It is difficult to see the Dodgers out of the division and wild-card race but I am not ready to give up on baseball just yet. The Dodgers have been out of it for quite a while and I don't have any other teams that I am a fan of in a playoff race.
The closest team to a rooting interest is the Tampa Bay Rays. They are neck-and-neck with the Yankees but they run their organization almost inversely to the fashion that the Yankees run their team. I don't like the Rays because of the David and Goliath dynamic; I like them because they have vast supplies of prospects and the players that are on their roster are versatile. The Rays are a model to every small-market team out there. I will be rooting for them in October.
The rest of the AL will provide some quality baseball. The Rangers have cooled off a bit but Cliff Lee. after a brief sputter, has regained his dominance on the mound, the Twins are a well-designed team that should give one of the AL East teams more trouble and the Yankees, despite their starting pitching problems, will hit the competition out of the park. The superior league will entertain and, without the Dodgers distracting me this year, I will be watching some AL baseball.
While the National League doesn't provide the same quality of baseball, I have stronger anti-rooting interests in baseball. First, the Phillies may have the best chance of taking the NL because they have demonstrated that they can do that and they are atop the NL now despite all the troubles they encountered this season. I hate the Phillies with a passion and I would like to see them eliminated before the playoffs because that would be a nice closing of their championship window.
I don't want the Reds to close it however because I hate the Reds as well. It's not the players fault, however, but it's Dusty Baker who I despise. The way he ruins pitching arms, haphazardly manages a clubhouse and hides behind his children and his laminated hate-mail is sickening and I don't want to see him enjoy as little success as possible.
That leaves the Braves, Giants and the Padres. I don't hate the Giants as much as most Dodgers fans do but they are the team out of the remaining bunch that I like the least. I would be alright with the Braves winning the NL but I am leaning towards rooting for the Padres. As many did, I laughed at the idea of the Padres enjoying any amount of success in 2010 and, as the months went by, they still remained and do to the present day. While the Reds are the only lock at this point for the playoffs, PECOTA gives the Pads the lowest chance of the five teams to make it, however, so I may be rooting for the Braves by default.
Also, the Rockies may have a small shot at making the playoffs but I would only root for them in October if they are playing the Reds or the Phillies.
I love the exclusivity of the MLB playoffs because it makes entering the playoffs special. The Red Sox may be better than any team in the NL but that is baseball.