For the first time since 2014, the Mets will not be playing in the postseason. We’re all going to watch at least some of the action, so who to root for? We will be looking at connections to the Mets (both good and bad), general likeability, length of WS drought, and any other relevant factors. Please note there will not be a specific designation of which team Met fans should root for, that will be up to the individual.
The two wild card teams, the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks, are both late 20th century expansion teams. The D-backs did grab a WS win in 2001, while the Rockies lost their only WS appearance in 2007. Both are good hitting teams but are probably longshots to advance to the WS.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are the Western Division champs. They have several Met connections, including Bench Coach Bob Geren, slugging third baseman Justin Turner and outfielder Curtis Granderson, although he may not make the postseason roster. They also have one bad connection, Chase Utley, known for his innovative airborne fracture slide into Rueben Tejada of the Mets in the 2015 NLDS. That alone is probably enough to cancel out the good connections.
The Dodgers have the largest payroll in MLB, but their last WS win came back in 1988, a year they upset a very good Met team in the postseason. Oh, and we do have to consider the matter of the Dodgers abandoning Brooklyn in 1957, despite being the most profitable team in the game in the mid 1950’s.
The Chicago Cubs are the Central Division champs this year, and are the defending WS winners. After a slow start the team played more like their 2016 form for the second half of the season. The players seem affable enough, and they have some neat traditions like the “W” flag. The fans are loyal, routinely selling out the ballpark. The only Met connection is backup catcher Rene Rivera, and although he filled in nicely, he probably won’t be on the postseason roster. The Cubs won last year, ending their epic 108 year World Series drought.
The Washington Nationals cruised to a win in the Eastern Division with a pretty formidable lineup. Bryce Harper is a great player but is a little too smug for a lot of fans taste, so he usually draws some boos at Citi Field. The lineup also features ex-Met and current Met killer Daniel Murphy. The Nats have never won a WS, either in their current form or their pre-2005 incarnation as the Montreal Expos. For the city itself the last (and only) WS triumph was back in 1924 as the Senators, led by fireballing HOFer Walter Johnson, triumphed over the New York Giants.
Just a quick note on the AL. The Cleveland Indians have not won a World Series since 1948, and recent Met Jay Bruce is a key part of their lineup. Should the tribe advance to the WS, more than a few Met fans just might be cheering for them, despite their American League pedigree.