Houston relief pitcher Fernando Rodriguez holds his head after loading the bases with walks to the Brewers in the 10th inning on July 8. Rodriguez earned the loss as the Brewers won 5-3. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 9:08 PM
You’re an Astros fan. I’m a Cubs fan. And as the second half of the baseball season gets underway, we’re both wondering “What’s the point?”
Both teams are locked in a dead heat for last place in the National League Central, with a heavy emphasis on “dead.” Barring a hot streak or two, 100 losses are staring each in the face.
Unfortunately, there’s still a good deal of time before the focus can turn to football. And if you’re a Saints fan, keeping the focus off of football for as long as possible is looking like an increasingly palatable option for the upcoming season.
All that considered, it’s time to jump onto somebody’s bandwagon. And the final day of the All-Star break is the ideal moment to make such a move.
But where to go to live your second half vicariously?
I’ve listed your top available options, along with some pros and cons to go along with each.
I automatically took the liberty of excluding all NL West teams under the assumption your bandwagon does not include staying up past midnight. If so, feel free to consider the Dodgers and Giants despite my ignoring them.
New York Yankees — Pro: This is your best chance to back a winner. Con: The type of person who jumps onto the Yankees bangwagon is the same type who couldn’t tell you a single Saints quarterback predating Drew Brees.
Baltimore Orioles — Pro: A premier franchise in the 1970s and early ‘80s, the O’s faded to obscurity in the last decade before reviving this season. Rooting for them allows you to root against the Yankees. Con: Baltimore is fading after a fast start. Chances are they’ll still finish last in the AL East, which is hardly the type of bandwagon one wants to be on.
Chicago White Sox — Pro: Nobody outside a 30-block radius in their own city even cares about them, so you’d be a true original. Con: Nobody outside a 30-block radius in their own city cares about them, so you’d have no one to talk to.
Tampa Bay Rays — Substitute the previous lines about people within a 30-block radius and replace with “inside their own stadium.”
Texas Rangers — Pro: You can drive to a game. You can watch them on TV regularly. They are poised to be playoff fixtures for years to come. Con: If you root for the Astros, the Rangers are division rivals next year. You can’t have that on your conscience.
St. Louis Cardinals — Pro: None. Con: All.
Cincinnati Reds — Pro: Pitcher Aroldis Chapman’s relief appearances have been borderline performance art this year, though he finally hit a rough patch at the end of June. Con: Playing for Dusty Baker means there’s a chance Chapman’s arm will fall off by September, and with it the Reds’ hopes.
New York Mets — Pro: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey’s Cy Young-caliber season is one of the best stories in baseball. A local kid, Gavin Cecchini was taken by the team as this year’s first-round pick. Con: If you’re an Astros fan, 1986 is just as raw as 1969 is for Cubs fans when it comes to the Mets. Plus, at the end of the day they’re still from New York.
Washington Nationals — Pro: The Nats have built the pieces to be the team of the future, and it’s already coming together as the team of now. Rookie Bryce Harper is only 19, so there’s the potential for a good 15-20 years of this being a worthwhile bandwagon jump. Con: They have never allowed Teddy Roosevelt to win the mid-game President’s Mascot Race against George Washington, Abe Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson.
Pittsburgh Pirates — Pro: The Bucs
haven’t finished above .500 since 1992 — before the Rockies, Marlins,
Rays or Diamondbacks
even existed. All of whom, by the way, have won pennants since the
last time the Pirates won 80 games. This is the true Cinderella
of the ball. Con: Sure, Pittsburgh fans have it bad during the
summer, but at least they have something to look forward to
this football season. You might not have the same luxury. ••• Alex Hickey covers McNeese State athletics. Email him at email@example.com
Alex Hickey covers McNeese State athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org