The World Series begins tomorrow and for the second consecutive year, the Royals are not involved. Nonetheless, the playoffs have involved exciting young teams with dynamic players worth watching, and fans all over the country have been tuning in. Now we have our matchup - the Astros and the Dodgers. But who should you, the Royals fan, root for? Let’s look at the case for both sides.
The Case for the Dodgers
Unless you are an old crank, the Dodgers are pretty fun to watch. Yasiel Puig is a “showboat” or “exuberant” depending on your point of view, but even guys like Justin Turner, Enrique Hernandez, and the normally stoic Clayton Kershaw have showed emotion during the playoffs. Kershaw is perhaps the best pitcher of this generation and has yet to earn a ring. Cody Bellinger and his record-setting rookie season are a treat to watch. Justin Turner is perhaps the best wildling in MLB history.
Tormund Giantsbane and Justin Turner: intense competitors with violently effective swings of the stick in the clutch. pic.twitter.com/RVoCMMV0Ll— Richard Roeper (@richardroeper) October 16, 2017
The Dodgers are profligate spenders, but most of their money spent is not on the field. And many of the players that are high-priced and on the field are homegrown players the Dodgers retained - Clayton Kershaw, Kanley Jansen, Yasiel Puig. Even Justin Turner was originally claimed off waivers and made it big in L.A. before they rewarded him with a big deal to keep him.
Dodger fans have the reputation of leaving games early, but they have packed Dodger Stadium for years as loyal fans. The Dodgers were the first team ever to draw 3 million fans in a season, and this was the fifth-consecutive year they have led all of baseball in attendance, drawing 3.7 million fans. These fans haven’t seen their team win it all since Ronald Reagan was President, dropping four National League Championship Series in the last decade. They’re due.
Plus, we share a child together.
The Case against the Dodgers
They are the new New York Yankees, topping MLB payrolls this year with $242 million in player salaries on Opening Day. Yes, some of the payroll goes towards talent they developed, but the enormous resources has allowed them to paper over huge mistakes. The Royals, for example, would not be able to have any kind of success if they had $73 million on the books for Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Scott Kazmir, Alexander Guerrero, Matt Kemp, and Hector Olivera.
Fans do pack Dodger Stadium, but the reputation of leaving games early is well deserved. And Dodger fans already get to enjoy the gorgeous weather and gorgeous people of southern California, should we really want them to be spoiled with sports success too? I mean, we gave you the Rams and Chargers, what more do you want?
Yasiel Puig’s exuberance may be misunderstood, but he’s not exactly a saint either, being involved in a barroom brawl with his sister, charged with reckless driving after going 110 mph, and just alienating teammates.
The Case for the Astros
There is no better case for why baseball is awesome than Jose Altuve. The dude is 5’6’’, shorter than me, and yet is possibly the best player in the game this year. He runs, he hits for average, he hits for power, he fields, and he does so with absolute joy for the game. Justin Verlander is the epitome of the gritty, flamethrowing ace pitcher every fan wants for their team. Carlos Correa is one of the most exciting young players in the game. George Springer overcame stuttering as a child and now serves as a role model for kids struggling with it. And it would be great to see old friend Carlos Beltrán finally win a ring.
Dodger fans haven’t seen their team hoist the trophy in awhile, but Astros fans have never even seen their team win a World Series game. Their only trip to the Fall Classic was a clean sweep at the hands of the White Sox in 2005. The Astros have actually been around longer than the Royals, and have seen eight other championships won by expansion teams, but have never won one themselves. In fact, the entire city of Houston has only seen two sports championships, for their Rockets in 1994 and 1995.
Then there is the city of Houston itself, which has had a rough year. Hurricane Harvey left the city in tatters, which will take years to fully recover. Sports seems rather insignificant compared to the devastation from a hurricane, but it can perhaps, in its own small way, help the community rally back.
There may be some allegiance from Royals fans to the Astros as an American League club. Or perhaps as a fellow Midwestern city in flyover country. Winning the Wolrd Series might also be validation that the Royals need to do a full rebuild. The Royals won the season series against Houston (4-3) while being swept by the Dodgers, so perhaps it would make us more proud to say we beat the World Champs this year. The Astros are a slight underdog, according to Vegas, and who doesn’t love an underdog?
The Case against the Astros
Royals fans probably don’t have much animosity against the Astros, but they did have a pretty heated series in 2015 in the ALDS. Astros fans got a bit cocky. And if a ball bounces differently, perhaps the Astros are the team that denies Kansas City of its championship season.
The players are mostly likable, but Brian McCann is one of those sticklers against having fun in baseball. Lance McCullers did that stupid neck chop thing against the Royals (who got their revenge). Justin Verlander is a multi-millionaire with a supermodel girlfriend, you really think he’s an underdog who needs a championship ring on top of that?
The biggest reason not to root for them might be that this could be the beginning of a dynasty. The Astros have a good, young team, and a loaded farm system. Carlos Correa, George Springer, Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman, and Lance McCullers are all under club control through at least 2020. This is a well-run franchise with resources that could dominate the AL for years to come. We all thought it was cute to see the Patriots upset Kurt Warner’s “Greatest Show on Turf” Rams team in the 2002 Super Bowl, but had we known what was to come, we would have never rooted for Tom Brady. Be careful what you wish for.
Who are you rooting for in the World Series?
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