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Mehring Monday: Rooting Interest for 2013 Playoffs
A brief guide on which team to cheer on this postseason
09/30/2013 12:48 PM ET
Asdrubal Cabrera, a Timber Rattler in 2005, is back in the playoffs with the Cleveland Indians this season.
Asdrubal Cabrera, a Timber Rattler in 2005, is back in the playoffs with the Cleveland Indians this season. 

After tonight's American League Tie-breaker game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers, Major League Baseball's post season will be set. Here is a handy guide to help you pick a team to cheer during the playoffs.

National League:

Cincinnati Reds - NL Wild Card #2
Last Playoff Appearance:
2012
Last World Series Appearance: 1990
Last World Series Championship: 1990
World Series Titles:  5 (1919, 1940, 1975, 1976, 1990)
Former Timber Rattlers: Shin-Soo Choo

The Reds had a great shot in 2012. They won the first two games of their first round series with the San Francisco Giants on the road. They came home to Cincinnati and needed one win in three games to advance to the NLCS. They dropped all three games and were eliminated from the playoffs.

Cincinnati went out and got Choo from Cleveland during the last offseason to put in their leadoff spot and they haven't looked back since. Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips make them a fun team to watch. If they have a late lead, Aroldis Chapman makes it an almost certain Cincinnati victory.

Pittsburgh Pirates - NL Wild Card #1
Last Playoff Appearance: 1992
Last World Series Appearance: 1979
Last World Series Championship: 1979
World Series Titles:  5 (1909, 1925, 1960, 1971, 1979)
Former Timber Rattlers: None

Finally. The Pirates are back in the postseason for the first time since 1992. This is the last baseball playoff memory for fans in Pittsburgh. Clint Hurdle is a manager who brought the Colorado Rockies from way back all the way to the World Series in 2007 and seems to be the exactly right manager to bring the Pirates to this point. I like Andrew McCutcheon and I am a sucker for stories like Jason Grilli's.

Los Angeles Dodgers - NL West Champions
Last Playoff Appearance: 2009
Last World Series Appearance: 1988
Last World Series Championship: 1988
World Series Titles:  6 (1955*, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, 1988)
Former Timber Rattlers: None

Manager Don Mattingly hasn't done a bad job for a guy whom almost everyone in the media said was going to be fired early this season. Then, Yasiel Puig was called up and the Dodgers started winning and never stopped. Vin Scully is still the announcer for the Dodgers, too.

*-Brooklyn

Atlanta Braves - NL East Champions
Last Playoff Appearance:
2012
Last World Series Appearance: 1999
Last World Series Championship: 1900
World Series Titles:  3 (1914*, 1957**, 1995)
Former Timber Rattlers: Anthony Varvaro, Eric O'Flaherty (DL)
Up until last week I was thinking, "Yeah, Braves. Why not?" Then, this happened. I do think that this is the best Atlanta team to make the postseason in a long time. But, when you start acting like the St. Louis Cardinals, I don't think I can recommend anyone to root for you…Unless you play the actual Cardinals. Speaking of which…

*-Boston
**- Milwaukee

St. Louis Cardinals - NL Central Champions:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! No. Just…No.

American League:

Tampa Bay Rays - AL Tiebreaker #2
Last Playoff Appearance:
2011
Last World Series Appearance: 2008
Last World Series Championship: None
World Series Titles:  None
Former Timber Rattlers: Jake Odorizzi

The Rays have been a fun team to watch. Evan Longoria helped me win a few games of fantasy baseball this season. Joe Maddon managed in the Midwest League with the Peoria Chiefs and has been - like Hurdle in Pittsburgh - a perfect fit for his team. Plus, how can you not cheer for a guy that does this or this?

Texas Rangers - AL Tiebreaker #1
Last Playoff Appearance:
2012
Last World Series Appearance: 2011
Last World Series Championship: None
World Series Titles:  None
Former Timber Rattlers: None

The Rangers have been so close. I still haven't forgiven them for not closing out the 2011 World Series. But, they didn't fold down the stretch this year. Well, they did as they dropped out of the AL West lead and behind the Rays and Cleveland. Then, the Rangers won their last seven games in a row to force tonight's tiebreaker. That's crazy. That's Rangers baseball.

Cleveland Indians - AL Wild Card #1
Last Playoff Appearance:
2007
Last World Series Appearance: 1997
Last World Series Championship: 1948
World Series Titles:  2 (1920, 1948)
Former Timber Rattlers: Asdrubal Cabrera

Cleveland - like the other Ohio team in the 2013 playoffs - needed one more win to advance in their last postseason appearance. The Indians beat the New York Yankees in the divisional round of the 2007 season. Then, they went up 3-1 in the ALCS on the Boston Red Sox. Then, Boston outscored Cleveland 30-5 over the last three games of that series to advance to the World Series. That was just the latest heaping of misery on the franchise. You have to feel for them. Cleveland has also been a fun team to watch this season and they have won in a lot of different ways. Terry Francona as the manager with a chance to take on the Red Sox in the next round is also a great storyline.

Detroit Tigers - AL Central Champions
Last Playoff Appearance:
2012
Last World Series Appearance: 2012
Last World Series Championship: 1984
World Series Titles:  4 (1935, 1945, 1968, 1984)
Former Timber Rattlers: Matt Tuiasosopo

They were in last year, but San Francisco was just too much for the Tigers. I'm still a Prince Fielder fan and there are a few Matt Tuiasosopo fans still around the area. Detroit has been solid all season long and there is the possibility of getting back to the World Series again. 

Oakland Athletics - AL West Champions
Last Playoff Appearance:
2012
Last World Series Appearance: 1990
Last World Series Championship: 1989
World Series Titles:  9 (1910*, 1911*, 1913*, 1914*, 1929*, 1930*, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1989)
Former Timber Rattlers: None

This will be the only time I ever use this device as a lead-in to writing about something.

If you put the phrase '2013 oakland athletics scrappy' into your Google search engine, there are 2,660,000 results. Now, I'm of the generation that doesn't necessarily equate Scrappy with good. However, Does Josh Reddick's beard-off with Daniel Bryan have me taking a look at rooting for the A's this post season? Yes! Yes! Yes!

*-Philadelphia

Boston Red Sox - AL East Champions
Last Playoff Appearance: 2009
Last World Series Appearance: 2007
Last World Series Championship: 2007
World Series Titles:  7 (1903, 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918, 2004, 2007)
Former Timber Rattlers: David Ortiz, Matt Thornton

These would not be the long-suffering Red Sox who came so close to the World Series title or the AL pennant or the playoffs before missing out in heartbreaking fashion. These are the Red Sox that won 97 games this year. These are the Red Sox who have won two titles in the last nine years. These are the Red Sox that are the favorites to get back to the World Series. These are the Red Sox that you can jump on the bandwagon and enjoy for the next month.

I'll go with Pittsburgh and Cleveland for right now. These aren't my picks to go to the World Series. These are just the teams I'll be rooting for this playoff season. If they are knocked out in the tie-breakers or before the playoffs end, I reserve my right to reconsider these choices.

If I had to list them in descending order of for whom to root:
1. Pittsburgh
2. Cleveland
3. Oakland
4. Los Angeles
5. Boston
6. Tampa Bay
7. Detroit
8. Cincinnati
9. Texas
10. Atlanta
11. St. Louis

In the end, I can't tell you which team to cheer for - or against as the case may be - in the playoffs. That's up to you. Just have some fun watching the games.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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