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2012 MLB Playoff Bandwagon Rankings

2012 MLB Playoff Bandwagon Rankings

Yes, the MLB playoffs start today, and no, the Phillies aren't involved. It was a close call to being a close call there for a minute, but ultimately, the Phillies fell out, and few could reasonably argue that they were one of the ten best MLB teams this year, anyway. So while we continued to keep an eye on the Phillies as they looked to the future (sort of) with the likes of Domonic Brown, Tyler Cloyd and Darin Ruf, some of us started scouting the teams that had an actual chance of playing beyond Game 162—four of whom start play today, in a pair of play-in games, with the other six that made it kicking off over the weekend.

Assuming you're not busy pretending that the reason the Phillies missed the playoffs is because of some MLB-wide agreement to just kind of take a pass on the post-season this year, you might want to pick a team to follow and root for for the remainder of October. But which? Well, we've ranked the candidates, from least to most followable:

10. St. Louis Cardinals

A friend of mine told me last night that he was rooting for the Cardinals last night for the specific, asshole-ish reason that it would make the most people unhappy to see them win. Think that's about right—outside of St. Louis, who the hell wants to see the boring-ass reigning-champion Cards win? Certainly not Phillies fans, who have yet to stop smarting from that humiliating Game 5 shutout loss in the Division Series last year. It would've been so very poetic to catch the Cards for the second wildcard spot after we allowed them to backdoor their way in last year, but failing that, the best we can do is root for anyone and everyone playing against them this post-season.

9. New York Yankees

Rooting for the Yankees is never OK.

8. Atlanta Braves

Rooting for the Braves is only slightly less never OK, only because there's an argument to be made that Chipper Jones is an OK guy and this is his last time around and all. Still, mostly fuck the Braves.

7. San Francisco Giants

The other most recent Philly-slayers, with a roster still fairly similar to that which kicked the WFCs out of the playoffs in 2010. They've switched Pat Burrell for Hunter Pence, and while we wish Hunt the best, it's still hard to root for the likes of Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum and that damn Giants bullpen with memories of that series still fresh. No Cody Ross or Juan Uribe at least, and Brian Wilson is still out with injury, otherwise they might be even lower.

6. Cincinnati Reds

No real beef with the Reds here—I'm not gonna get on 'em too much for having the temerity to get swept by the Phils in the 2010 NLDS—but they're just kind of a boring team, outside of their Nasty Boys II-esque bullpen. Joey Votto is a great player, but the most notable thing about him is how many walks he takes, and the veteran likes of Brandon Phillips and Bronson Arroyo are kinda whatever in the bandwagoning sense. Plus, the presence of Scott Rolen probably isn't going to endear this team to Phillies fans anytime soon.

5. Oakland Athletics

Not exactly a ton of big names on this roster—anyone who could actually tell Brandon Moss from Jonny Gomes from Derek Norris in a police lineup either probably lives in the Bay Area, watches baseball for a living or maybe wants to reconsider the amount of time they spend watching Extra Innings. Still, it's hard not to get swept up in the excitement of having good baseball in Oakland after six years of just absolute irrelevancy—in a year that started off as a rebuilding write-off, no less. Cool uniforms, fun memories of both the Bash Brothers and the Moneyball-era teams, great end-of-season run...you could do a lot worse than hopping on with the A's.

4. Washington Nationals

Yeah, yeah, division rivals, and they certainly didn't treat us too kind in 2012, but c'mon—rooting against the Nats is a little like rooting against the little brother you've spent a decade giving noogies and wet willies too when they finally stick up for themselves for the first time. It's cute at first, maybe even a little heartwarming—you just hope they don't end up totally flipping the script on you. So for now, we'll give the Nats a little bandwagon love in their first big moment as an actual MLB franchise, with an extra shoutout to our old guy Jayson Werth, for whom we still mostly want good things.

3. Texas Rangers

They're only a step or two away from being Yankees south, and any underdog follow-along potential the Rangers might have had a couple years ago has long since dissipated with their incredible run of prosperity since. That said, the Rangers are still a sympathetic team by virtue of their two consecutive Series losses—already halfway to becoming baseball's Buffalo Bills—with the last one being a particularly heart-rending choke job. Plus, some exciting players on both offense and defense, endless cutaways to a crotchety Nolan Ryan in the audience, warm thoughts in Arlington...who'd root against them getting a third-straight chance at the brass ring?

2. Detroit Tigers

Not a sexy pick, perhaps, but they've got arguably both the game's best hitter and pitcher, an insane closer, the league's most likeable old-timey manager (not counting the one in our own dugout anyway) some very classy uniforms, a terminally depressed city and nearly three decades since their last win. Assuming that FOX and TBS don't beat the Bob Seger and Kid Rock jams to death during their games, nothing wrong with a deep run for the Tigers.

1. Baltimore Orioles

Possible former hometown bias here, as the Orioles were the first team I ever rooted for, but if you're not going to root for the Orioles this year, you might not get another chance for a long, long time. It was among the flukiest of flukes that the O's even got here—they had a negative run differential for nearly the entire season, and won an absolutely unconscionable number of one-run and extra-inning games—and beyond regular All-Stars Adam Jones and Matt Wieters, their core of players (Chris David, Mark Reynolds, Jason Hammel...uhh, Chris Tillman? Nate McLouth?) doesn't exactly scream Future Dynasty.

For a team that's been bad just about ever since Jeffrey Maier comped Derek Jeter a home run in the '96 playoffs, this might be their one shot. They'll have a tough out in the play-in game tonight against Texas, and no one would begrudge them if the Rangers—a fairly obviously superior team, despite the identical records—ended up dispatching them. But unless you're old enough to still be holding a grudge against Baltimore for their '83 World Series victory, may as well give rooting for them a shot, no?

CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

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CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

About NBC internships

Jake Elliott drills 2 field goals in game's final minute to push Eagles past Giants

Jake Elliott drills 2 field goals in game's final minute to push Eagles past Giants

BOX SCORE

Jake Elliott is getting a free beer tonight. Anywhere in Philadelphia.

The Eagles' rookie kicker drilled a 61-yard field goal as the clock ran out to give the Eagles a 27-24 win at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.

After giving fans heart attacks throughout the Delaware Valley, the Eagles pulled off a tight win on Sunday afternoon at the Linc.

The Eagles let the Giants back into the game, but were able to take them down 27-24.

With the win, the Eagles improve to 2-1 on the season and are 2-0 in the division. Meanwhile, the Giants are off to a disastrous start at 0-3.

The Giants came into the weekend against the ropes and the Eagles might have delivered the knockout punch. Although it wasn't pretty. It'll be extremely tough for the Giants to rebound from an 0-3 start.

The Eagles defense was pitching a shutout until the fourth quarter and they were doing it without four starters on defense. They didn't have Rodney McLeod or Ronald Darby and then they lost Fletcher Cox and Jordan Hicks during the game.

The Giants were shutout on their first seven drives but put up 21 points in less than six minutes in the fourth quarter.

On offense, Doug Pederson actually called running plays and they worked. LeGarrette Blount led the way and the Eagles were able to make big gains on the ground against the Giants' talented front four.

Turning point
The field goal. Duh.

Key stat
The 61-yarder from Elliott is a franchise record.

Key plays
•Alshon Jeffery caught a 19-yard pass to put the Eagles in field goal range and Elliott came through.

•Elliott hit a 46-yard field goal to tie the game at 24-24 with 51 seconds left.

•Malcolm Jenkins was called for a pass interference that led to the Giants' field goal that put them up 24-21.

•Torrey Smith was able to draw a huge 36-yard defensive pass interference and rookie Corey Clement ran for a 15-yard touchdown on the next play to tie the score at 21-21.

•Sterling Shepard caught a quick slant in front of Patrick Robinson and Chris Maragos couldn't make the play as Shepard went for a 77-yard touchdown to give the Giants a 21-14 lead.

•Odell Beckham Jr. made a ridiculous one-handed catch in the end zone to tie the game at 14-14. Jalen Mills had tight coverage but it didn't matter.

•Zach Ertz caught a quick pass but then fumbled the ball away to give the Giants great field position at the Eagles' 33-yard line.

•The Giants broke the shutout early in the fourth quarter, when Eli Manning hit Beckham Jr. for a 10-yard touchdown. After the play, Beckham was flagged for his celebration. He acted like a dog and fake urinated on the field.

•The Eagles stopped the Giants on 4th-and-2 late in the third quarter. They made it down to the Eagles' 13-yard line before the stop. Tim Jernigan provided the pressure and Patrick Robinson broke up the pass. The play before, Mills had a great PBU.

•On a broken play, Wentz tried to hit Jeffery deep but Eli Apple tackled him before the ball got there. That 41-yard pass interference penalty set up the second touchdown of the game and helped the Eagles go up 14-0.

•Mychal Kendricks tipped up a Manning pass and Robinson pulled in an interception. It was their second of the day.

•Elliott missed a 52-yarder that would have given them a two-score game early in the third quarter. He had plenty of leg but pulled it left.

•The Eagles dropped running back Orleans Darkwa for a one-yard loss on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line late in the second quarter. Vinny Curry blew up the play and Joe Walker helped take Darkwa down.

•On the play before the goal line stand, Shepard should have had a touchdown but he couldn't complete the catch to the ground. The Eagles got away with one there.

•The Giants had a short field to work with on their near-touchdown drive because of an over-aggressive play call from Pederson. The Eagles' head coach went for it on 4th-and-8 at the Giants' 43-yard line. Wentz was sacked for a loss. The Eagles could have punted and tried to pin the feeble Giants offense deep.

•Rasul Douglas got his first career interception in the second quarter when Manning tried to hit Brandon Marshall deep down the left side of the field. The rookie high-pointed the ball and brought it down.

•It wasn't really a play but the Eagles' 18-play, 90-yard drive in the first half was a beauty. They took 9:34 off the clock before Blount punched in a one-yard touchdown.

•During that drive, Wentz pulled off another crazy Houdini move on third down. He somehow slipped away from would-be tacklers and scrambled for an 11-yard gain and a first down to keep it going.

Offensive stud
Maybe Blount got a chance to introduce himself to Pederson this week. After not getting a single carry last week, Blount had a big game against the Giants.

Offensive dud
Chance Warmack started the game at left guard, gave up a sack and was then pulled for Stefen Wisniewski. He returned but didn't do much.

And Ertz just can't fumble the ball in that situation.

Defensive stud
Kendricks had a big game. He had the assist on the interception and a big run stuff later.

Defensive dud
It's hard to give this to Mills, but we'll have to. He actually had a pretty good game but couldn't stop Beckham Jr. on the two touchdowns. It's fair to say there aren't many who would have been able to stop him, though.

Injuries
The Eagles were without McLeod (hamstring), Jaylen Watkins (hamstring), Corey Graham (hamstring), Darby (ankle) and Destiny Vaeao (wrist) for the game.

Cox (calf), Hicks (ankle) and Darren Sproles (wrist) left the game in the first half and did not return.

Up next
The Eagles will be in Los Angeles next week to take on the Chargers. It'll be the first of two trips to LA this season.