Playoff season is cheating season. Most of us are minus a significant other in the World Series chase. We are cold, and we are lonely. So we look for a temporary warm body.

As the Reds have kept us in this position for approximately three decades, we’re experienced wanderers by now. Maybe you have a secondary concubine who has already won your favor. Or maybe you hold out to examine this year’s crop as they walk past. Or– and I suspect this is where most of you are– you anti-cheer against the closest possible enemy and let karma take its course.

I have previously established my predilection for the Rockies, as we have built a deep personal connection consisting of me driving past their stadium this one time. Also I feel sorry for them. I’m a pity-cheerer. Never understood bandwagoning the likes of the Yankees or the Red Sox just because their swollen payroll usually results in a definite invitation to the prom. It seems an awfully mercenary way of life.

Nor am I a fashionable person, although the nauseating business of wearing a Chicago Bulls puffy jacket on a Cincinnati playground seems to have calmed down since the 90’s. I wish you joy of your $180 winter jacket that you bought in order to cheer on a team that plays mostly in July, but I shall content myself with my Baby Yoda Skyline tee, thank you very much.

This is much more of a temporary union. It’s extremely transactional. It lasts as long as your significant other does in the playoffs, and you are permitted to swap out any time you please. Note, however, that the sooner you swan into the chat with a winner on your arm, the more rizz you shall appear to have.

Cincinnati seems to have settled on the Rangers as our American League paramour. This is not so much of a wrenching decision, as we only see AL teams maybe once or twice a year and who cares what they’re up to the rest of the time. This year, the Rangers is the trophy wife of choice due to possessing the important virtue of not being the Astros.

The matter of the National League is more complicated; until recently, these were our enemies, even our direct chase-down opponents. Once we run the usual filter of Not the Cardinals and Not the Pirates, both of whom helpfully eliminated themselves this year, we are left with the Phillies and the Diamondbacks. Based on geography alone, I’m Arizona’s girl, but some of you might feel residual brotherhood from Pete Rose’s stint in Pennsylvania. And I get it; if you can’t date the hottie, date the hottie’s brother.

So: Who ya got, and why?

42 Responses

  1. Brian

    Spunky article! I’m pulling for the Phillies. They’re in the NL and I like Castellanos.

  2. Melvin

    I have a very hard time rooting for any team in the post season other than the Reds. I just don’t watch it most of the time. My memories always go back to re-watching the past World Series championships of 75, 76, & 90. :)….and kind of dreaming of it happening again. 🙂 The way it should be. Wish our owners had the same serious aspirations.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      At this point I just want this generation to experience baseball after the leaves start to turn.
      It’s not too much to ask.

  3. BK

    @Mary Beth, your writing is always phenomenal, and this is one of your very best. But to answer your question … no wandering for me. I only have eyes for the Reds! Thanks for putting this together!

  4. Mark Moore

    Pretty much Snakes or bust for me. I’ve yet to watch a complete post-season game. Maybe the Rangers if the Philadelphia club continues to prevail. But with far less enthusiasm. And my enthusiasm is already very low.

  5. LDS

    Is it really a side chick if Cincinnati has been cheating on you for decades?

  6. Kathrine Willson

    Someone’s got her sassy shirt on today! I think you hit the nail on the head. I don’t kiss and tell, so I’m keeping my ‘side piece’ to myself.

  7. Jim Walker

    There is still baseball being played?

  8. Votto4life

    I have been a Reds fan since 1972. Most of that time has been incredibly frustrating.

    I wish I could develop a rooting interest in a different team. I have tried a few times over the years. It just doesn’t work for me.

    I just can’t let go of the Reds, even though for most of the past 52 years it has been an unrequited love.

    • Doug Gray

      I know it’s not accepted as a good baseball movie, but it hits the sweet spot for me as a romcom and a bit of baseball – in Fever Pitch one of the kids on the school baseball team says “You love the Sox, but have they ever loved you back?” and it’s the perfect summation of fandom. We’re all lunatics.

