The divisions series are underway. Four teams in each league are fighting it out for two spots in the World Series. The Yankees are off to the emergency room/golf course, but baseball is still going on. There are 16 different possible combinations of teams in the World Series. Today, I will rank them all. What is the best matchup?
The Bottom 4: Anyone but the Mets
16. Mets v. Blue Jays 15. Mets v. Astros 14. Mets v. Rangers 13. Mets v. Royals
These are easy. Any scenario where the Mets make the World Series is a bad scenario. They don't have any interesting rivalries on the AL side to deal with. Their fans say stupid things like, "Take Back New York" after a decent spring training showing. The team itself was almost certainly the worst team in the NL regular season. Booo Mets.
The Next 4: Acceptable, If Boring
12. Cardinals v. Blue Jays 11. Cardinals v. Astros 10. Cardinals v. Rangers 9. Cardinals v. Royals
Who wants to see the Cardinals again? I get that they made a deal with the devil to always be an NL playoff team forever, no matter what players come and go. But we've been there, done that. A Cardinals World Series win would be incredibly anti-climatic in the middle of a fun playoff. Someone needs to make a new deal with a different devil and put them down once and for all.
Canadian or Californian Redemption
8. Dodgers v. Blue Jays
It's been a long drought for Blue Jays fans, but many can remember 1993 well. The Dodgers have a longer streak without a World Series win, but no one likes a team that spends $300 million and barely manages to break 90 wins in a bad division. It would be fun to watch this series, but they can't compete with the thrill rides below.
Getting Better 7. Dodgers v. Royals 6. Dodgers v. Astros 5. Dodgers v. Rangers
We all love an underdog. The Dodgers are the new Evil Empire. All three of the teams they are facing are underdogs in a sense. The Royals are the Royals. We all love them. No one expected the Astros and the Rangers to be here.
4. Cubs v. Blue Jays 3. Cubs v. Royals
Yeah, rooting for Theo Epstein's team to break a multi-generational curse feels dirty. Especially when Jon Lester is their second best starting pitcher. But the Cubs are trying to break the last great curse in baseball. The Billy Goat Curse may be more contrived than the Black Sox or Bambino curses were, but that's not a big deal. Wrigley Field underwent a kind of rebirth to begin this season, and it would be poetic to watch the Cubs have their own phoenix moment this fall. Give me a Cubs World Series.
Someone has to win, right?
2. Cubs v. Astros 1. Cubs v. Rangers
Give me a Cubs World Series, but this could make it even better. The Astros and Rangers have come close to winning their first title, but they are still winless. And these aren't some expansion teams that are still getting their feet wet. Astros fans have been waiting for a World Series since the 1960s. Rangers fans since 1972. Nolan Ryan played for both teams. If the Cubs are going to lose a World Series, either the Astros or Rangers could generate just as much excitement. In fact, that may be the best-case scenario: the Cubs suffer some kind of epic collapse in the World Series, the curse continues, and fans in Texas finally get their trophy.