Sunday, March 1, 2009

30 teams

I have a semi-unhealthy obsession with lists and categorizing things, which explains why every couple of years I rank all of the major league teams in order of preference. From my most favorite, bestest team in the whole world all the way down to the team that I wish had never been born.

It had been awhile since I had updated the list, so I decided it was time to revise it, and present it here, as well, so you can see where your favorite team rates in my little world. These ratings are based on a variety of things: history, players on the team, cities, fans, and most importantly, how does said team affect my favorite team, the Dodgers? Are they nice to my favorite team or are they evil pains in the tuckus?

So these are the latest, greatest ratings according to me. From 1 to 30. No backward counting on this list. The best team deserves to be mentioned first.

1. LOS ANGELES DODGERS. No kidding, right? It's no secret why I like the Dodgers, but in case you're late to the game, this sort of sums it up. Throw in Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela, Ron Cey, Maury Wills, Orel Hershiser and you're up to speed.

One thing I like about this 1978 Topps team card is that it is the only card that I know of that features Boog Powell in a Dodger uniform.

He's circled in the second row. His Dodger career didn't last very long and the 50 games he spent with L.A. were the last of his career.

2. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES. My "Plan B" team is back at No. 2 on the list, thanks to their World Series victory and the fact that they're a likable team. This is the 1976 Topps team card. I like how the team appears to be posing on a wrestling mat.

3. BOSTON RED SOX. This team drops from No. 2 to 3 mostly because their spending ways have turned me off a little bit. But the Red Sox have a major influence on my family, and I can identify with the many people in New England who root for the team. I understand the area and I understand Red Sox fans. They make sense to me. I can't say the same thing for fans of some other teams.

According to this 1956 Topps card Ted Williams is the guy I circled in the back row.

It doesn't really look much like him, but it's hard to tell with the quality of the card and the reproduction.

4. PITTSBURGH PIRATES. I have always liked the Pirates. The players they had during the 1970s -- Manny Sanguillen, Dave Parker, Willie Stargell, Richie Zisk, Al Oliver -- really made me a fan of the team. It probably helped that they were good, but never seemed to play the Dodgers in a playoff series (I was too young for the 1974 NLCS between the two).

Even when Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla were part of the team in the early '90s, I still liked them. I am still rooting for them to turn it around although it's looked hopeless for so long.

5. KANSAS CITY ROYALS. Another team that's had a rough couple of decades. But in the '70s and '80s they were a great team to watch. Since they faced the Yankees so often in the playoffs, I always rooted for them. Plus, how can you go wrong with a team whose colors are so similar to the Dodgers that I sometimes receive cards of Royals in trades because the person sending them thinks they're Dodgers?

6. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS. I like the history of the Cardinals. Except for a period in the mid-80s when the team rubbed me the wrong way (it didn't have anything to do with the 1985 NLCS. Absolutely not), I have liked the team. The city also means a great deal to me from a personal perspective, so the team has that going for them, too.

7. DETROIT TIGERS. I can't really explain why I like the Tigers. I think it goes back to my childhood when they had Mark Fidrych and Ron LeFlore and Rusty Staub. I liked that team a lot. I also liked the 1984 team and rooted for them in 1987, too.

8. OAKLAND A'S. Look at that card. Isn't that great? I know that if I was of rooting age during the early '70s, I wouldn't be a fan of this team. But now I can appreciate what they did during the Swingin' A's era and appreciate the colorful characters that helped revive a sport that was really struggling for attention at that time.

9. CINCINNATI REDS. If you asked me to rank the MLB teams in the late '70s, the Reds would probably be dead last. Pete Rose? Joe Morgan? I wanted their heads on a stick. But time and mediocrity heals all wounds.

Plus, look how sharp they look in their uniforms. Those are great uniforms. Why did the Reds have to muck it up by adding black?

10. MILWAUKEE BREWERS. The Brewers to me will always be a team that goes out and plays ball and then immediately hits the bars. But only bars that serve domestic beer and play Foghat. And a team like that is all right with me.

