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The 2010 MLB Playoffs Rootability Index: Helping You Decide Who To Root For In October

Is your team out of it? Are you desperately trying to figure out who you should bandwagon for the rest of the month? We've got you covered, with a special MLB Playoffs guide to which teams are the most and least rootable.

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At long last, the MLB playoffs have arrived, and for many, that's cause enough for celebration on its own. Indeed, if you're a fan of one of the lucky eight, you're probably trembling with excitement as you read this, and wondering why I chose to disrespect your team by neglecting to mention it in the introductory paragraph. Settle down, kittens. Your team comes soon.

But while fans of teams who made the playoffs are already losing their minds and thinking up excuses for why they have to be absent from the office, fans of team who missed out might feel lost. It happens every October, and for fans of the Pirates, it happens every September, August, July, June, and May, too. You want to watch baseball, because the season's not over. But your team is long gone, which poses a problem. Watching baseball without a rooting interest is like looking at a frame without a picture. You can do it, and you might even learn a thing or two, but you're not going to have a good time.*

*-unless you really like frames

 Fortunately, for those of you who're unsure as to how to proceed, I'm here to help. What follows is a rootability guide to the 2010 MLB playoffs, in which all participating teams are assigned a number grade corresponding to ease of support and bandwagoning. The higher the number, the easier it is to root for that team. The lower the number, the more it'd be like rooting for the Red Sox.  

How are the grades derived? By balancing the various reasons to root for each team against the various reasons not to root for each team, and then by introducing the X-Factor: players who played for each team the last time they made the playoffs. It's all very thorough and absolutely nothing is left out, and the end results are incontrovertible.

Who should you - the fan of a crappy, go-nowhere team - root for in this year's MLB playoffs? It's all laid out for you, right here. This is the definitive guide.

Atlanta Braves

Why You Should Root For Them

Bobby Cox started managing in 1978 and has been in charge with the Braves every year since 1990. He's been one of precious few constants over the past 20 years, and given that I barely remember anything from the 80s and have grown accustomed to seeing Bobby Cox every summer, I see rooting against the Braves as kind of like rooting against your grampa. And if you're older than me and you do remember a lot from the 80s, and the 70s, then rooting against the Braves is kind of like rooting against your step-grampa. Additionally, Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito are among this generation's most underrated shutdown relievers, and neither has ever advanced to the World Series.

Why You Should Not Root For Them

Walk around any college campus around 11 o'clock on a Sunday morning and you'll overhear at least a dozen people tell their friends that they're never going to drink ever again. I know Atlanta hasn't actually been to the playoffs since 2005, but I think a lot of us are still kind of hung over. We were forced to drink way too much Braves. Beyond that, you've got your standard reasons - unremarkable crowd support, announced by Chip Caray, fan chant that's so preposterously inappropriate that we've moved past wanting to abolish it in favor of protecting it so that future generations can see how awful we all were.

Members Of The Last Playoff Team

Julio Franco
Brian Jordan
John Smoltz

Playoff team from 2005, or playoff team from 1993?

Rootability Points: 7.0

San Francisco Giants

Why You Should Root For Them

It didn't occur to me until the Giants/Padres series this past weekend that orange is a really great color when you've got near-complete fan participation. There are shirts, and jerseys, and signs, and best of all, there are waving orange towels that dominate the scene like few other waving towels ever could. White? White is unremarkable. Orange is striking. San Francisco has both a tremendous atmosphere and a distinctive one, and that scores them major points. Another reason to root for the Giants is that Brian Wilson plays for them, and you don't want Brian Wilson to know that you weren't rooting for Brian Wilson.

Why You Should Not Root For Them

For one thing, the Giants played a critical role in eliminating the Padres from playoff contention, and the Padres were one of the most amazing baseball stories I've ever seen. Secondly, though - and far more important - is that Tim Lincecum is just about the ugliest son of a bitch in the western United States. Look at this. It's revolting. Remember the young Tim? This Tim? He was never a head-turner before, but he's a head-turner now, and for the wrong reasons. If we want the future of the race to be fit and attractive, then we oughtn't throw our support behind the unappealing celebrities of today. Bonus: Matt Cain is ugly too. What are they feeding these guys? Dioxin?

