ST. LOUIS — So the Cardinals are done in 2020. Now what?
Even though the hometown team has been knocked out of the postseason, there's still plenty of baseball left on the calendar, with some crazy moments surely still to come.
If you're like me, you'll be tuning in to quite a few of the remaining playoff games as teams inch closer to the World Series. So, it would be nice to have someone to root for, right?
Here is a very imperfect ranking of the "root-ability" for the teams remaining in the playoffs from a Cardinals perspective.
Here's the subjective criteria I'm using to determine this not scientific-at-all ranking.
1: Story - There are a lot of teams left with some good stories going. Whether it be a Cinderella run or some fun, exciting players, there are just some teams you can't help but root for as a baseball fan.
2: Former Cardinals - It's no secret that Cardinals fans like to continue rooting for players when they leave St. Louis. Heck, Daniel Descalso still gets standing ovations at Busch Stadium. There are some fun former Cardinals still kicking in the playoffs, and it would be cool to see some of them get a ring.
3: National perspective/rivalries - There are some teams that are just going to be a tough sell when it comes to "root-ability". Whether it be entrenched rivalries over the years or some kind of national reputation, some options are just non-starters.
So, let's rank the remaining eight teams down from worst options, to the best when it comes to "root-ability" for Cardinals fans.
8: Houston Astros
I don't think this is too shocking.
Other than Astros fans, pretty much nobody wants the Astros to win the World Series in 2020.
Because of the weird pandemic conditions, the team has managed to escape a lot of the ridicule they should have received from opposing fans and teams stemming from their cheating scandal, but the hate exists nonetheless.
And with the history between the Astros and Cardinals, they're an easy "last seed" here.
Although they do have former Cardinal Aledmys Diaz, who is a gem of a guy, so that would be the one silver lining in an Astros title.
7: Los Angeles Dodgers
This fits pretty heavily into that "rivalry" category.
The Cardinals and Dodgers have had some classic battles over their histories, and St. Louis has never been the biggest fans of their historic National League cousins.
The Dodgers are also the odds-on favorite to win the championship, and that's no fun to root for.
6: Atlanta Braves
It can't be denied that the Braves are fun, but the rivalry is pretty strong here, too.
Last year's NLDS added a bit of fuel to the fire as well.
It's fun (and also a bit depressing from a Cardinals perspective) to see Marcell Ozuna crushing, but overall I think St. Louis would prefer not to see a Braves title.
5: New York Yankees
Now normally, the Yankees would find a much less favorable spot on this list. But hear me out.
This Yankees team really isn't *that* hate-able.
They've got some fun, charismatic guys and haven't won in a while so I'm not quite sick of their act yet.
Plus, they have perhaps the most popular former Cardinal left in the postseason.
St. Louis loves itself some of the hometown kid and 2020 home run champ Luke Voit. You have to admit it would be cool to see the St. Louis kid lead the most recognizable franchise in sports to a title.
4: Oakland Athletics
I'm not sure how anyone could root against the A's in principle.
They're always dealt a disadvantage when it comes to paying for a top-level roster, and they nearly always manage to piece it together to become one of the best teams in the league. Of course, "Moneyball" didn't hurt that romantic reputation.
This year's A's are a lot of fun and could be the team that finally makes it to a World Series for Billy Beane.
They also have Stephen Piscotty, who will always have a special place in the hearts of Cardinals fans.
3: Miami Marlins
Come on, you have to admit this would just be fun.
The Marlins were definitely not expected to be in a position like this, but here they are anyways, like it or not.
The battled a similar COVID-19 challenge as the Cardinals in-season and beat the Cubs in the first round.
Not a whole lot of household names on the roster, but there is talent, and they play like nobody told them they weren't supposed to be here. It's a weird season after all. Why not the Marlins?
Also if former Cardinals prospects are your thing they have Sandy Alcantara and Magneuris Sierra.
2: Tampa Bay Rays
I have to admit this is a bit of a personal preference.
The Rays are very similar to the A's in regards to making the most of their situation and defying expectations. They have the role of "underdog" down to a science, even though they're technically the No.1 seed in the American League.
This team is just so dang fun, and is going for the franchise's first-ever World Series. No other team mentioned yet can say that.
In a weird season like this it would be pretty fitting for Tampa Bay to win it all.
It's also fun seeing Randy Arozarena get a chance to break out into a possible star, and I believe Jose Martinez would still get himself a ring if the Rays won it all, even though he was traded mid-season.
1: San Diego Padres
I guess Cardinals fans could still be harboring some bad feelings for San Diego after the Wild Card series, but I think that's silly.
There's little to deny the Padres were the better team. Yeah the Cardinals had chances to advance, but San Diego is better. It's over.
The Padres have a little bit of everything going for them in terms of root-ability. They're probably the most exciting team left in the playoffs, they have a large number of Cardinals ties and they've never won a World Series.
I guess there are people who don't like the fun and excitement of Fernando Tatis Jr. and company, but I think fans who truly love the game have embraced it.
Tommy Pham is one of the hardest-working players to come through the Cardinals' system in the last 20 years or so, and is a joy to watch. Trevor Rosenthal is a genuinely good dude who's comeback story is wonderful. Former Cardinals favorites Greg Garcia and Skip Schumaker (first base coach) are also a part of this year's Padres, so that's fun too.
Manager Jayce Tingler is a Mizzou guy who is from the State of Missouri.
The Padres have gotten close a number of times in their history, but have never won the big one. This could be the team that does it, and they'll be having a lot of fun the entire way.