After reading Night Owl's post on his ranking (in order of preference) of all 30 Major League Baseball teams, I decided to join him in the sort of blog-around. It's always interesting to see where your favorite team makes it on the list of someone else's ranking, and to see the reasoning behind how they ranked the teams on the list. You may not agree, but at least you'll be entertained. And if you're a Cubs fan, just leave now.
1. Milwaukee Brewers
I suppose it goes without saying that Milwaukee is and always will be my favorite baseball team. Not only was I raised a Brewers fan, spoon fed full helpings of Bratwurst and Bob Uecker every summer, but my first baseball game was a Brewers game. My first autograph was from a Brewers player. My first t-ball uniform had the name "Molitor" in iron-on letters on the back. As an adult, it is only the icing on the top that their mascot is a guy who used to slide down into a barrel of suds every time they hit a home run.
2. Minnesota Twins
I grew up about an hour from the Metrodome (on Wisconsin soil, though, no worries) and as a child I saw the vast majority of my ballgames there at the dome. I will always watch them when the Brewers aren't on TV. Also, a few years ago catcher Joe Mauer donated $1.7 million to save the high school I graduated from. I'll be glad when that stupid dome is down and they have real baseball there again.
3. Atlanta Braves
Mostly because they USED to be the Milwaukee Braves, and also during my childhood (the peak card collection years) the Braves were awesome to watch - Dave Justice, Ron Gant, Tom Glavine, Steve Avery, John Smoltz, Mark Lemke, SID BREAM! I was on the big screen at Turner Field on July 4th, 2004 when the Braves played the Red Sox wearing my dress white uniform. So I got that going for me. Which is nice.
4. Tampa Bay Rays
That's "Devil Rays" if you don't mind being fined. I like these guys because they are young, Joe Maddon is an awesome manager who truly knows the game of baseball inside and out, and they literally went from worst to first. In one year. Not because they signed a bunch of expensive free agents, but because they stuck with their system and it finally paid off. It's a shame they didn't win the Series, but the Phils are okay too.
5. Texas Rangers
Nolan Ryan. The greatest pitcher the game has ever seen. Red, White and Blue. Don't Mess With Texas. And last but not least? George Bush. Kenny Rogers will always occupy a special place in my heart. I've always had a good time in Texas whenever I've visited family down there, so here ya go folks.
6. Cleveland Indians
To me, the good ol days of baseball are the days portrayed in the movie "Major League": High socks with stirrups, huge guys with a mouth full of chaw, crazy fans w/ 80's haircuts and t-shirts, and drunken broadcasters. The modern-day Tribe has alot to offer. I'll give you 5 names, and you tell me 5 guys from a single team better than them (the Brewers don't count): Sizemore, Hafner, Garko (when he's hot), Peralta, and DeRosa. Perhaps the most under-achieving lineup in baseball. Hopefully this year is better for the Tribe.
7. Baltimore Orioles
Brooks Robinson was possibly the greatest 3rd baseman ever, and combined with Cal Ripken, Jr, watching the O's as a kid planted them firmly in my all-time Top 10 of favorite teams (or, rather, teams I "wouldn't mind seeing win a game or two here and there").
8. Pittsburgh Pirates
Before the Brewers moved back to the National League, the Pirates were always a non-threat, and had the coolest uniforms ever (aside from the 80's Astros garb) complete with the Abe Lincoln hat and plenty of yellow. Yellow is a great color, regardless the circumstance. I want the Brewers to bring back the early 90's uniforms (ball and glove logo) with the script Milwaukee or Brewers on the chest, because that yellow just pops so great.
Now that the Brewrs are back in the National League, well, the Bucs are still a non-threat. Thanks for taking our place at the bottom of the division, guys.
9. Philadelphia Phillies
I love Chase Utley, he's a scrappy player who will go a long way if he stays healthy. Jimmy Rollins has the funniest commercial on TV right now...check it out...
Aside from that, they represent the Northeast in a great way, perhaps the way all the other teams from that part of the country should do business.
10.Kansas City Royals
I'm not going to say pity, because that's not the word. But I do feel something for these guys. Also a non-threat to the Brewers, they pad the schedule for the Twins so that's a big factor on my list. Before the Angels of Anaheim from Los Angeles in California no longer owned by Disney built their new house, the Royals had the only outfield flowing water structure in the league. It's still the best, too.
11. Houston Astros
If for no other reason than their old uniforms (and Nolan Ryan) the Astros reside in the top 15 of my list. It's always nice, too, when the Brewers travel down to Minute Maid Park and hit homers over that toy train in left field. Tomorrow's main post will reveal to you another reason why the Astros were able to climb nearly 4 spots to #11 for the 2009 season. Let's just say, I did a little happy dance after I checked the mail today. Good things, good things.
