With the World Cup beginning yesterday with a SPOILER ALERT 3-1 victory for hosts Brazil over Croatia, many baseball fans will be splitting time between their usual following of their favourite baseball teams as well as keeping tabs on their adopted country for the biggest tournament in the world. It seems like a perfect time to combine the two sports and find the World Cup team that fans of each of the American League East teams should be cheering for down in Brazil. If the current standings are any indication, then whoever matches up with the Blue Jays is winning the crown, while the Rays twin is likely crashing and burning out of the group stages. Without further ado, let's get matching!
Boston Red Sox - Brazil
It doesn't get a whole lot easier than this. First the argument in GIF form!
Boston and Brazil both have massive fan bases and people who aren't from the specific geographical location of these teams still cheer for them because they win! Ask a random person wearing a Brazil jersey in Iowa who is on the team and they probably answer Ronaldinho, while the answer to the same guy in a Red Sox jersey likely ends up being Manny Ramirez.
Unfortunately for people who love to hate these teams, they've both won major tournaments in the past year. The Red Sox of course brought home the World Series last fall and Brazil won the Confederations Cup last summer. If the 2014 Red Sox are any indication, Brazil better savour their trophy from last year because it doesn't seem likely they'll get another one just a month from today.
New York Yankees - Uruguay
This selection is a little tougher because you essentially have to answer the question, "What World Cup squad does everyone hate". The answer to that varies from region to region, but it's a safe bet that almost everyone dislikes Luis Suarez for all of his racist, biting, handball shenanigans in the past couple years. The Yankees and Uruguay both have likeable players such as Edinson Cavani and Ichiro alongside veterans that everyone at least respects in Diego Forlan and Derek Jeter. But the sum of the parts is so putrid, that it's impossible not to root against them every time they take the field. Both teams are usually in the discussion for winning trophies, but oftentimes they end up falling just short allowing everyone else in the world to breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Baltimore Orioles - Netherlands
The Baltimore Orioles and the Dutch National Team both find themselves in weird positions currently, with an unpredictable mix of young and old providing the possibility of challenging for a title, but more likely just staying in contention before being eliminated by more experienced competition. Veterans like Nelson Cruz and Arjen Robben provide the skill and experience needed to make deep runs. They also are similar in the fact that Nelson Cruz can only bat from the right side of the plate, while Robben can only do things with his left foot likely including walking and driving.
They also have skilled players with question marks over their heads because they do crazy things, such as:
THESE SORTS OF ACTIVITIES ARE AGAINST THE RULES!
Cheer for Netherlands and Baltimore if you want to see them in a World Cup quarterfinal or a MLB Wild Card game (or if you're Woodman663).
Tampa Bay Rays - Belgium
The easiest connection between an American League East team and a World Cup squad has to be Tampa Bay and Belgium. Both teams are oh so 'sexy' and are loved by people who want to cheer for a team that is under the radar. The people saying Belgium goalie Thibaut Courtois is the best keeper in the world are the same people saying Ben Zobrist is the most underrated player in baseball. They may be right, but they may also be annoying. Both teams were also horrid for a long period of time and fans had lost hope before a new wave of talent came along like Eden Hazard and David Price.
Both squads looked like contenders for championships entering 2014, but if Tampa Bay is any indication, Belgium is about to be demolished by Algeria, Russia, and South Korea. Don't cheer for the cool Belgians, it's not worth the heartache!
Toronto Blue Jays - Argentina
The Blue Jays and Argentina have serious talent. Lionel Messi and Jose Bautista are arguably the top players in their respective sports, but it hasn't come together yet when it matters the most. Argentina should be good, but they haven't made it to the World Cup Final since 1990, while the Blue Jays obviously haven't done anything since 1993. While there's a ton of talent on the field, the teams have never come together to do anything serious and 2014 could be the year it all works out for Argentina and Toronto.
See the resemblance?
So if you're a Blue Jays fan without a World Cup squad, cheer for Messi and the Argentineans. If you already have a dog in the fight let us know in the comments. Personally, I'll be cheering for Les Éléphants of Ivory Coast. Enjoy the baseball and enjoy the soccer!