We’re obviously biased, but as a staff, we find that the MLB postseason loses a bit of luster when the Detroit Tigers aren’t involved. Playoff races are certainly more fun when your team is involved, and even gut-wrenching playoff losses — of which we’ve experienced plenty in recent years — are better than missing out on the postseason entirely.
Unfortunately, we’re in the latter camp again in 2017. However, with several former Tigers players still in the hunt for a championship, there is a bit more intrigue in this year’s playoffs. Plus, the number of “super teams” should make for some great postseason battles.
With the festivities kicking off on Tuesday with the AL Wild Card game, it’s time to pick sides.
This week’s question: Which team are you rooting for in this year’s postseason?
Rob: The Houston Astros are probably going to be a favorite among most BYB writers. While there are former Tigers on several playoff teams, no trade hit home with fans quite like the one that sent Justin Verlander to Houston. A homegrown talent and the best pitcher in franchise history, Verlander deserves the World Series ring that he wasn’t able to win with the Tigers. There are other fun teams like the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and (gulp) the Yankees, but nothing would be better than seeing Verlander lifting the Commissioner’s Trophy in late October.
Plus, I have a bet with friends that Houston will win it all, and I’d like to have that pay off too.
Brandon: I'll be rooting for the Astros. Most of the other teams in the postseason have baggage to the point where I can't root for them. Meanwhile, the Astros have my favorite player in Verlander, and a host of fun, talented young guys to watch. Plus, I keep hearing A.J. Hinch on MLB Radio and he has really grown on me. Add in the destruction that the city of Houston is still in the early stages of recovering from, and a World Series title for them would be pretty cool. It would also prevent the victory of a host of teams I really don't want to win. Easy call for me.
Patrick O.: I will be rooting for the Los Angeles Dodgers because they have been my National League team and my second-favorite MLB team since before there was any interleague play. The Dodgers have this year's best record with 104 wins, also the best in their storied franchise history. They haven't won the World Series since Kirk Gibson’s amazing homer off Dennis Eckersley in 1988. After their fifth straight division title and the development of one of baseball's best farm systems, they look to have all the horses to win it this season. Also, with the Angels missing out on the playoffs, the Dodgers are my local team this October. Finally: Curtis Granderson.
Kurt: I am rooting for the Astros this year for a couple of reasons: Justin Verlander obviously being the first. You want to see him get the World Series ring he should have been able to win in Detroit and to make his Hall of Fame case stronger. Also seeing an organization built properly from the bottom up like the Astros pay off with a championship would be a nice victory for doing things the right way and a rebuke to trying to buy a championship. Finally, with what Houston went through with Hurricane Harvey, I think it's a nice positive thing to happen to their community.
Kurt: Can I change my answer to FC’s?
FC: Actually I think I picked the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Astros in our preseason predictions, so go that.
Cameron: I'm all in on the Astros. Having lived in Houston all summer, I spent many of my nights at Minute Maid Park. While it didn't hold the nostalgic value of seeing a game in Detroit, I needed a way to get my baseball fix, and it didn't hurt that the 'Stros happened to be one of the most fun teams to watch in the majors. I took a liking to them during my time down there, and probably would have rooted for them to go all the way because they were the one team I really had any connection to this season. And then the Astros went out and acquired a Mr. Justin Brooks Verlander. Verlander is my favorite athlete of all time, and he deserves a ring. He is built for the postseason, and watching him pitch deep into October should be a treat for all baseball fans. I hope the Astros ride the wave all the way to the World Series, and I hope Verlander is the ace that carries them to the end.
Ashley: I like the Chicago Cubs, and I like the Alex Avila factor, but they're not going to be my ultimate pick. Ages ago, when both the Cubs and Astros were lounging at the bottom of their divisions, I said I wanted a Cubs/Astros World Series. The ultimate underdog showdown. You can't really call either team an underdog this year, but I still want to see that matchup. And with the Cubs winning it all last year, I would really like to see the Astros win it this year. Also: postseason Verlander. Go win that ring, JV.
Peter: I could probably pick the Nationals or Diamondbacks to be different and write on about fond memories of Max Scherzer or J.D. Martinez as my reason, but deep down, I’m pulling for the Astros. As with everyone, it’s the Verlander factor. He has been my Tigers since I really became a serious fan so I can’t ignore that. Plus, they have the sparkplug himself in Cameron Maybin, who was just fun to watch out there. They also have built the team from the ground up, and there a heartwarming story to boot with the community rallying together behind them after Hurricane Harvey. Go ‘Stros!
Kyle: I would like to see the Diamondbacks make a run this postseason. They have been a great story so far and it's hard not to root for J.D. Martinez. It's always a little easier to tolerate a National League team do well as opposed to an AL rival, and the Tigers' infrequent matchups against Arizona make them somewhat neutral to Detroit fans. Despite their 90+ wins, the Diamondbacks have an uphill climb in the playoffs, and a little underdog magic makes everything more fun.
Grace: This postseason I will be rooting for the Minnesota Twins. Part of that is because they're playing the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game and I'd much rather see the Twins advance to the ALDS. Another reason I like the Twins is because they share a division with the Tigers and Twins > Indians.