I was born a Reds fan in the winter of 1977 when the Big Red Machine were World Series champs. I would not experience the post-season as a living, breathing soul until 1990, and I had October joy only one more time in my life after that. It may have been a blessing, however; I can't imagine many young Yankees fans can truly appreciate the game of baseball, for they don't know what it's like to hope, to have that excitement that maybe this is the year, as they've come to expect winning.
My team's lack of participation in the glory of October all these years has forced me to adopt surrogate teams to root for when October comes around. Some of these teams I have personal reasons for liking, others I root for because of their rich histories. Here's a brief rundown of the teams I root for and the reasons, before I am labeled a "frontrunner." I'll start with the teams in this year's post-season.
SAN DIEGO PADRES - I was born outside of San Diego and saw my first Reds game as a one year old at Jack Murphy Stadium.
NEW YORK METS - Though not steeped in a century of tradition, I will root for this team over others because it is the team I will root for when I finally move to New York City. I also like how the blue and orange are a combo of the Giants and Dodgers colors to fill the void left by the greed of the owners who moved the teams to California. It was blasphemy. And who didn't like Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry before they wore solid orange in another place?
MINNESOTA TWINS - Kirby Puckett and small market winners - how could you not like them?
OAKLAND A's - Bash Brothers. The mesh A's cap I still have was stuck to my head until the Reds put an end to that. Dave Stewart, Dennis Eckersly - what more could you ask for?
DETROIT TIGERS - See this post.
BOSTON RED SOX - The anti-Yankees. Have you ever been to Fenway Park? Have you ever seen the whole city wearing Red Sox gear, even on their ties with their suits? One of my goals in life is to have season tickets to Fenway for a summer.
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES - 1993 - Darren Daulton, John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, Mitch Williams, Curt Schilling.
CLEVELAND INDIANS - Ohio comrades. All of those great years during the nineties were fun to watch with Thome, Manny, and Vizquel.
BALTIMORE ORIOLES - Spent my first two years in DC watching them. Cal Ripken. Brooks Robinson.
CHICAGO CUBS - Yeah, Reds fans hate them for some reason. They are in our division, I know, but it's only been 12 years, and there's never been any competition between them. Ryne Sandberg was one of my favorite players - I collected all of his baseball cards. Wrigley field is Heaven. Except for their crappy hotdogs.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS and WASHINGTON NATIONALS - I've lived in these places and root for these teams at all times, except when they are playing the Reds.
Do you have surrogate teams? Who are they? Why do you like them? (Non-New Yorker Yankees "fans" will be subjected to voodoo.)