As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles, I have sadly reached an October where I will not be watching my favorite team play baseball. Bad starting pitching, shockingly bad on-base abilities, and injuries derailed my Birds’ hopes of playing in the postseason for two years in a row. Oh well. I’m back in the position a struggling franchise left me in from 1997 to 2012. I’ll be looking for another team to root for in the postseason.
As crazy as it would sound to most Orioles fans, I’m leaning towards rooting for the much-loathed New York Yankees. Have I lost my damn mind?
I hope not. All systems appear to be functioning at full capacity, but I just can’t shake the feeling that the Yankees are the team for me in October. This is an act of near-treason to most Orioles fans, but when the playoffs roll around and your team is sitting at home licking its wounds, you do what you have to do in order to make the postseason a little more interesting.
This year’s Yankees team was not supposed to be in the playoffs. They are a decrepit bunch of old, washed-up sluggers. Their best power hitter is a 40-year-old DH with bad hips and two (or is it three, I’ve lost count) steroid charges. Their second-best power hitter, Mark Teixeira, is on the shelf yet again. The top of the order, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner started off strong, but began running out of steam in the second half of the season.
This Yankees team feels exactly like the 2012 or even the 2015 Baltimore squads that scrapped their way into the playoffs with pure guts. The Yankees rotation may be an even bigger mess than those that got the Orioles into the playoffs. The Yankees best pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka is battling a sore hamstring. CC Sabathia seemed to be rounding into top form as the postseason began, but has taken a leave to seek help for his struggles with alcohol. The only thing the Yankees really have going for them in the pitching department is the lights-out back end combination of Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, and Chasen Shreve. How good can you really feel about your playoff chances when Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova could potentially start in a five-game series.
This Yankees team is exactly like the Orioles teams that have kept fans at Camden Yards on their feet the past four seasons. They don’t hit for a high average, but hit a ton of home runs. Their starting pitching borders on replacement-level at times, but the bullpen has been lights out. Stop me if this sounds familiar in any way at all.
Even when the Yankees were at their most dominant, it was hard to flat out hate them as an Orioles fan. Your heart broke every time the Bombers brought the brooms to Camden Yards, but you still tipped your hate to the Core Four every time they hoisted another trophy. They were simply better than us. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, and Bernie Williams were all class. The Yankees only really became an object of hate to me when they began buying up every single free agent possible. They’ve begun getting away from that the past few years.
As much as it pains me to say this, I do find myself rooting for the New York Yankees as they take on the Houston Astros in the American League Wild Card matchup. I can only hope it’s a one night affair. I don’t know if I would be able to live myself for much longer.