Members Of The Last Playoff Team

Andres Galarraga
Marquis Grissom
Jason Schmidt

What? No, that's it. There was nobody else.

Rootability Points: 9.0

Philadelphia Phillies

Why You Should Root For Them

They have Roy Halladay now, and Roy Halladay has never been to the playoffs, let alone the World Series. Roy Halladay deserves to play in the World Series. Roy Halladay deserves to have the World Series trophy named in his honor. Also, Phillies bench player Mike Sweeney was chosen in a survey of his peers as the nicest player in baseball. Sweeney debuted in 1995 and, like Halladay, has never played in the playoffs. Someone who loves to hug this much should get a chance to deliver the hug of a lifetime.

Why You Should Not Root For Them

Sweeney was selected by his peers as the nicest player in baseball, but baseball players tend to get a lot of things wrong. Baseball players think Derek Jeter's a really good defensive shortstop. Baseball players believe in superstition, and bunting, and the dynamic qualities of the hit-and-run. Therefore, maybe what we should take out of this isn't that Mike Sweeney is the nicest player in baseball. Maybe what we should take out of this is that Mike Sweeney is the meanest player in baseball. Who wants to root for that guy? That guy is mean.

Members Of The Last Playoff Team

Chase Utley
Ryan Howard
Cole Hamels


:sarcastic finger wiggling:

Rootability Points: 6.0

Texas Rangers

Why You Should Root For Them

The Texas Rangers became the Texas Rangers in 1972. Over their 39-year history, they have won one playoff game. Ever. Winning one playoff game in 39 years sounds even more embarrassing than winning zero playoff games over 39 years. "When did you win in the playoffs?" "In 1996, once." Winning once implies that you were something, and then you were nothing. Never winning at least suggests that maybe you've just spent the last four decades loading up the farm system to make a real, committed run at this thing. The Rangers' playoff history is pathetic, and, come on, they're 39 years old. Give them a break already. Special addition: Cliff Lee deserves a World Series ring about as much as anybody in the game.  

Why You Should Not Root For Them

Team president Nolan Ryan shot this commercial for Lowe's Home Improvement, which is one of the worst commercials of all time. Rather than spending October watching his team in the playoffs, Nolan Ryan should have to spend October watching himself make thinly-veiled allusions to baseball while he talks about his lawn.

Members Of The Last Playoff Team

Juan Gonzalez
Todd Zeile
Rick Helling

The 1999 Texas Rangers were so 90s that twelve of their players dated Amy Jo Johnson.

Rootability Points: 8.0

Tampa Bay Rays

Why You Should Root For Them

Baseball's proof that the salary structure isn't broken, so long as you only ever make perfect decisions all of the time, the Rays are the antidote to the Red Sox and Yankees. They spend a lot less, but compete just as hard, as they've won 277 games over the last three years. The oldest player of real significance is the 32 year old Carlos Pena, and it's fun to watch a young, enthusiastic dugout, because they celebrate like kids, and there's nothing in the world like the laughter of children. Note that Matt Garza looks like a camel, giving him a chance to be baseball's first-ever championship-winning even-toed ungulate.

Why You Should Not Root For Them

The Rays have only been good for three years and already their fans are acting like they cheer for the Braves. I'm sorry, are you that bored of winning? Do you take it that much for granted? The Rays got good too quickly and everyone sounds a little too smug, so they probably deserve to be knocked down a peg. They're also too quirky. Oh, great, team haircuts and dress-up games. You're 56 years old, Joe Maddon. Act your age.

Members Of The Last Playoff Team

Carl Crawford
BJ Upton
Matt Garza

A lot of people don't realize it, but the Rays haven't made a roster transaction since 2006.

