It’s obviously less than ideal that it’s been two years since the cubs were last in the playoffs, but many of us who love baseball will continue to watch the games and our fandom will report who we cheer for in those contests. This year the bracket is set and full of intriguing match-ups that feature rivals, former beloved players and more. So, as I have in the past year, I took all the angst from recent trade deadlines, years of hating the Cardinals and Yankees, and funneled it all into this Wild Card Series Cubs Fan Guide. i’ll have separate posts once the division series opens. but first, let’s take a look at the bracket:
Guardians over Rays: The Jed Hoyer aspirational bracket
Neither team in this corner of the pack paid their players more than $100 million in 2022 according to spotrac and both made the playoffs anyway. it’s every venture capitalist and aspiring consultant’s dream of the most successful season possible.
don’t you believe me? let’s look at the shortstop and payroll situation on both teams. Despite signing Wander Franco to the largest contract extension in Tampa Bay franchise history, the Rays are 25th on MLB payroll at $99,517,029. Meanwhile, the Guardians traded shortstop Francisco Lindor and his growing payroll to the Mets. They replaced him with Andres Gimenez, who had a league-low 6-fwar season and didn’t reach arbitration until 2024. The Guardians came in 28th in total payroll at $82,057,492 according to Spotrac. as I said. this corner of the group is a consultant’s dream.
i honestly hate that either of these teams gets rewarded for spreadsheet expertise, but since someone has to win this series my heart is with cleveland, who has the longest active world series win drought. they last won the title 72 seasons ago in 1949. we all know what happened the last time they made it to the world series in 2016. very few established fanbases would be as overjoyed at winning it all, and i am here for ending long championship droughts when all other factors are equal.
tiles on sailors: how dare you make me choose support
Speaking of long championship droughts on equal terms, I love this team of sailors. They are the only team in MLB that has never appeared in a World Series. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2001. They signed rookie sensation Julio Rodriguez to an extension that may be my favorite contract extension in baseball history. he guarantees you live money for playing baseball, and he has scales and clauses that could make him the highest paid player in the history of the game if he earns it.
the problem is i adopted the blue jays a few weeks ago because alek manoah is an amazing human being who took to twitter to defend his teammate alejandro kirk after a canadian radio host made some unfortunate comments about kirk. Manoah won $100,000 for being a nice guy and quickly donated it to charity. incredible.
Blue Jays also rake. they have vladito, bo bichette and matt chapman. they have a literal home run jacket that they pass when someone hits a bomb. I fell in love with them on opening day and honestly just check this out. the oropendolas tried to push their wall back to contain long balls and vladimir Guerrero jr. he doesn’t have any of that :
just to be clear, if the sailors beat my darling blue jays, i’ll be jumping on the seattle bandwagon real quick. but until that happens, i’m dreaming of a world series of phillies vs. blue jays, and the real question is, why not you?
Phillies over Cardinals: The Kyle Schwarber hits bombs bracket
There have been some really great kyle schwarber moments in the postseason, but the granddaddy of them all is this 2015 home run that blew out kevin siegrist as the cubs swept the cardinals in the nlds:
That ball landed on top of the video board in right field. it’s an impressive home run in its own right, but like a dagger in the hearts of Cardinals fans in the playoffs, it truly is perfection.
cubs are dumb, so kyle schwarber has played for three other teams between 2015 and now, but the team currently using his skills to crush baseball is the philadelphia philles. the phillies are lined up to face my most hated team in any sport, the st. louis cardenals and honestly, this story writes itself.
parents on mets: the money fork
If guardians and lightning bolts are the frugal support of cocky consultants, parents and mets are the opposite support of partying billionaires. they are trying to buy a championship and they are not shy about it. Mets flew passed the luxury tax like it didn’t exist. They boast a leading MLB payroll of $281,559,066 according to Spotrac, almost $50 million more than the fifth-place MLB parents and their tally of $236,176,566.
In a league where it seems like half the teams aren’t even interested in trying, the parents have gone to great lengths to try and win. added juan soto, josh bell and brandon drury at the trade deadline. Former cub Yu Darvish has had an incredible year with a 3.10 era in 194⅓ innings pitched. After him, parents have plenty of great options like Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove, and, preseason trade acquisition, Sean Manaea.
the mets are going to open a three-game series with max scherzer and jacob degrom starting. they will challenge parents to hit the baseball. Two weeks ago it seemed like a surefire way to win the National League East. However, both Scherzer and Degrom have looked deadly in recent weeks, and now the Mets will have to hope their pitching prowess earns them a series of wild cards if they want their season to continue.
It will be amazing to see these two payroll giants, full of talent and angst, square off for a shot at the division series. it’s going to be agonizing for their fan bases to have all those plans and paychecks reduced to this. as a neutral match, it’s going to be tremendous sports tv. I have to get back in the spirit of making (most of) these picks based on championship droughts, so hopefully the Padres, who have never won a world series in franchise history, come out on top.