12. Oakland A's
Who else in all of professional sports wears a picture of an animal not at all associated with their current city or mascot as a logo on their uniform? Combine that with a city that barely realizes that they still have a baseball team, an organization that could give Jason Giambi a second contract, and a guy named Bobby Crosby, you have #12 on my list.
13. San Diego Padres
After visiting San Diego and Petco Park back in '07, the Padres climbed up my list. I love the old brown and yellow unis (again, the theme of yellow). I also love Tony Gywnn (Sr, not Jr) and his "large body but high voice" syndrom. He's one of the guys I could listen to talking about baseball all day.
In closing, three words: San Diego Chicken.
14. Washington Nationals
How anybody could root against a team who will not be a threat to their favorite team for at least 10 years, I'll never know. Let's here it for getting baseball out of Canada not a moment too soon. The poor Expos finally had a good season in 1994, only to see the season end early due to strike. Did the folks of Montreal even know? Nope, they were looking forward to the opening of hockey season. Now the team is back in the US, with an outdoor stadium that kicks ass, and aside from their CLEAR and BLATANT knockoff big-head people racing thing (the orignal Sausage Race in Milwaukee will always be the best) they are okay in my book.
15. Cincinnatti Reds
I grew up on stories of the Big Red Machine (my mother's favorite baseball team) and the doctrine that Johnny Bench was the greatest catcher of all time, and that "Geronimo!" was a call that only should be heard at a baseball game. Add to this that the Reds, season after season, make Bill Hill look like the greatest slugger in baseball, they round out my top 15.
I believe the dividing line for baseball fans is whether or not they think Pete Rose should be allowed into the hall of fame. I firmly believe that the greatest tragedy in baseball (aside from the All-Star game tie in 2002) is the fact that Pete Rose is not in the Hall of Fame. It's about drawing a line in the sand, and across this line - YOU DO NOT...
16. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
I have absolutely nothing against the Angels organization aside from the fact that they have the worst team name in all of baseball. I'm not talking mascot, either. I'm a God-fearing Christian and love me some Angels. But until they decide on either A) California, B) Los Angeles, or C) Anaheim, they must reside in the bottom half of the league. And don't get me started on that stupid rally monkey. Oh, man.
17. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers ran the risk of turning into the Yankees of the Midwest a few years ago, but after last years dismal performance (relative to the high expectations, that is) we have no worry of that happening any time soon. I guess the Tigers at #17 are my turning point of the list. I have nothing against them, but there's nothing for them either. After Detroit, however, it all goes downhill. And fast. Just wait until you see who occupies the 7th Cirle of Hell...
18. Colorado Rockies
If I were to become the commissioner of a professional sports league of some sort, I would have a few rules when it came to the naming of mascots.
- Mascot must be something easily representable in costume form.
- Mascot name must be easily pluralized
- Mascot must not be a theme, concept, or anything besides an animal, person, or local figure.
- If the team has relocated from another city or region, the name of the mascot must be changed to reflect its parent organizations current city or region (there are no lakes in LA, there is no Jazz in Utah).
19. Florida Marlins
The Marlins also fall into the "expansion team" category. Even worse to me is their hideous color scheme. When they came into the league in '93 they wore those horribly vibrant teal uniforms. Then they went ahead and won the World Series in 1997. Free agency has ruined professional sports, but I'm not getting into that. I just don't think they shoul have a baseball team in Miami. Their average attendance last season? Dead last. Only 16,688 people attended their home games. Most of them were retired folks from New Jersey who go because it's better than crossword puzzles and Judge Judy every day. But, I guess Miami really needed a baseball team. Their great fans won't even approve a referendum to publicly fund a new stadium for them. Some fans. Milwaukee, the SMALLEST media market in the country, was #9 on the attendance list. For a team who hadn't made the playoffs in 26 years. THOSE are some fans.
20. Arizona Diamondbacks
The D-backs also fall into the expansion team category. At least they've changed their colors to something that people will wear in a different time period than the early 1990's.
21. Los Angeles Dodgers
I don't like big city teams, and this whole recent thing with Manny Ramirez has just worsened it for me. Throw in bringing Joe Torre in as the manager, and you've got a great media maelstrom that is just perfect for those wackos out in California. If you're a Dodgers fan because they used to be in Brooklyn, then I'm alright with you and I'm sorry your team has been ruined by Major League Baseball and the craziness that is California.
22. Toronto Blue Jays
Aside from the fact that there shouldn't be a Major League Baseball team in Canada, the Blue Jays reside on the bottom of my list for a couple reasons. First of all, they stole Paul Molitor from me. I know it was free agency, and what actually happened was Milwaukee allowing Pauly to walk away, but still. To Canada? Okay, so they are in Canada, and they play baseball indoors. Two no-no's for me.