My theory on why Topps chose electric blue for the 1972 Brewers cards is that they saw the gentleman in the second row wearing the turquoise jacket and couldn't resist.

11. CHICAGO WHITE SOX. The White Sox will probably always be my favorite of the two Chicago teams. But the 2005 World Series team really made an impact on my appreciation for the franchise.

12. CLEVELAND INDIANS. If the Indians would bring back those red uniforms, they would move up several more spots on this list. They are awesomely bad.

13. MINNESOTA TWINS. You'll notice I'm going on a serious run through the American League Central. That's probably because I find all these teams non-threatening. They're middle America teams and the Dodgers won't play them in anything that's meaningful unless the two teams reach the World Series.

I can't wait for the Twins to play in their new stadium. The Homer Dome was holding them down on my list.

14. HOUSTON ASTROS. Houston's been living off the giddiness produced by their rainbow uniforms for the last 30 years. That's the only thing that explains why they're this high on the list.

15. FLORIDA MARLINS. I had a hard time rooting for the Marlins when they had Gary Sheffield and Kevin Brown on their team. Then both of them became Dodgers and boy was my face red! I like how the Marlins seem to know what they're doing organization-wise, even if they have to keep dealing their top talent. I hope they stay in Miami and get some freakin' fans!

16. TEXAS RANGERS. If they could ever figure out a way to correct the pitching issues they have had for almost their entire existence, then I'd enjoy this team more. And maybe they'd get back in the playoffs. But otherwise, they're all offense, and I have a hard time watching teams like that. I did like the Rangers a lot back when I was kid, but I couldn't tell you why. I was a Toby Harrah fan for some odd reason.

17. BALTIMORE ORIOLES. The Orioles take a big jump because I find I want them to do well now. Before I didn't really care. The addition of Dave Trembley, who I have talked to several times, and some of their young players makes me hope for better things. And I hope the fans come back out again. Because it really bothers me when they play the Yankees and more than half the people in the stands are rooting for the Yankees. That is just ugly.

18. TORONTO BLUE JAYS. We're entering territory where I have nothing to say about the teams listed. I didn't like the Blue Jays much when they were great. Now I barely know they're around. The funny thing is Toronto is probably the city that is the easiest for me to get to for watching a major league game. But I've only been there once.

19. SEATTLE MARINERS. They're so far away. I never see them. I've got to get the MLB Extra Innings package. Otherwise teams like this just disappear from the radar.

20. CHICAGO CUBS. I'm not a Cubs guy. The media have turned the team into a tragic figure which is annoying as hell. I'm still mad at fans for dumping on poor Bartman. I think the organization was mismanaged for a long time, and I do not like ineptness. But I am hoping they are really turning it around so I can enjoy a team that so many others seem to like. (By the way, where have all the Cubs fans come from? Not so long ago, you couldn't find a Cubs fan anywhere).

21. NEW YORK METS. I'm coming around on the Mets. They've moved up a couple of spots. I'm still unclenching from the late 1980s, when the Mets and Dodgers faced off in the postseason, as well as that 1986 World Series, which was extremely deflating to people who are near and dear to me. (If you were at my uncle's house at the end of Game 6, you know what I am talking about).

22. WASHINGTON NATIONALS. The former Expos. That's still how I think of them. I think they have no identity for a lot of fans.

23. TAMPA BAY RAYS. Pre-emptive strike: I know they're not the "Devil Rays" anymore. I don't have anything that represents the franchise card-wise that doesn't have "Devil Rays" on it. If you want to send me a team card with "Rays" on it, go ahead.

The Rays are this far down because for a long time I considered them an expansion wanna-be team with lousy uniforms. They've shed that label, obviously. And with players like Upton and Longoria, I'm looking forward to them shooting up the list.

24. ATLANTA BRAVES. Years of WTBS being the only television viewing alternative to the Yankees put this team way down on the list. Plus there was that whole 1982 season. Their repeated appearances in the postseason was draining for anyone who wasn't a Braves fan. Now that they're out of the spotlight, I like them a little bit more.