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        (nods silently)
        But YEAH when the Reds come back from 5-0 in the 8th, I do feel like they kinda love me a little…

    • David

      I have sort of been a Red’s fan since….1961, my very earliest memory of the Reds in the World Series against the Yankees. They lost in 5 games.
      I really, really loved the 1970 team, and it was brutal that they lost to the Orioles in 5 games, a couple of them real poundings.
      Really sad the day that Lee May was traded to the Astros, but Joe Morgan blossomed in Cincinnati as a great player.
      A lot of fun over the years, even when they didn’t win the pennant, or even get into the playoffs.
      The 1990 team, as dodgy and odd as they sometimes seemed, won it all and swept the might A’s. So completely unpredictable.
      The 2010 team was pretty good, and absolutely flopped against the Phillies.
      Saw an awful lot of games in Riverfront stadium (it will never be Cinergy to me), even after they took the “bite” out of it to build GABP. I think the first game I saw there was in 1971. And saw Juan Marichal pitch an incredible game for the Giants for 8 innings against Jim McGlothlin, and then, the Reds rallied and won in the bottom of the 9th against Jerry Johnson, then the Giants closer.
      GABP is a really nice ballpark, and is really very fan friendly regarding seating, sight lines and generally watching a game.
      Now a days, just sitting in the stands on a warm summer’s evening and drinking a beer, watching the game, is plenty enjoyable.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Well put. One of the reasons I was so appalled that my best friend could put aside the Reds in favor of the O’s because she’d lived in MD longer… come on..

  9. Pablo

    I’m just really glad the Dodgers got bounced. Have hated them since our days in the NL West. Nothing really against our buddy Dusty but am hoping the Astros get sent home due to the taint of their cheating.

  10. Melissa

    Phillies obvs.

    We even call it “Red October” if that helps you come over to our side.

  11. NorMichRed

    There’s a lot to like about a playoff season where NYY, BOS, SF, NYM didn’t qualify at all and the LAD exited the building as quickly as was possible! My side chick in the AL is Texas, but I’d be more OK with HOU making it than most, because they DO play fun baseball, past cheating notwithstanding. (And Dusty, bless his heart, seems like an interesting person on so many levels whom I’d love to share a dinner with sometime.) My AL playoffs dilemma: The Tigers are my AL team of interest (and # 3 overall behind Reds and Rockies), and in the Texas Series, we have Verlander on one side of the aisle and Scherzer on the other. In the NL, even though it seems a hopeless cause, I’m with the Snakes because “that could’ve, maybe should’ve been us.” One trading deadline inning-eating SP pick-up, or two or so dumb personnel decisions not made by Mr. Bell, and we could have played the long odds of advancing as a wild card. And I don’t like Philly, except for finding it impossible not to root for Castellanos.

    I’m in my 70’s, have been a Reds fan since a young kid because their games on the radio were so much more fun to follow than the bad baseball played annually by my original home area team, Cleveland. I also followed the Tigers because of the audio portraits Ernie Harwell painted of their games. (And again, way better than Cleveland.) Ernie and Marty are on my baseball radio pxp Mount Rushmore. I was lucky enough to live in Cincinnati and see a lot of great baseball during the BRM era while in grad school in Bearcat Land. I also have the “pity following” for the Rockies like MBE because I got to introduce baseball to my sons while living there in the 1990’s, and was an original Rox season ticket holder. But OMG, their FO make Vegetable Bob and Junior look like baseball ownership/management geniuses, and we know that thought can’t pass the smell test!

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I’m so happy you shared this! Every baseball fan’s path is different and I’m glad yours matched up with the Reds at just the right time 🙂

  12. Carah the BFFE

    Let’s go O’s! Although now that Texas beat them I guess I have to hope that the Rangers go all the way… Because I could *never* root for the Phillies. 😉

  13. Dayton Ducks

    My 13-year-old son is a Phillies fan (traitor!) so watching his agony and ecstasy during their post-season run has pulled me into that realm. However—I’d be perfectly happy to see the Rangers get a ring. As always, love your writing Mary Beth!

  14. Mark Moore

    Snakes and Rangers as WS side chicks. I may actually be interested in seeing this one through now. 😀