23. San Francisco Giants
Where do I start. It was worse in the Bay than it was in St. Louis during McGwire's heyday. Big Mac Land is one thing, that was just a big plastic sign hung from the 2nd level in left field. But building an entire ball park around one player, making it not only easier for him to break the all-time home run record but do it while turning a blind eye to the cheating that was going on? Come on. The San Francisco Giants are as much to blame for the steriod mess as MLB is. They apparently were able to make money before the cash cow of Barry Bonds arrived, but instead of following that same business model after his arrival they used steroids and instant gratification to expand their profit margin and pad the pockets of the ownership.
24. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox have two strikes against them from the gate. Firstly, they are located in Chicago, which is a shithole. Trust me, I've lived there. Thanks to the Cubs, I hate all things Chicago. Secondly, the 1919 Chicago Black Sox. It's one thing to steal signs, rub a little vaseline on your palm, or allow some pine tar to creep up your bat. But to intentionally throw the World Series for some lousy money, that is another thing entirely. Call me sentimental, or the product of a childhood filled with "Field of Dreams", but I believe it's their fault Pete Rose is not in the hall of fame. He will forever be compared to them, and in my book, unfairly. What he did was very different from what they did, and unfortunately, Bart Giamatti has screwed Charlie Hustle for life.
25. Seattle Mariners
I've lived here in Seattle for the past two years, and the most disappointing part of it is going to a Mariners game at Safeco Field. Tickets are nearly 50% higher than tickets for a Brewers or Twins game, a beer is $8, bratwurst and chips is $9, and don't even plan on parking at the game. The team sucks, the ownership is too cheap to care about their team (and actually put some decent money into it...after all, it takes money to make money) and should Ichiro decide that when his contract is up he wants to leave Seattle, they have no plan in place to carry the franchise on from that point in time. They truly rely so heavily upon Japanese-Amarican fans that if he leaves the team, they are screwed. True Mariners fans (i.e., the old guys I buy cards from at their little shops) tell me the only reason catcher Kenji Yohjima is on the roster is to prepare for that day. He is absolutely horrible (.227 avg, including .207 vs lefties) so why else would he still be their opening day catcher? Hmm...
26. New York Mets
Too much money, Shea Stadium sucked, and they are from New York. I think that sums it up. Not to mention no other team has let their fans down over the past 3 years more than the Mets.
27. St. Louis Cardinals
I was barely able to speak when it happened, but they took away the only opportunity for my Brewers to win a World Series title back in 1982. Their fans are annoying, they think they are God's gift to professional sports, and they think they are part of the Midwest. They are also divisional opponents for the Brewers, so that is another strike against them. If it wasn't for the next two teams, they would join the Cubs at the very bottom of the list.
28. Boston Red Sox
I have a huge problem with bandwagon fans. A friend of mine (who is from Ohio - home to two MLB teams, by the way) claims he has been a "life-long Sox fan" but didn't wear anything Sox related until 2004. He is not even close to being the only person I know like this. I'll admit, I was cheering for them against the Yanks in the 2004 ALCS. Only because I hated to see their fans go so long without winning. But then it turned into a monster. Not only were the Patriots great, but now the Red Sox were on top, and then after they won it again in 2007, they had the Pats, Sox, and Celts atop their prospective leagues. It became a golem to fans of any team in any league, something unavoidable and always in your face. And the folks to bring it to us? Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. I love them as commentators, but I'm sure they were sleeping with the entire Boston infield for most of 2007.
29. New York Yankees
I'm sure they rank near the bottom of every list made by fans from Boston or anywhere else in the US besides New York/New Jersey. They forever changed the game of baseball. Well, not the game, but the game behind the game. They made it impossible for teams like Milwaukee, Kansas City, or Tampa Bay to compete at the same level year after year. Sure, the Brewers made the playoffs last year, and maybe the next 2 years we'll have a chance, but after that it may be another 25 year drought again. Thanks to the guys that can afford to pay the huge salaries that the great free-agent players command. That leaves small market teams no option but to once again turn to their farm system, bring those guys up, just to lose them again to free agency. It's a vicious cycle, and only a salary cap can bring an end to it.
I hate their arrogance, I hate their loud mouths, I hate their steroids and their fans and their beloved "Cathedral of Baseball". I've been to Yankee Stadium: everything was expensive, the fans were crude, and our car was broken into. Screw the Yankees. The Bronx sucks.
30. Chicago Cubs
Of course no Brewers fan in their right mind would rank the Cubs anywhere else but at the bottom of the list at #30. As my brother puts it, "I'd rather have a sister in a whorehouse than a brother who is a Cubs fan". Well said, my friend. Well said. Maybe it's the fact that they come up to Milwaukee with their deep dish pizza and crappy Old Style beer, take over our parking lot and declare it "Wrigley Field North". When we try to return the favor, they steal our Pabst, eat all our Bratwurst, and leave NO PARKING WHATSOEVER at Wrigley for us to even attempt the claiming of that craphole they call a stadium. I hope they go another 100 years without a World Series title. In the meantime, I'll continue keeping a goat as a pet and naming all my children "Bartman". Well, maybe just the goat thing for now.