25. CALIFORNIA ANGELS. That's right, "California Angels." No Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim here. Why do you think they're this far down on the list? When Mr. Moreno started horning in on the Dodgers, that's when I got uppity. But I did appreciate their performance in the 2002 World Series. Believe me, I was the biggest Angel fan that didn't have a thunderstick or rally monkey that year.

26. COLORADO ROCKIES. Not a fan of expansion teams. Not a fan of teams named after regions instead of cities. Especially not a fan of teams who play in the NL West who are not the Dodgers. Three strikes and you're out, Rockies.

27. SAN DIEGO PADRES. For years, the Padres' only reason for existing seemed to be so they could try to beat the Dodgers a couple of times. It was a team that survived on schadenfreude. I'm glad they finally got to a couple World Series so they could get the Dodgers out of their system, although I don't think they really have.

I will say one thing for them. They take some great team photos. While other teams were posing in what looked like warehouses carpeted in Astro-turf during the early '80s, the Padres took their show on the road. Love the elephants in the background on this 1980 card.

And here we have the Padres posing by the ocean on the 1981 card. Thanks for putting thought into your team shots, Padres!

28. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS. This pretty much says it all: in 2001, I rooted for the Yankees to win the World Series. That NEVER happens.

29. NEW YORK YANKEES. I could create an entire blog on the topic of why I don't like the Yankees. I'm sure I would have ideas for my first 200 posts. But I think saying "I don't like them" will suffice for today.

30. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS. Way to put a cigarette ad in your team photo, guys. Hope you lose 162 this year.

That's the latest and greatest list. Do other bloggers rank all the teams in order of preference? I'd love to see it. And if you hate the Dodgers, that's cool. Just remember: I'm right.

13 comments:

  1. no never! blasphemy! manny hates you!

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  2. Awesome idea I must say! I love reading other people's thoughts on teams...and I think you've inspired me to compose my own list soon (I too am big on organizing and lists if you haven't noticed by now)!

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  3. Yay you put the Bucs fourth! I need to do one of these...

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  4. Great post and commentary . . . but you put the Cubs at #20!? I thought you would put them higher since you beat us up last year, haha.

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  5. I like it - comment about the Brewers? Priceless.

    I'll take you up on this challenge, my list will follow shortly. Well done, sir.

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  6. Why the is the giants team photo so sloppy? Got people hanging off poles, squatting, sitting on their honches. Looks like a jailhouse photo.

    I've ben meaning to ask: With that picture of you on the sidebar, does this mean you're a Namath/Jets fan?

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  7. No, I'm a Bills fan, Ben.

    During the '70s, Namath was everywhere, and you could find that No. 12 on anything. I didn't follow football as a kid, so I'm sure my mom just picked it up, figured it was "sporty" and I wore it.

    I just find that I wore it ironic now because as a Bills fan I do not like the Jets.

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  8. Great idea, I'll have to make my own list. I have to tell you, I was worried you were a bit of a front runner until #4. No worries after that!

    The task is kind of daunting now that I think about it. I see how it goes.

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  9. When I followed football religiously, I was a Bills fan through and through. I loved Bruce Smith. Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas weren't too bad either. But as you know that team no longer has an identity -- in fact it really hasn't had one for an entire decade now -- so I've pretty much lost interest in the Bills and the sport. I'm now a casual fan with no specified interest; I'd rather spend November through April dealing with off-season baseball rumors than watch football.

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  10. Padres fans hate you.

    I am not talking about the Dodgers. The Dodgers are just another team. We hate Dodgers FANS! Correction: We hate Dodgers fan that live in San Diego. You can't live in America's best city and have a team with tradition, style, and a chance to win every year. YOU GET THE PADRES!

    Don't get me wrong. I love my Padres!

    I actually LIKE the Dodgers as a team. If the Dodgers ever get to another World Series, I will probably root for them. Of course, if I see a Dodgers fan in my section at Petco, they will get a beat-down.

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  11. What year is that photo of the Cardinals from? I don't recognize that uniform at all! Thanks.

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  12. Ooh--I just saw this entry. I'll need to post a list of my own. :)

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