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2014 MLB Playoffs: Who Rockies fans should root for

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Now that we're down to eight teams left seeking the 2014 World Series championship, let's rank the teams by how much Colorado Rockies fans will be rooting for them in the playoffs.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The two Wild Card playoff games have been completed and the MLB playoff field is down to eight teams from ten. The Wild Card games are technically playoff games and they definitely generate a playoff atmosphere, but it's hard for me to think of a team that participated in a one game playoff - basically a coin flip situation - as a "playoff" team. So in my mind at least, the eight teams in the MLB playoff bracket have emerged and the postseason begins in earnest today with the commencement of the AL LDS.

With that in mind, I'm here to guide some Rockies fans that are not as familiar with some of the teams still left in the tournament as to who they might want to root for...or against. A poll that ran a few days ago asked who Purple Row community members would like to win the World Series this year. With losses by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Oakland A's in the Wild Card games, the 2nd and 3rd most popular options are out of the running. I'm taking that poll into account somewhat with the rankings that will follow and will also provide my personal rooting interest this postseason.

Each team, even one that is loathsome to many Rockies fans, has reasons for a Rockies baseball fan to root for or against them. I will detail both positions below as well as my personal rank if it differs significantly from the mainstream Rockies fan view. Without further ado, let's get to the rankings:

8. San Francisco Giants

Reasons to root for

Whether you like to admit it or not, the Giants actually have some pretty interesting players that, if they were on another team, you would find it easier to root for. Hunter Pence might be the weirdest player in MLB but it somehow all works, Buster Posey is fantastic, and Pablo Sandoval is delightfully unpredictable. Also, if you're someone who roots for teams in your division to do well, the Giants might be your pick.

Reasons to root against

Ugh, they're the Giants. The team whose players, employees, and fans have called the Rockies cheaters multiple times without evidence whatsoever. The team the Rockies have nightmares about playing on the road (except weirdly for a glorious three game stretch in June this year). The team that won the 2010 and 2012 World Series titles. They aren't an easy team for Rockies fans to root for.

Personal rank: 8

7. Los Angeles Dodgers

Reasons to root for

Like the Giants, the Dodgers have some players that individually would be pretty easy to root for if they didn't wear Dodger blue. Dee Gordon is a speed merchant, Yasiel Puig plays with a verve that is unmatched, Matt Kemp is a dangerous enigma, Zack Greinke might be the most underrated star in the postseason, and Clayton Kershaw is simply the best pitcher on the planet. The NL West provision applies here, and the fact that the team hasn't won a World Series since 1988 also helps their cause somewhat.

Reasons to root against

They very well could be flipped to last on this list, depending on whether you feel worse rooting for a payroll juggernaut, have an anti-LA bias, and/or really don't like it when Yasiel Puig "disrespects the game". They're playing on a different economic plane than anyone in the NL West, making it more difficult for the Rockies to get back in the playoff picture.

Personal rank: 7

6. St. Louis Cardinals

Reasons to root for

Let's start with the fact that they've got a couple of players that Rockies fans find it very easy to root for in Matt Holliday and Fort Collins native Marco Gonzalez. They don't have a gigantic payroll, they don't play in a big market, and they quite simply are the best-run player development organization in baseball. It's a model that many teams, the Rockies included, aim to emulate - and it gives Colorado fans hope that it might eventually come to pass for their team.

Reasons to root against

Quite simply, this team has been so successful over the last decade (two World Series titles, nearly annual deep playoff runs) that many fans with no skin in the game are just sick of them winning. They also might be sick of the "Best Fans in Baseball" moniker that has been affixed to Cardinals fans, the vigilant policing of the game's unwritten rules, and (depending on your feelings on PEDs) the employment (and enrichment) of shortstop Jhonny Peralta.

Personal rank: 1

Besides the Rockies, I have two consistent personal rooting interests, neither of which are too popular around these parts. The first is the Philadelphia Phillies, geographically closest to my place of birth and the hosts of my first live baseball action. The second is the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that my family supported long before the Rockies came into existence and have somewhat indoctrinated me into following closely in addition to Colorado.

5. Detroit Tigers

Reasons to root for

Though the Tigers have been consistently good over the last few years, Detroit could really use a win - their last title was in 1984 and the city is bankrupt. Miguel Cabrera is the game's purest hitter while the pitching staff, including the last three AL Cy Young winners in Max Scherzer, David Price, and Justin Verlander, is great to watch. They have the kind of owner (Mike Illitch) and front office head (Dave Dombrowski) that Rockies fans wish they had.

