How to Care About the Postseason…

… When Your Team is Already Out.

Welcome to Team Disappointment, Red Sox and Rangers fans. Getting swept a week into the postseason is rough. I’d argue it might be harder than not making the cut at all, because hopes are never higher than those few glorious days after the end of the regular season, before the ALDS and NLDS begin, and you can practically taste World Series victory.

Now only 6 teams are left, breathlessly waiting to see who will go on. Blue Jays and Indians fans are waiting for Friday’s ALCS series to begin. The Jays were there last year, within reach of the Series, only to be knocked down by the Royals. They’ve won four straight postseason games, and in spite of injuries to Devon Travis and a potentially hurt Osuna, they’ve soldiered on, playing every game as if it was a d0-or-die match. There’s no contesting the fact that the Blue Jays are an electric and exciting team to watch.

Likewise, the Cleveland Indians have steamrolled their way through the Red Sox Series dreams, cutting David Ortiz’s final season short a few weeks sooner than he would have hoped.

Meanwhile in the NL, the Giants narrowly avoided a Cubs sweep by taking them to extra innings and winning game three in the 13th. Baseball is a hell of a game.

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Fans hold up signs as the Toronto Blue Jays face the Cincinnati Reds in Grapefruit League play Friday, April 3, 2015 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

So your team is benched for the season, how do you carry on? Some people stop watching entirely, no longer caring who wins now that it’s not their chosen team. However I’d argue against this option, because the months from November to February without baseball are the coldest and darkest of all, so cherish what time you have with the summer game, before the long winter is upon us.

Here are three options to keep yourself watching in the postseason, and enjoy all that baseball has left to offer:

  1. Stick with your league: this can be tough, especially when it means cheering for a team that knocked yours out of contention. Red Sox fans would be hard pressed to root for their division rivals the Blue Jays under normal circumstances, but this is the postseason, all the normal rules don’t apply. But these are the teams we see most throughout the regular season. We’re more able to spot familiar faces on the roster and remember which pitchers are the best and which players pack a wallop in their bat.
  2. Follow a beloved former team mate: Tigers fans might choose to cheer on Carrera and the Jays, or Max Scherzer on the Nationals. Oakland fans can get behind Reddick now that he’s with the Dodgers. With all the roster moves, free agent deals, and mid-season trades, players get shuffled all around the MLB. If an old favourite is on a playoff roster, why not cheer them on in hopes of seeing their smiling face in a postseason victory huddle?
  3. Pick a team for sentimental reasons: The Giants have their even year streak to continue, and the Cubs are hoping to finally bring victory back to Wrigley after one of the longest World Series dry spells in history. The Jays want to repeat the back-to-back glory of ’92/’93, and the Dodgers are hoping to to Win for Vin. There’s a story for every team, and it isn’t too hard to find a reason to jump on any of the postseason bandwagons, even if it’s just for a little while. Are you Canadian? Cheer for Canada’s only team! (or if you miss the Expos, cheer for the Nationals). Did you love Major League? Hip-hip-hooray for the Indians! There’s something emotional attached to every postseason this year, to find the story you like best and get excited.

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It’s hard to admit the season is over for your beloved team, as I wrote previously, but that doesn’t mean baseball grinds to a halt. And though the MLB has one of the longest seasons in professional sports, it never quite seems long enough to the fans. Why not stretch out your enjoyment a few more weeks, and find another team to climb on board with?

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