Baseball playoffs: Root, root, root for whom?


Andrew McCutchen was a big part of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ success this year, batting .317 and hitting 21 home runs. His mom helped the team, too. (Al Behrman/Associated Press)

Now that the Washington Nationals are out of the Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs, the big question for Nats fans is: Which team do I root for?

It’s always more fun to watch the big games and check the box scores if you have one team that you want to win it all. So if you are looking for a new favorite team during the baseball playoffs, here are some suggestions.

Boston Red Sox: This one is easy for me. I grew up in Massachusetts, so I still root for the Sox. If you don’t have a connection like that, maybe someone in your family, like your mom or dad or grandparent, grew up in another part of the country and still wears the hat of their childhood team. Why not join forces and root for that team?

By the way, the Sox are a fun group this year. A bunch of the players have grown beards, so they look as hairy the Nats’ Jayson Werth. When a bearded player hits a home run, his teammates take a tug on his beard to congratulate him. Boston fans have started showing up at Fenway Park with fake beards.

Pittsburgh Pirates: You’ve got to love the Pirates. After 20 consecutive losing seasons, Pittsburgh put it together this year for a record of 94 wins and 68 losses (94-68) to grab a wild-card spot in the National League playoffs.

The Pirates did it with terrific pitching and an outstanding season from Andrew McCutchen, their all-star center fielder. McCutchen batted .317 with 21 home runs and seemed to get a clutch hit or make a big play whenever the Bucs needed it. (The Pirates’ nickname is the Bucs.) His mom even sang the national anthem before the wild-card game with the Reds. Now that’s a most valuable player.

Oakland Athletics: Some folks complain that teams such as the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers can buy a trip to the playoffs and World Series by spending lots of money on free agents and other players.

The A’s prove that is not always true. Only three of the 30 MLB teams spent less money on their players than Oakland. Teams such as the Dodgers and Yankees spent more than three times as much as the Athletics. Still, the A’s went 96-66 and won the American League West Division, while the Yankees (like the Nationals) are sitting at home.

Detroit Tigers: The Motor City — that is Detroit’s nickname — has had a tough year. In July, the city declared bankruptcy. That means the city’s government does not have enough money to pay its bills and provide services for the people who live there.

It might be nice for the folks in Detroit to get some good news — like the Tigers in the World Series.

So root, root, root — not for the home team, but for a different team.

Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is the author of 19 sports books for kids, including nine baseball books.

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