Sunday, April 20, 2008

Love, Hate, Tolerate: The Lucky and the Luckless

Something which I have been meaning to do for a while, if only for the sheer hell of it. I thought I would rank each team in Major League Baseball according to my personal preferences, as if this means a flying crap. But hey, we all have our vanity, and I'm bored on Saturday night after watching a Rockies win, which equals this staggering work of heartbreaking genius. The Rockies go for the sweep over the Astros, and a 6-3 record on a 9-game, 10-day road trip (well, actually, more like a 10.5 game road trip once you add in all the extra innings vs. the Padres) with Ubaldo Jimenez matching up with old friend Shawn Chacon. And by friend, I really mean, used to kick things and yell while he was haplessly attempting to ''close" games. He went 1-9 as a closer one year, and Hurdle kept trotting him out there. Oy.


The Fortunate Five

1. Colorado Rockies. Anyone who reads this blog needs no explaining as to why my purple-and-black boys top this list. I love them. Too much, I think.
2. Oakland A's. Used to be really into them, am not really so much anymore, but still enjoy watching their games and have a hat autographed by quite a few members of the team (at least circa 2006).
3. St. Louis Cardinals. Was thrilled when they won the 2006 World Series, have also cooled on them a little recently, but they still have Adam Wainwright. I love Adam Wainwright.
4. Milwaukee Brewers. They merit a spot this high on the list for all their help last September, which they squelched the Padres for the last two regular-season games in order to force The Tiebreaker. Tony Gwynn Jr. mentions that the Rockies themselves have thanked him for corking that triple off Hoffman, and I dunno, I've never found anything inherently loathable about the Brew Crew. I mean, it was a total sham that Braun got the ROY, but that was the writers' fault, not his. Also, Milwaukee and Colorado seem to be on good terms, and I like that.
5. New York Mets. I know, I know. It's embarrassing to have to even admit it. I am not a Mets fan, and when going to games at Shea, frequently root for them to screw up if only because the reaction from the actual Mets fans around me is always amusing. (Booing being a recreational sport in New York). But aside from Coors, I've been to the most games at Shea, and out of the two teams in my adopted hometown, they're the one I don't hate, detest, loathe, and wish to vanish into thin air. Not that I'm talking about anyone in particular, of course. But I have a pair of good friends who are Mets fans, we go to games together, and always have a great time. It was freezing the last two times we went (earlier this week) and I steadfastly stuck it out, for a team that I can take or leave (mainly because I just love baseball). So, oddly enough, one of the East Coast darlings actually does earn a relatively high spot on this list. Whether it's for them or not, I don't know, but there you go.

The Tolerable Ten

6. Cleveland Indians.
Play hard and always seem to be good, which would be annoying if I was a fan of a team in the AL Central aside from them. Also, my parents swear up and down I used to go to Indians games with my sisters and a family friend (we used to live in Ohio) but I don't remember at all. Also, I have strong feelings about The Jake having its name changed to "Progressive Field" -- what a crock. I still wish we'd played the Indians in the Series last year, mainly because we'd probably have won.
7. Seattle Mariners. Lookout Landing, a top Mariners blog, is absolutely hysterical. I'm serious, it is absolute comic genius, I read it just to laugh, and the Mariners commercials (a tradition) are always funny as well. (You can check them out online). All that adds up to a high spot for the Caffeineheads.
8. Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Even though their insistence on being called the "Rays" now is mildly nettling (I therefore always call them by their proper name, heh) they remind me somewhat of the Rockies, Evan Longoria is good friends with Tulo, and any team that has a chip on its shoulder for the Yankees (aside from the Red Sox....) is good by me.
9. Florida Marlins. Poor Marlins. You can't really hate them. A-Rod makes more than their entire team, and any time anyone good shows up, Loria hauls them off and buys more children under 21 to staff the Baby Fish. Also, I rooted for them in the 1997 Series as a spratling of nine tender years, and it was a lot of fun. (Wow, that was a long time ago).
10. Minnesota Twins. They have a god-awful stadium (although that may soon be remedied, their new park may be built without a roof.... which equals April baseball in Minneapolis outdoors, which equals oof). Still, their players are likable, Justin Morneau should be commended for nabbing the AL MVP in 2006 ahead of That Man In Pinstripes, and if they ever get Francisco Liriano healthy, they could have Santana all over again.
11. Pittsburgh Pirates. I know almost nothing about the Pirates except that Ian Snell once thought the Rockies were stealing signs and therefore threatened to start beaning them. It didn't happen, and it makes me think that it was just Snell being Snell -- i.e. totally crazy. Also, the Pirates beat the Rockies 3 of 4 in August last year. That hurt. But they are the Pirates. Success is short-lived, therefore why bother hating them?
12. Cincinnati Reds. They have the pieces in place to be very good in a few years, but then went and sent that all to pot by hiring Dusty Baker. Cueto, Votto, Bailey, Bruce, etc. should have Cincinnati fans thinking that their days of doormatting it in the Central may be coming to an end. Downside: Say goodbye to the right arms of Arroyo and Harang.
13. Toronto Blue Jays. They swept the Rockies to start that horrible roadtrip that didn't happen (you know, the 1-9 one... OOF... back to repressing). But Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum are a strong starter duo, and hey, I always kind of pull for anyone in the East squashed beneath the 800-lb gorillas. You know, Thing 1 and Thing 2.
14. Washington Nationals. They try so hard. And then they fail. But it's kind of cute/pathetic to watch them giving it another brave stab anyway.
15. Texas Rangers. They earn this spot mainly on the strength of C.J. Wilson, their eccentric blue-gloved lefty reliever. In case I have not told you this recently, he is amazing.

