This is not actually a guide to watching the World Series from the perspective of a Cardinals’ fan. Or maybe it is. Hard to say. I’m a bit conflicted.
Over the past season, I’ve heard plenty of vitriol and complaining and insults from Cubs fans. I’ve also heard some of the same from Cardinals fans. I also know and like people who would be genuinely happy to see the Cubs win a World Series. If I cheer for the Cubs, I am cheering against my own fandom. If I cheer against them, I root for a small bit of misery for people I know so others I don’t know will be happy. What does it say about me that I’m probably going to root for Cleveland? Altruistic? Loyal? Disloyal? Selfish? Mean? I’m a bit conflicted.
Given that the above paragraph might make me a terrible person, or at least a less good person than I’d like to be, I’m not sure I should be providing great advice on what you should do for the World Series.
Root for whichever team you want. Watch or don’t watch. Hope for a good series that goes seven games. Pray for a sweep to end the season as swiftly as possible. Wish for a meltdown in the bottom of the ninth by Aroldis Chapman. Hope Jason Heyward finds redemption. Cheer for an end to the suffering of Cubs fans who love baseball more than basketball and hockey or who don’t live anywhere near Chicago and didn’t root for the Bulls and Blackhawks as they won championship after championship. Do the same for those in Cleveland who have suffered through the Browns and Indians for decades and don’t really care for the NBA. Resolve the conflicts inside you.
The Cubs are a very good team, but Cubs fans don’t deserve a championship. Some of these fans are good people who do the right thing and don’t have big egos. Those people don’t deserve to see a Cubs win. They deserve to have jobs they enjoy, fulfilling lives, and friends and family who love and appreciate them. If they have those things, then they definitely don’t deserve a Cubs championship. They already have plenty. Although, I’m sure a Cubs championship would be nice for them.
ACTUAL BASEBALL ANALYSIS
Skill comes into play on the players’ side, but like everything, there is a lot of luck involved. When the playoffs come around, for my non-Cardinals interest, I tend to cheer for players who I think “deserve” a title due to their long, productive careers. The Texas Rangers were that team for me this year (and last) due to Adrian Beltre along with their midseason addition of Carlos Beltran. Among position players, they rank second and third among active players in fWAR, behind only Albert Pujols. Ichiro and David Wright are the only other position players in the top-ten without a title and they sit 10-15 WAR behind Beltran.
The highest active WAR in the World Series belongs to 27-year-old Jason Heyward at 29.3. The only other players even above 20 WAR for their careers playing in the World Series without a ring are 30-year-old Carlos Santana, who has 20.2 WAR and 30-year-old Corey Kluber, who has 21.2. So there’s really no long-suffering player to cheer for here.
ACTUAL BASEBALL ANALYSIS OVER
I’m probably going to root for Cleveland. I really want to see the series go to seven games because I love baseball and the season is almost over. As for you, root for whichever team you want. Have your own reasons. Feel free to explain them or not explain them. Just be honest with yourself. Or don’t. Try to enjoy the World Series. Or something else. I will. But I might not. I’m still conflicted.