I’ll be honest: I wasn’t rooting for the Cardinals to have the best record in the National League. Yes, it’s a great distinction to have and home field advantage is obviously a terrific benefit. But I didn’t want the Cardinals to play the wild card team in the division series.
Or either of these wild card teams, anyway.
Let me channel my inner-Brandon-Phillips (and I’m ready to puke just for typing those words) and let me make this clear: I hate the Reds. I hate Dusty Baker, I hate Johnny Cueto, I hate Bronson Arroyo — I could keep going down the list but I especially hate Phillips. Oh, and Thom Brennaman. And sorry, Ryan Ludwick, I even hate you when you have that uniform on. So, the 19 times that the Cardinals have already played them this season is much more than enough.
I hate the Reds. Go away, be done, go home.
Which brings me to the Pirates.
And the fact I like the Pirates.
It was just a month ago that I was in Pittsburgh for the Labor Day weekend series against the Cards, and I met a lot of great Pirates fans who then were all excited and must be out of their minds today.
I like a good story. I like Clint Hurdle. I like Andrew McCutchen. (Duh.) I like Neil Walker, and love that he’s from Pittsburgh and is part of this particular team. (He’s their own David Freese!) I like their overly excitable broadcaster Greg Brown. (Well, more than Thom Brennaman. And probably more than Dan McLaughlin.) I like that tonight’s game is at PNC Park and everyone’s supposed to wear black, and I absolutely love that McCutchen’s mom is singing the National Anthem.
And, obviously, I want them to win — especially because they’re playing the Reds.
Yet them winning also scares me. Not enough to make me root for the Reds — uh, never. Not in a million years. But a Cardinals-Pirates division series? After the 19 games they’ve already played?
Yes, I know the season records — Pirates have won 10 of those 19 and the Cards swept the last three games at Busch and all of that. And I don’t want to get too far ahead and think about it too much, because I am superstitious and don’t want to jinx anything. But, in summary, things are different in October.
Even if, as a Cards fan friend said at work yesterday, these Pirates remind her of the 2011 Cardinals. Which is terrifying.
Still, I have to root for them. Because I can’t not want them to win.
And I’ll deal with the consequences of that tomorrow.
Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.