Lewis leading the charge on offense. By contrast to most Twins teams, they’ve gotten here with a surprise rotation of Sonny Gray and Pablo Lopez leading the charge before handing it off to their closer Duran, who could be the flamethrower who changes the postseason as a hero.

We love a broken curse.

Why We’re Rooting Against You: …Probably Carlos Correa

Yeah, the Twins aren’t exactly a deplorable franchise with a lot of reasons to hate them, but Carlos Correa was willingly the heel and a WWE villain in the Houston Astros cheating scandal that is a character who wants to be hated. Do you want to give that guy the satisfaction of a ring without a cheating scandal to give him an asterisk, America?

Texas Rangers

Why We’re Rooting For You: The encouragement of going out and getting it

The Rangers went out and spent all the money in the world to turn a team that underwent an era of losing since their two World Series appearances in 2010-2011 to a team that instantly has made the postseason. They went out and went for it, and that should be something to root for! This is a salary cap-less league, if there’s a billionaire owner out there that wants to go out and spend a half a billion on an infield of AL MVP candidates Corey Seager and Marcus Semien for the next decade, pay Jacob deGrom even if he won’t pitch again for maybe years (or ever), and build an entire rotation of Jon Gray, Dane Dunning, Nathan Eovaldi, and Andrew Heaney out of nothing, they should be entirely compelled to! It’s an awesome turnaround for a team that went from finishing last in the AL West consistently in the post-Beltre Era to now having a fun roster that scores at an offensive rate that determines outcomes of games.

Why We’re Rooting Against You: The narrative that they always blow it (and Aroldis Chapman)

Say what you will about curses, but the Rangers have become that “dumb sports brain” constant where they have always seemed to blow it in the big spot. They lost back-to-back World Series in their only appearances. They’ve had major meltdowns, including the historic Jose Bautista bat flip that registered on the Richter scale that we still feel today. Some of those 1-seeded teams crumbled in the limelight of the postseason as the major deals for acquisitions amounted to nothing.

Also, we all hate Aroldis Chapman. We don’t care how hard you can throw a fastball.

Atlanta Braves

Why We’re Rooting For You: We love to see history

This Braves regular season has been full of sheer dominance and history in every single way possible. The 40-70 season from Ronald Acuna Jr., your likely NL MVP. The home run leader in Matt Olson golf-clubbing bombs to the moon. A lineup that has hit the most home runs and most 450+ foot home runs in a season in MLB history. Leading the league in hits, RBI, runs, and could have the highest single season slugging % of all-time with a lineup that features every single batter having at least 10 home runs. The same sort of inevitability has been applicable to their rotation; when Max Fried was down, Bryce Elder was the league-leader in ERA. Spencer Strider, coming off his rookie campaign, set the team record for strikeouts in a season. Old Salt Man Charlie Morton is as steady as they come. For a team that’s been hands-down one of the best in the regular season that we’ve seen in quite some time, leading the division from end-to-end as the first time to reach 100 wins this year, you just want something as historic as this to be able to go down in the record books and capped off with a ring.

Why We’re Rooting Against You: The sheer dominance is terrifying (and Marcell Ozuna)

“You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

We will turn on sports teams that get consistently successful over and over again in the blink of an eye. The Braves have their entire core locked up, committed to each other, and playing with a fire for pennies for possibly the next decade. Unless you’re a Braves fan, this should terrify all of us.

Also, we don’t care how awesome your Big Bear home runs and your neon arm sleeve is, Marcell Ozuna. He’s just a downer on such a fun team for his off-the-field behavior.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Why We’re Rooting For You: The “It’s good for baseball” effect

When you think of baseball paraphernalia, in all likelihood you might think of either a Yankees cap or the iconic LA cap. The Dodgers are one of the cornerstone franchises in all of sports, and this team would be no different. Dominating the AL West for nearly two decades now and winning with a seemingly different roster, payroll, and faces of the team in each season, this was supposed to be a DOWN year for the team with an injured Walker Buehler and an aging Clayton Kershaw as they would possibly just focus on loading up for the Ohtani quest next year. They’re the model of success in that players that were less-successful elsewhere, like Jayson Heyward, JD Martinez, or Kike Hernandez, can step into a Dodger blue uniform and immediately be a success story.

On top of that, you have two of the most iconic and important faces of baseball, the beloved Mookie Betts, who transcends and oozes coolness in every way possible, and Freddie Freeman, both having NL MVP years in any non-Acuna season that would so benefit historically from getting another ring together. It’s good for baseball when the Dodgers continue humming along as always.

Why We’re Rooting Against You: As if you didn’t already have enough, LA

One of the richest cities of beautiful people and celebrities, the iconic uniforms that already won a World Series in 2020, weather where it’s 75 degrees every day and they could still be happy even if they didn’t have sports, a winning Lakers team with LeBron, and pretty much a two decades of being the wealthy version of the Rays where they both develop talent and can go buy any star on the market that they want?

Cry me a river, Dodgers.