The Dubious Decade

16. Houston Astros.
Seriously, who likes the Astros? They have terrible management, they had Roger Clemens a few years, they went to the Series in 2005 and then boffed it all up. Don't hate them, but seriously, the Astros? Whatever.
17. Atlanta Braves. Nobody likes Chipper Jones, including Chipper Jones, but don't tell him that. We can save his existential crisis for when it would be more useful.
18. Detroit Tigers. I have to say, watching the Tigers fall flat on their faces out of the gate, after everyone had pre-emptively anointed them the AL Champs following their acquisition of Willis and Cabrera, was pretty damn satisfying.
19. Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles are so bad. And no matter how well they've started off this year, I am sure they'll realize that and go back to their usual climes of TEH FAIL.
20. Chicago White Sox. Have THE most annoying broadcasters in all of baseball, and it was more fun when they were cursed too. Although they do suck again, so cool.
21. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Stupid name. You are not the Dodgers. And you play in Disneyland. Bugger off and get some Mickey Mouse ears.
22. Los Angeles Dodgers. I don't precisely hate them, but there are certainly no fond feelings for them either. Their fans always leave early to "beat the traffic," they spend more than everyone in the West and don't have a whole lot to show for it, and Nomar? Seriously? Whatever. The Helton homer off Saito last September 18th was a defining moment of my life. Sheerly amazing. And then we swept them in four, right in the middle of the streak. Good times.
23. Arizona Diamondbacks. Purple Row and AZ Snakepit's posters have a good relationship with each other, and enjoy bantering and discussing their teams. I am good friends with several Arizona fans from there, and the Dbacks are much like the Rockies -- a team of young, talented, genuinely nice guys. That said, they are our biggest division rival and are getting annoyingly good -- sheez, Slytherin, lose a few. Plus they have Eric Byrnes and danced on our field like it was a big deal when they won the West. We got you back in the NLCS, suckers. (Although it is true I am trying to expunge details of our early-season meetings thus far from my scarred psyche).
24. Kansas City Royals. They played us last June for one of the most aggravating series imaginable, which Rockies Nation as a whole pretends does not exist, and always seem to play like the Worldbeaters instead of the Turfeaters against us. AND we have to play them again this year. Oh brother.
25. San Francisco Giants. They only earn this spot because I couldn't decide if I hated them or the Phillies more, and decided it was the Phillies. Nonetheless, the Giants richly deserve all the fail that comes to them.

The Terrible Tier

26. Philadelphia Phillies.
Overhyped, overrated, and Jimmy Rollins. Swept in the NLDS by us, after all the pundits sagely figured this team (East Coast, remember, therefore better!) would sweep US. Revenge is sweet. Go cry in your beer, you bunch of hooligans who constitute "fans" in the "City of Brotherly Love."
27. San Diego Padres. Yep, the hate is pretty epic here. You know what? It doesn't matter if Holliday touched the plate, we still beat you. And then we beat you again in 22 innings. And we went to the playoffs because you blew chunks. Take THAT.
28. New York Yankees. It's actually pretty hard to decide who goes where for the last three spots on this list, since I hate the Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs equally -- which is to say, with the force of an exploding star? Let's just say I find nothing at all lovable, likable, tolerable, or even mildly dislikable about this band of overexposed prima-donnas. In fact, you might say I hate them. That doesn't even sound strong enough, but you know what I mean.
29. Chicago Cubs. I asked a friend if the Cubs or Red Sox should go in the last slot on this list. His response: "The Red Sox. At least the Cubs have the decency not to win the World Series." Which I think is true, and the only thing keeping the Small Bears out of the cellar (hey, they'll get there on their own, given enough time. Cubsuck is a law of the universe -- it will be a constant). I hate their fans (especially their fans) the fact they're now a big-market and still-shitty team, and the fact that it's still "trendy" to root for them when they're nothing but a bunch of giant losers. Also, their fans. Did I mention their fans? Here's to another century of Cubs futility.
30. Boston Red Sox. I have hated the Red Sox for all of my career as a baseball fan, whether for one reason or another, and it was made about a hundred times worse by last October. The Red Sox are just evil, there is no other way to put it. There is nothing redeeming about this team. They are the incarnation of the Devil. Should I tell you how I really feel? Die, Red Sox, die.

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