The American League had to play game 163 to find out which five teams will battle in the playoffs, but the field is now set. No matter what way you slice it every team in the American League is a White Sox rival, but you still want the AL to take home the Commissioner’s Trophy over the NL.
So, what is a White Sox fan to do?
Here is a White Sox fan guide to the AL playoffs with suggestions on why you might or might not want to cheer for each team. If you disagree feel free to let us know why.
Cheer for the Boston Red Sox:
The Red Sox and White Sox faithful have several similarities: both nicknames involve a stocking, they both went 85 plus years between championships, and are historical teams. Also, the White Sox swept the Red Sox in three games during the 2005 ALDS en route to the 2005 World Series victory and beat the Cubs in the 1918 World Series.
Last season the Red Sox finished last in the AL East and this year they have the best record in the MLB. They fired former manager Bobby Valentine, traded away big money free agents, and are led by David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury on offense. Role players Stephen Drew, Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes, and Shane Victorino have also added outscoring every AL team by over 40 runs.
Do not cheer for the Red Sox:
The Red Sox and White Sox will always share a nickname but the continued success after there 2004 title is a stark contrast to the White Sox. The Red Sox have made the playoffs nine of the past ten years and two championships in three years (2004 and 2007).
Former White Sox on the Red Sox: Matt Thornton
Cheer for the Cleveland Indians:
With new manager Terry Francona and a few free agent signings, the Indians went from 68 wins to 92 this season. They are the “Bad News Bears” team in the MLB with comeback player of the year candidates: Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Scott Kazmir. The Indians also have not won a World Series since 1948, the second-longest drought in the MLB.
Do not cheer for the Indians:
They are in the AL Central with the White Sox and absolutely throttled them this year, with a 17-2 record against the White Sox. Their 1948 World Series team was managed by Lou Boudreau, a longtime Cubs broadcaster. They also were dealt a favorable schedule that saw them go 36-7 against the three worst teams in baseball: the Twins, White Sox, and Astros.
Former White Sox on the Indians: Nick Swisher
Cheer for the Detroit Tigers:
Their starting rotation is good, really good with Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister. Third baseman Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in the game. The Tigers have not won since the mid 80’s, so them winning would be better than the Red Sox or Cardinals win their third in ten years.
The City of Detroit is down in the dumps and a world series victory would lift their spirits.
Do not cheer for the Tigers:
Another AL Central team and the top of the class at that in recent years. The team does not consist of homegrown talent like the Indians relieve staff but big time free agents and trades. Also, before Torii Hunter joined the Tigers he was a White Sox killer during his days in Minnesota.
Former White Sox on the Tigers: None
Cheer for the Oakland Athletics:
Moneyball, an excellent film that depicted the 2002 team GM Billy Beane put together with players that simply “got on base.” They ventured into the international market to pick up Yoenis Cespedes, who does not have poor base running skills like a certain young outfielder in southern California.
They have added Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, Josh Donaldson, Jed Lowrie, and brought back Bartolo Colon. With a low payroll the highest paid A’s player is Chris Young, who is make $8.5 million. They do not have their own stadium as they play at O.co Coliseum, which they shared with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders.
The last A’s championship was in 1989 with former White Sox manager Tony LaRussa at the helm.
Do not cheer for the A’s:
If you do not like the Moneyball ideology that you do not want them to win. The A’s wear green and gold, which will remind you of the Chicago Bears biggest rival – the Green Bay Packers.
Former White Sox on the A’s: Bartolo Colon and manager Bob Melvin
Cheer for the Tampa Bay Rays:
They play in the best division in the AL, the East with the Red Sox and Yankees payroll three times the amount they have. In 2007 they had their first winning season and have not had a losing season since while making the playoffs four out of the past six seasons. Their Triple-A team is the Durham Bulls, yes those Bulls featured in the film Bull Durham.
Evan Longoria stayed in Tampa. Longoria had the opportunity to sign a big deal contact with AL East rivals Boston or New York but signed a long term deal with Tampa. The Rays have never won a World series so, them winning increases the parity in the game.
Do not cheer for the Rays:
The fans do not show up and Tropicana Field is a dome ballpark in sunny Tampa Bay. The Rays joined the MLB in 1998 and consistently finished at the bottom of the league their first eight years earning top draft picks. The team also developed a “retro” uniform that looks awful. Also, pitcher Fernado Rodney wears his hat off to the side and not straight on.
Former White Sox on the Rays: None