Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
For Toronto Blue Jays fans the 2013 season is essentially over. The Blue Jays are too many games back with not nearly enough games to go,so for the 20th straight year post season baseball will be absent north of the 49th parallel. While many Blue Jays fans will simply tune out the rest of the season, instead doing something totally lame like enjoying the little amount of nice weather that we actually get up here in the summer, there are those of us that can’t let go, that just need a baseball fix.
For those baseball diehards, watching the Blue Jays scuffle through August and September might be too much to stomach, but if not the Blue Jays who should these fans turn to? What teams can Jays fans latch on to (just temporarily) so they can once again watch and cheer on a baseball team without feeling a sense of deep loathing?
First and foremost, we need to look at which teams are going to be playing meaningful baseball down the stretch. Sports Club Stats gives 13 teams in the MLB a greater than 21% of making the postseason (After those 13 teams, the next highest playoff percentage is 4.1%, hence why 13 was my cut off). To determine which of these 13 teams Blue Jays fans should cheer for, we’re going to the Official 2013 Tip of the Tower Bandwagon Reverse Countdown (Team playoff % in parentheses)
13) Boston Red Sox (97%)
12) Baltimore Orioles (21.3%)
11) Tampa Bay Rays (91.7%)
These are our bottom 3 teams for quite obvious reasons. All AL East rivals that no self-respecting Blue Jays fan should latch themselves onto. The Red Sox get the distinction of last place because they are the reason Fever Pitch exists. The Rays are the highest ranked because I read Jonah Keri’s book The Extra 2% and really liked it. Baltimore gets stuck in the middle because who really cares amirite?
10) Arizona Diamondbacks (31.1%)
I’ve got nothing against the Arizona Diamondbacks, well aside from my dislike of their Manager Kirk Gibson and his obsession with “hustle”. So why are they ranked so low? Firstly, because I don’t think they’re very good and doubt they’ll make the playoffs. Secondly, they’re a pretty boring team, there’s absolutely nothing about them that I find interesting. Sorry Arizona!
9) Atlanta Braves (100%)
8) Cleveland Indians (57.4%)
The Braves and Indians are both teams that I love. I like the players, I think they’re fun to watch, they’re pretty good! So why are they ranked so low? If you didn’t guess by their grouping, it’s because they both have racist mascots! Why is Cleveland ranked better than Atlanta? Because if you’re going to cheer for one of these teams it might as well be the Indians in an actual race as opposed to watching the Braves waltz to a division crown.
7) Oakland Athletics (91.6%)
Yoenis Cespedes is awesome. As are many of his teammates that Moneyball star Billy Beane has assembled as part of the Oakland A’s. This is an entertaining team to watch. They have a 40-year old former PED user playing out of his mind on the mound (he’s totally clean though). What’s not to like about the A’s? Two things actually! 1) The just concluded series against the Jays reminded me of how awful O.co Coliseum (or whatever it’s called) is an abomination that makes me appreciate the Rogers Centre and 2) they’re on the west coast and I work early in the morning.
6) Texas Rangers (36.3%)
Yu Darvish alone is reason enough to hop onto the Texas Rangers bandwagon. Blue Jays fans can watch and pretend that the Blue Jays actually did sign him and all will be well. The rest of the Rangers rotation is also fairly strong, and they have a fairly deep line up to go with it. Nelson Cruz might be suspended from the Biogenesis jazz, but I’m sure the Rangers will pull through and grab a WC spot anyways. They’ll manage to lose the game in heartbreak though, which would be a nice dose of reality for Blue Jays bandwagoners.
5) L.A. Dodgers (71.5%)
The Dodgers are a team that I feel conflicted about as a fan. On one hand, it’s kind of the everyman dream to see their team spend all of the money. On the other hand it’s pretty much every fans fear for their team to spend all of the money in the way the Dodgers have *cough*Brandon League*cough*. If it weren’t for the ridiculously entertaining play of Hanley Ramirez (his wRC+ this year is 202!!!!) and Yasiel Puig the Dodgers would be way lower. Thanks to the pair just mentioned, they swagged their way into the top 5.
4) St. Louis Cardinals (99.9%)
The St. Louis Cardinals are baseball’s model franchise. They do EVERYTHING well (plus they gave us Colby Rasmus). They’re a fun team to watch, and by hopping on the Cardinals bandwagon, Blue Jays fans will get to see what following a real organization is like! Plus they’ll probably win another World Series thanks to Tony LaRussa’s managing. Yes I know he’s retired, but he’s that good, and managing is that important in baseball.
3) Detroit Tigers (96.9%)
Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Justin Verlander, and Max Scherzer. The only 4 reasons that you need to watch Detroit Tigers games. Hopping on the Tigers bandwagon is worth it if only to get a chance to watch Prince Fielder in batting practice. His display at the Rogers Centre on Canada Day during BP was one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen an athlete do (he hit at least 10, maybe 15 home runs into the 500 level). Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in all of baseball right now and it’s not even close, so if you’re going to pick a team to watch a lot down the stretch, you might as well take in some greatness in the process.
2) Cincinnati Reds (95.7%)
Baseball fans in Canada tend to have uncontrollable Maple-boners. This is evidenced by the constant, and unwarranted speculation linking Canadians such as Justin Morneau or god forbid Jeff Francis to the Blue Jays. With Joey Votto manning first base for the Reds, having a Canadian passport and being the best hitter this side of Miguel Cabrera, it’s a no-brainer for some to bask in the Maple-licousness of the Votto-led Reds.
1) Pittsburgh Pirates (99.5%)
The Pittsburgh Pirates have been bad for an extremely long time. While we Blue Jays fans want nothing more than to return to the playoffs, Pittsburgh has gone over 20 seasons without finishing above .500, something that looks destined to change this season. The Pirates have awesome players like Andrew McCutchen and AJ Burnett, they’re pretty much the Jays “we really suck” blood brothers, and they have really sharp hats. What else do you need from a team? Blue Jays blogger Tao of Stieb has already made the jump, are you going to join him?