Not that I expect this to happen anytime soon, but in the rare chance the Phillies don’t win the next handful of consecutive World Series crowns, who would you find yourself routing for or against? I know some people that swear to be neutral if their favorite team isn’t participating in a game they are watching, but me personally, I don’t even think that’s possible. How can you watch a sporting event and not be routing for one side or another? If the Phillies needed the Braves to lose, and Atlanta was hosting the Mets that day, guess who just became an honorary Mets fan! The Diamondbacks are playing the Padres – I find myself routing for the team trailing by a few when the game innings start to pass.
My point is that while I’m a diehard Phillies fan, I’m a fan of sports, and baseball in particular. If the Phillies didn’t have a team, or didn’t have a chance to win the World Series, I would still pay attention and have a rooting interest ….and among the National League teams, it would go something like this:
1. Philadelphia Phillies – I already forgot that this was a hypothetical, “if the Phillies couldn’t win”
2. Pittsburgh Pirates – My wonderful mother is from the Pittsburgh area, and we still have family out that way. The Pirates have one of the best stadiums in baseball…they just need owners to commit to keeping their young talent together. It’s been 18 long years since the Pirates have had a playoff team, I’d like to see their passionate fans have a contender again.
3. Chicago Cubs – I went to Chicago for the first time 2008, as a bunch of my friends took me out for my bachelor party. We did Rooftop Bleachers one day, infield seats the next, and outfield bleacher seats on the third day… all the while, Cubs fans told us how much they hate Mets fans! Even though it’s a little bit cheesey, I loved seeing a stadium full of people singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”… Flying their “W” or “L” flag depending on the outcome of the game. “Go, Cubs, Go” ….everything about the Cubs is pretty cool, and their draught of 100+ years with no World Series title makes you feel bad for them.
4. Colorado Rockies – Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Holliday have won me some pretty decent coin in fantasy baseball over the past few years. Something about playoff baseball in Colorado appeals to me. It’s not quite the launching pad it used to be, but definitely a cool setting for a baseball game, especially for those who like their offense.
5. Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers remind me of where we used to be… a team that wasn’t quite sure how to get over the hump. Unfortunately for the Phillies, I think the Brewers pose the biggest threat in the National League come playoff time this season. Currently they have a lot of homegrown talent… they don’t usually have the money to land big-time free agents, etc… so, I think long-time Phillies fans can really relate to where the Brewers are as an organization.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks – I was glad to see Curt Schilling win with them, I was glad to them beat the Yankees… but really, they fall into my “who cares” category.
7. Houston Astros – See above… but I kind of hate Texas, the state…so they drop. I liked the “Killer B’s,” but those days are long gone.
8. Washington Nationals – I like underdogs, and they’d be higher if they didn’t play in the NL East. I’ll always cheer for Jayson Werth (as long as it’s not directly against the Phillies), someday soon the Nats might be serious contenders, good for them.
9. San Diego Padres – For some reason, I always hated their ugly colors…and I’m extremely jealous of the fact that they have seemingly perfect weather in San Diego.
10. St. Louis Cardinals – Home of the self-titled “best fans in baseball”… screw them. Tony La Russa over-manages, McGwire was a cheater… Scott Rolen won a title with them… and the list of little things goes on.
11. Cincinnati Reds - Part of me likes the Reds more than the Cardinals, but the Reds don’t seem quite as classy an organization. With Brandon Phillips, Edinson Volquez, etc…on their roster, they just seem like a team full of punks.
12. San Francisco Giants – If they didn’t beat us last year the might not be so low on my list. I saw their new ballpark the second year it was open, and I loved it (that can make me start to like a team, same way I like Baltimore and Cleveland- because I like watching games in their respective parks), but with the Phillies recent history against them, I can’t see myself ever cheering for the Giants to win anything.
13. Los Angeles Dodgers – I know Manny Ramirez and Russell Martin are gone… but that Dodger- blue now makes my blood boil. They had an undeserved cockiness, and walked with a swagger that nobody wanted to see. They’ve fallen to the bottom of the NL West, which I believe is just south of “Mannywood.”
14. Atlanta Braves – I hate the fact that they were better than the Phillies for my entire childhood, but you have to respect what they accomplished – 14 straight division titles! I’m a closet Chipper Jones fan; I wish that Brian McCann played for the Phillies. I got so accustomed to watching the Braves in the playoffs, that it seems strange any year they don’t make it now.
15. Florida Marlins – For some reason I hate the Marlins more than the Braves. Just when the Phillies started to get respectable, back in 2003, it was the Marlins who stepped on our throats, kicked our dogs, and crushed our dreams. They somehow had TWO World Series titles before I ever got to see the Phillies wear the crown. Whatever the reason, I hate watching games in their empty football stadium…and I hate the fact that Hanley Ramirez has all the talent in the world, but not the drive to use it. The Marlins always seem to have a lot of young talent, maybe their new stadium will give them the revenue to keep some of these guys around. I need to have players to hate.
16. New York Mets – Phuck the Mets.