29 September: Decisions...

Monday, September 29 2008 @ 06:47 AM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

There are supposed to be eight teams still standing. There's nine for the moment. The White Sox have a makeup game later today with the mighty ("they could score 1000 runs!") Detroit Tigers, favoured by many pundits to win The Whole Darn Thing. If the Sox win that, the Twins come to Chicago on Tuesday to play a tiebreaker to settle the AL Central title. But the Tigers will be motivated today - after all, if they win they will catch up to the Kansas City Royals and finish tied for fourth.

Anyway - can I actually cheer for any of these outfits?

I don't really know yet. I won't know until I start to watch the games. At which point my preferences will simply emerge, and the basis will be largely instinctive and fairly mysterious to my own self.

I don't know who I'll be cheering for until I start cheering! But I'm handicapping my sentiments like this:

9. Boston. Enough. Go away.

8. White Sox. Ozzie is a barrel of laughs, but the White Sox have embarrassed me enough this year. Yes, I thought they'd suck. Just go away.

7. LA Angels. I don't have a particularly active dislike for them (or anybody else still in the hunt.) But they've got a recent title, and that's a good enough reason for now.

6. Milwaukee. I find them boring to think about, but that's probably because I haven't paid them a whole lot of attention. Is there a Selig connection to justify some real disdain?

5. Minnesota. I can already hear all the stories about the plucky little Twins, and I'm already irritated. But Mauer and Morneau are fun players, and it is really pretty impressive that they traded away Johan Santana and Matt Garza and here they are...

4. Philadelphia. They could grow on me. Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. It would be fun if at Pat Burrell, much maligned by the hometown fans, has a big post-season and walks away, waving his middle finger. And Jamie Moyer!

3. LA Dodgers. This is normally quite impossible for me, but the prospect of Joe Torre and Manny Ramirez celebrating a championship - together! - while Theo Epstein and Hank Steinbrenner fume and rave has its own rewards. I don't pay money to watch baseball games - but I might actually shell out to watch Manny. And Greg Maddux is still an all-time favourite. On the other hand, they do employ Jeff Kent. And they won fewer games than the Blue Jays, in a much weaker division. Very irritating.

2. Tampa Bay. A division rival, which is difficult. Very, very difficult. But I really liked watching a lot of these guys play ball, as painful as it often was to partisans of the home side. What's not to like about Evan Longoria?

1. Cubs. On the one hand, it would be fun to see Merkle's Curse extend its fearsome revenge into a second century. And on the other hand, it would be nice to just get it over with. Geovany Soto is absolutely fabulous, and don't we all like Uncle Lou?

Thisis all just a preliminary guess - we shall see how it all shakes out.

Finally, as a consolation prize, here are your matchups if baseball used the same playoff structure as the NBA and the NHL. They'd be pretty lively, actually. And I'l bet MLB is wishing they could have yet another Red Sox-Yankees clash. Even if the rest of us are sick to death of it.

Cleveland at Los Angeles
Toronto at Tampa Bay
Chicago at Minnesota
New York at Boston

Florida at Chicago
St.Louis at Philadelphia
Houston at Los Angeles
New York at Milwaukee