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The Player By Player Guide To Who You Should Pull For In the World Series

Woo, Mookie! Boo, Manny! With this guide, you’ll know exactly who you should be cheering for in each World Series at-bat!

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So your team has been eliminated from the playoffs (or from baseball entirely — everyone please go make a home visit to your neighborhood Orioles fan). That’s okay! The leaves are changing, there’s always tomorrow or whatever, and, praise be Abner Doubleday, there’s still more baseball to watch! The problem, of course, is determining for which bank-bloated, bandwagon-burdened, evil empire to cheer.

I am here to help you! Let’s break down each team’s roster by player and decide whether you should cheer for them or not (excluding the meaningless roster-fillers for whom you should neither cheer nor heckle). It should be noted that, as it turns out, I am mostly very nice and want people to be happy.

Nathan Eovaldi (Red Sox)

Eovaldi was drafted by the Dodgers, then traded, then highly touted, then surgically-repaired with Tommy John for a second time. Now he’s back.

Should you cheer for him? Yes.

Justin Turner (Dodgers)

Turner’s journey from slap-hitting Mets third basemen to one of the best hitters in all of baseball is certainly inspiring. Also inspiring? This rumor from last year about him shaving his respectable but untenable beard if the Dodgers win. Maybe an L.A. win is for the greater good? I don’t know what to think.

Should you cheer for him? I guess?

Joe Kelly (Red Sox)

Joe Kelly is a grown man who throws 100 MPH fastballs at others when he gets his feelings hurt.

Should you cheer for him? No.

Chris Taylor (Dodgers)

Taylor is a scrawny-looking fella who plays exceptional defense all over the field. Highly recommended for the old school baseball fan in your midst.

Should you cheer for him? Yes.

Craig Kimbrel (Red Sox), Kenley Jansen (Dodgers)

Nice guys. Best strikeout pitchers in major league history. Do we want them to fail? Not exactly.

Should you cheer for them? No, but only until it looks like they or a family member might start crying, then yes.

Drew Pomeranz (Red Sox)

Drew Pomeranz composed a 6.20 ERA in 74 innings this season. For the sake of Drew Pomeranz and his loved ones, cheer for Drew Pomeranz.

Should you cheer for him? Yes.

Yasiel Puig (Dodgers)

Let the kids play, man. For what it’s worth, my Dad — whose all-time favorite player is Jose Canseco — loves Puig.

Should you cheer for him? ABSOLUTELY yes.

Rick Porcello (Red Sox)

You know what? Sure.

Should you cheer for him? Yes.

Joc Pederson (Dodgers)

Joc Pederson became a dad last week! Joc Pederson is going to have an all-time dad bod, I’m convinced. Also, he and I have the same birthday! Finally, his eff-you launch-angled swing is heavenly.

Should you cheer for him? For sure, yes.

David Price (Red Sox)

Price has famously struggled in the playoffs. He has also famously given back to his community. His performance to close out Game 5 of the ALCS seemed to lift 17,000 pounds off his shoulders. You should definitely pull for David Price.

Should you cheer for him? Yes.

Max Muncy (Dodgers)

Woo, boy, what a story. Muncy, who’s the best power hitter in the entire World Series, was teamless and taking BP from his dad in the middle of the 2017 year.

Should you cheer for him? Absolutely you should.

Chris Sale (Red Sox)

Only because it’s fun to watch strikeouts. You hear that, K-bemoaners? It is fun! Not so fun: cutting up your team’s jerseys.

Should you cheer for him? Begrudgingly.

Manny Machado (Dodgers)

I wanted to be contrarian and say that you should cheer for October’s newest villain. He’s fun to watch — swinging and fielding with such effortless violence — but the shenanigans have gotten old.

Should you cheer for him? Nah.

Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox)

Bogaerts, a 20 year-old rookie who was in over his head in Boston’s last trip to the World Series, is now a full-blown star. Plus, Xander jams DMX as his walk-up music, which I respect.

Should you cheer for him? Yes.

Matt Kemp (Dodgers)

Dude seems like a nice guy or whatever, but he seems only to care about his weight and athletic physique when he’s playing in Los Angeles and/or dating Rihanna. I resent his lunch-angle approach.

Should you cheer for him? No.

Rafael Devers (Red Sox)

Still just 21 years old, this babyfaced monster has three homers in just ten career postseason games. Would it be awesome to see him blast one into the SoCal night? Indeed it would.

Should you cheer for him? Yes.

Yasmani Grandal (Dodgers)

Grandal had the best season for a catcher north of JT Realmuto, and yet, in a contract year, has had a rather unflattering postseason, allowing something like seventeen passed balls, striking out with great frequency, losing his job, and getting booed by his own fans. The man has a family, for goodness’ sake. Cheer for Yasmani.

Should you cheer for him? Yes.

Andrew Benintendi (Red Sox)

The Red Sox’s left fielder is a joy to watch, making awesome catches and unfurling his gorgeous hair — er, lefty swing — on casual baseball fans just dropping into the playoff action. He’s easy to pull for.

Should you cheer for him? For sure.

David Freese (Dodgers)

David Freese has, um, had his moment(s) in the sun. I would not like to see him tomorrow night.

Should you cheer for him? No way.

Mookie Betts (Red Sox)

Mookie plays with childlike verve. Mookie is shorter than you. Mookie is a world-class bowler. Mookie is from my hometown. Mookie is insecure about his baseball abilities (in other news, Mookie is like you and me; unlike you and me, Mookie is the MVP).

Should you cheer for him? DEFINITELY.

Cody Bellinger (Dodgers)

Cody Bellinger, the defending National League MVP, feels like a forgotten man, both in the cadre of up and coming young superstars and even in his own lineup. But watching Bellinger makes me think he thinks the object of baseball is to swing the bat in such a way that you destroy the baseball’s inner core. It’s awesome.

Should you cheer for him? Yes.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (Red Sox)

JBJ is an exceptional centerfielder, capable of making insane catches and going on nutty hot streaks. He seems to be on his way to one of those right now.

Should you cheer for him? You know, I think yes.

Walker Buehler (Dodgers)

Buehler…might be the Dodgers’ best starter, question mark? He throws gas, and carries himself well for a young rookie. He went to Vanderbilt, so there are some bonus points for me. There was something about his stoic sadness after Ronald Acuna hit a grand slam off him that makes it seem like it would be fun to watch that happen again, kind of a Manning Face Lite.

Should you cheer for him? Yeah, but I understand if you want to see him give up a big homer.

JD Martinez (Red Sox)

Perhaps the best overall hitter in the majors had a mid-career renaissance after being cut by the Astros. Don’t cry for JD, though — he’s now become well-compensated, and is the Red Sox Jedi hitting master.

Should you cheer for him? He’s still got enough of that out-of-nowhere vibe left on him to cheer for, so…yes!

Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)

Clayton Kershaw is the best dadgum pitcher of his generation. And yet — well, you know. It would be heartbreaking to see him fail again at this level. And it might be just as heartbreaking to see him pitch well and the Dodgers still lose. It’s not about legacy anymore — if he retired in twenty minutes he’d be in the Hall of Fame — it’s about Kershaw getting some validation for a historic career.

Should you cheer for him? You should cheer like crazy for Kershaw.

As for which team you should cheer for? You should not cheer for either team. You should yearn for the happiness of Kershaw and Betts and Muncy and Price. And if they succeed, maybe we’ll all be happy.