Rootability Points: 8.5

Cincinnati Reds

Why You Should Root For Them

The Padres kind of shot themselves while the Giants shot them too, so the Reds are left as the remaining top underdog, and America loves an underdog. Sure, the Reds were pegged as a preseason sleeper, but no one expected them to claim the NL Central in such a convincing fashion. They put together one hell of an impressive year. And here's the best part: with an NLDS matchup against Cole Hamels and the Roys Halladay and Oswalt, people already figure the Reds will be dead in three games. The playoffs haven't even started and already Cincinnati is being written off as a non-contender. If they can win, it'll literally surprise every single person in the world, including the Reds' players themselves, and by cheering them on you can put yourself in position to say "I told you so."  

Why You Should Not Root For Them

Three very simple reasons. (1) The best player on the Reds is Canadian, and we don't need our friends to start feeling empowered. (2) Jonny Gomes is insane, literally insane, and these people need to be institutionalized, not encouraged. (3) Giving a World Series ring to Aroldis Chapman will cause fathers across the nation to teach their sons to throw 105 miles per hour, all but guaranteeing a wave of young surgeries and ugly elbow scars that serve as a chick-deterrent in college.

Members Of The Last Playoff Team

Barry Larkin
Reggie Sanders
Pete Schourek

Reggie Sanders changed teams so often back in the day that he played the 1995 NLCS against himself. The 1995 Reds might've beat the 1999 Rangers in being the most 90s baseball team ever, because the 1995 Reds seriously had a pitcher named Michael Jackson.

Rootability Points: 10

Minnesota Twins

Why You Should Root For Them

I don't know what Jim Thome is like, but I know how Jim Thome is portrayed on the internet, and the internet's Jim Thome is more likable than your childhood stuffed teddy bear. In addition, Target Field has a very loud, invested atmosphere, Twins playoff success gives us a shot at open-air playoff baseball in Minnesota in November, and it would be amazing if Carl Pavano pitched well against the Yankees again in a "ha-ha even rich people can get sick" kind of way.

Why You Should Not Root For Them

For one thing, it doesn't matter if you root for them or not, because all their fans will like you just the same. For another, the Twins will be going into the playoffs without Justin Morneau, and we shouldn't encourage teams to succeed without their superstars, because if a team is able to win a championship without a superstar, it will cause all the other teams to re-evaluate what they're doing and there'll be a dramatic, league-wide shift in organizational behavior, with free agents like Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee going unsigned and stars like Mark Teixeira and Albert Pujols getting clubbed in the knee in future Septembers.  

Members Of The Last Playoff Team

Brendan Harris
Nick Blackburn
Delmon Young

The difference between last year's Twins and this year's Twins is that last year's bad players are either no longer significant, or they became good players.

Rootability Points: 97

New York Yankees

Why You Should Root For Them

Baseball's great narrative requires that the Yankees be the unbeatable evil empire. We all love baseball. We've all loved baseball over the past 15 years, over which span of time the Yankees have been the most successful organization in the league. We'll all tell our friends "oh man anyone but the Yankees!" but is that what we really want? What happens if the Yankees fail? What happens if the Yankees' failure in the playoffs leads to further, greater failure in the years to come? Yankee success is a critical buttress, and should they turn bad, everything falls apart. We should want the Yankees to win. We should need the Yankees to win. We should want the Yankees to win every year that our team isn't in the playoffs, so that they may achieve their maximum level of evilness, and so that our team can play hero by dethroning them down the road.

Why You Should Not Root For Them

There's a funny thing about the 2010 Yankees: Derek Jeter blows now. It doesn't matter that Derek Jeter might be a wonderful, classy, charitable saint of a man. There would be few things more profoundly, deeply satisfying than watching Derek Jeter go 0-12 while he, his teammates, and his insufferable fanboys get swept out of the playoffs by those nice young boys from Minnesota.

Members Of The Last Playoff Team

Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter

Well no wonder they did so well for so long.

Rootability Points: :(