The Bay Area’s rooting interest in baseball, such as it is after such a fallow year, is really reduced at this point to which team can keep the Los Angeles Dodgers from the World Series, and to a far lesser extent whether the New York Yankees can be stopped quickly and cruelly from doing the same.
That’s the nature of the new beast – schadenfreude.
The Yankees are a national bête noire, as they always have been. Even as a wild card team, even with likable players including relative locals at each end of the generational spectrum in CC Sabathia and Aaron Judge, they remain the Yankees. Toward that end, A’s fans are not Twins fans, and if that doesn’t work, Indians fans.
The Dodgers are a more local construct, though, and largely limited to Giants fans. Most A’s fans don’t really have a team they hate . . . unless of course it is the Giants.
Arizona plays Colorado Wednesday for the right to defend the Bay Area’s tattered honor, a weird notion in and of itself. Given that, the basic logic would suggest that the Diamondbacks have the better chance given their superior starting pitching, and a bullpen that rivals the Dodgers’ in large part because of Archie Bradley. They hit lots of home runs, and J.D. Martinez may be as comprehensive an MVP candidate as there is for a single team.
Colorado, on the other hand, IS home runs and always has been, and the Rockies’ bullpen is better for a short season despite the regular season numbers because it doesn’t have Fernando Rodney and Arizona does.
That doesn’t make either team likely to beat the Dodgers, though. That job may have to be left to the Washington Nationals, who reassembled their shoddy bullpen (h/t Sean Doolittle) and healed Bryce Harper in time to position themselves smartly for both the Cubs series and the LCS. They have no real lineup malignancies, but they also have as disappointing a postseason pedigree as the Dodgers.
In the end, though, the forces that have assembled this combination of teams lead us to the conclusion that, yet again, the Bay Area will come to hate 2017. If you must rank the teams, you’d go:
The 1. Is reserved for Los Angeles, though. Deal with it.
The Dodgers are the best team, top to bottom and stem to stern. Short series skew everyone’s chances, but the short money looks the likeliest.
Sorry, kids. Pitchers ands catchers report in about a million years, if that helps.