Milwaukee Brewers

Why We’re Rooting For You: They could be some of the most historic dragon-slayers in baseball history

This Brewers team may have to slay a gauntlet of one, if not multiple NL powerhouses on their way to a pennant in the Braves, Dodgers, or Phillies. And they would absolutely relish doing it in the most-boring way possible: dominating with a rotation of Burnes-Peralta-Woodruff-Houser before handing it off to a lockdown bullpen of Devin Williams and Abner Uribe and maybe getting some offensive production from their rookies that have burst on the scene: Sal Frelick, Brice Turang, or Tyrone Taylor, with possible homers from Willy Adames, William Contreras, or Christian Yelich (remember that MVP before his injuries?).

Craig Counsell is a manager that makes the most out of any roster he’s given with this Brewers team, and he’s a figure that’s deserving of the shine that he’s had with this organization from a legacy standpoint.

Why We’re Rooting Against You: They weren’t very serious about winning

This team kind of folded last year with their spending in giving away Josh Hader and got into a standoff with ace Corbin Burnes by refusing to pay him preseason. They didn’t exactly have high expectations coming into the year, but kind of lucked out by disaster striking the Cardinals and the rest of the division being too young to be as consistent. The ownership isn’t exactly living and dying with a World Series title this year amidst the unfortunate rumors of possible relocation due to their ballpark.

Philadelphia Phillies

Why We’re Rooting For You: The redemption arc (and Bryce Harper)

The reigning NL Champions that captured the magic last year by being the surprise NL Wild Card that went on a run simply by having a bunch of dudes that simply MASH homers and yell about it together in the dugout (seriously, Kyle Schwarber at one point had more home runs than singles) just came up short last year. Getting back with an improved team, one that might actually play defense, one that has an improved rotation, and one that went out and signed Trea Turner, Captain America of Team USA who has been the hottest hitter in baseball just by getting a standing ovation from the Philly fans during his never-ending slump, would surely be something.

Bryce Harper also is the star that epitomizes what baseball heroism is all about; he signed a megadeal that could have been for more money elsewhere because he wanted to be committed to Philly. It feels as if he rallies the team with every guttural yell after a clutch bomb to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth comeback. This is a man who had Tommy John surgery and tried to learn first base just to be able to get back on the field with his boys. This man wants it more, and quite frankly, deserves a ring just as much as anyone ever has for their legacy.

Why We’re Rooting Against You: The Philadelphia fandom

You want to root for the same city that chants “No one likes us we don’t care” during Eagles Super Bowl parades, throws batteries at Santa, and boos their NBA superstars as they take pride in being voted the worst sports fans in America by GQ? Alright.

Miami Marlins

Why We’re Rooting For You: They’re a team of “unlikely’s”

Yes, the Marlins had the reigning NL Cy Young Winner in Sandy Alcantara, but aside from their workhorse, they were likely expected to finish 4th or 5th in a loaded NL East. If you were to have told someone that Sandy would have been having a down year and Jazz Chisholm, MLB The Show cover star, would be injured for a large part of the season, you would have thought it was a disastrous year.

Instead, first year manager Skip Schumaker has had the fightin’ fish staying in the fight, and GM Kim Ng made pivotal deadline moves for names like Jake Burger (yes, Jake Burger, who plays just like his name), and Josh Bell, who suddenly remembered how to slug now that he’s not in Cleveland. The rest of the rotation has been nails with Jesus Luzardo, Braxton Garrett, and the youngest stud in baseball, Eury Perez, have given them the capability to stay in the fight. A lot of luck has been on their side in one-score games, but with their pitching staff and the hit king, Luis Arraez always being on base, they’ve stayed in the fight this long and reached the postseason for it.

Why We’re Rooting Against You: The South Beach Supremacy

This year, South Florida has had the Heat reach the NBA Finals, the Panthers reach the Stanley Cup Final, the Miami Hurricanes and Florida Atlantic Owls reach the Men’s Final Four, and the Miami Dolphins just had an offensive game where they scored 70 points. If the Marlins go deep in the postseason, we may have to bow down to our Floridian overlords and eat Cubano sandwiches and wear neon every day.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Why We’re Rooting For You: They deserve the limelight

The D-Backs tend to get lost in an NL West featuring the big market Dodgers and Giants, the star-studded Padres, and the comedy of the Rockies, but they’ve been must-see television. Zac Gallen is a bona fide ace. If NL Rookie of the Year Candidate Corbin Carroll was simply taller, he’d probably be considered among the most athletic freaks in the sport with his speed, raw hitting, and power. Evan Longoria is the veteran in the clubhouse that they’re trying to get a ring for. Torey Lovullo seems to be one of the most player-friendly and likable managers in the sport. Styles make fights, and they’ve gotten here by putting the ball in play and taking advantage of the rule changes, which has been incredibly exciting to watch. Pay attention to the snakes!

Why We’re Rooting Against You: The Arizona complex

Everyone is going to beautiful Arizona to just play golf and retire in the sun. We can’t have more people infiltrating that territory to support a winning sports team and overpopulating the area, eventually bringing in a city and pushing out the magnificent Grand Canyon. Essentially, if you want Arizona sports to be successful, you hate our National Parks. You decide, America.

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