Reasons to root against

First of all, they're an AL team, which might be anathema for fans of a team without a DH to root for. As mentioned above, the Tigers have been regulars in the postseason over the last few years. They also have one of the biggest payrolls in MLB, which can be a turn-off as well. Lingering bad feeling of Avs fans against the Red Wings probably doesn't help either.

Personal rank: 5

4. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Reasons to root for

They have the best (and at times, most exciting) player in baseball in the 23 year-old (just turned) Mike Trout. They have the previous best player in baseball in future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. They also have a (relative) no-name rotation whose primary catcher is former Rockie and causer of Purple Row dissent, Chris Iannetta.

Reasons to root against

They have the best record in baseball, which means it will be hard for fans of underdogs to root for them. They also won the World Series in 2002 and have been in the postseason regularly enough since then to make it difficult to say that their fans need the win. In addition there's the AL factor, the LA factor, and a big payroll that accommodates many big ticket free agent signings like Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and CJ Wilson.

Personal rank: 6 (I dislike the city of LA more than I like the above players)

3. Baltimore Orioles

Reasons to root for

They're an AL East champion that isn't the Red Sox or Yankees - it's always good to see those two fan bases go home early. It's been a while since Baltimore went to the World Series (since 1983), so it's not as if the fans haven't paid their dues, and the team is running a payroll that is only slightly higher than the Rockies have. Depending on your feelings on Ubaldo Jimenez, his presence on the Baltimore roster might make you feel more positively towards the Orioles. Colorado native Kevin Gausman has also been a revelation this season for Baltimore's rotation.

Reasons to root against

In addition to the AL factor, the Orioles employ two players that have been suspended for PED use in Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis. Outside of Adam Jones, the Orioles really don't have too many position players who will play in this series that are exciting to watch.

Personal rank: 4 (my anti-AL bias is probably stronger than the average fan's)

2. Washington Nationals

Reasons to root for

Looking at the list above, we see that the Nationals benefit by being the lone NL playoff team that is not the Giants, Dodgers, or Cardinals. It's more than that though. The Nationals have a core of exciting young players, including stealth MVP contender Anthony Rendon (6.6 fWAR this year), Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, and Wilson Ramos. They pair that with arguably the deepest postseason rotation left in the tournament, with the criminally underrated Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, and Doug Fister joining Strasburg as tough matchups for any opponent.

Many Nationals fans weren't around in 1972, when the Washington Senators bolted town to become the Texas Rangers (11 years after a previous incarnation did the same thing to Minnesota). Washington fans haven't seen a postseason series victory since they won the World Series in 1924 - and that was the only postseason series victory they've ever had.

Reasons to root against

Perhaps you have bitter feelings for the way that this version of the Nationals came to be - taking the franchise from the fans of the Montreal Expos. Perhaps you just don't like Harper, Jayson Werth, or another Nationals player. Other than that though, the Nationals are the clear NL favorite for Rockies fans.

Personal rank: 2

1. Kansas City Royals

Reasons to root for

This one is almost entirely fan driven. Royals fans have suffered through 29 disastrous years of terrible ownership, a long-tenured but unsuccessful general manager, and failed prospect development at the major league level. Rockies fans, meet your AL doppelganger (ok, maybe the Twins fit here too). Though Colorado has been to the World Series in the last ten years, our fans fear what has happened to the Royals and realize that it could happen to us. On the field, the Royals play excellent defense, have an elite bullpen, and feature a starting rotation that holds up to playoff scrutiny.

Reasons to root against

If you root for the Royals, you'll also be rooting for GM Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost, men who have caused quite a bit of suffering amongst Royals fans. Their offense is pretty mediocre and they have the AL factor working against them, but it will be pretty hard to root against the Royals this postseason.

Personal rank: 3 (again, NL bias for me is stron)

So there you have it. In the four LDS match-ups, Rockies fans should pull for the Nationals, Cardinals, Orioles, and Royals to make it through. Beyond that, fans should root for the Royals or Orioles to win the AL and take on the Washington Nationals in the World Series. Per usual, I'll be alone in the corner rooting for the Cardinals.

As for who I think will win it all this year - I think the Dodgers will beat the Tigers in six games.