Wednesday, March 5, 2014

30 teams, 2014 edition

Hello again, from the Night Owl Cards ranking studios.

Welcome to the sixth annual "30 teams." This is the time when I rank all 30 Major League Baseball teams according to my liking. It's the continuation of a tradition that I started with pen and paper back when I was a teenager.

I like to think of this as my personal reminder that, yes, real baseball is coming. Despite the fact that it snowed again today, despite the fact that the parking lot snowbanks are 20-feet tall on March 5, the MLB season is right around the corner. Because I'm ranking teams again.

So there. That's your confirmation that real baseball will happen.

But let's get into the list. For this list, I decided to dig up the oldest card that I have for each team. I thought it'd satisfy my curiosity and it's also is a nice reminder that some of these teams have really no business doing what they're doing because they've been around for BARELY A DECADE.


But that's me rambling again. For those of you who may be new to this, this is a list of the MLB teams from my most favorite to my least favorite. It is also the authoritative list. Sure, you can make your own list. But this is the real one.

Let's go.

1933 Goudey

1. LOS ANGELES DODGERS (highest ranking on this blog: 1st, lowest ranking on this blog: 1st): One of the benefits of having a team like the Dodgers as my favorite is I can find some very old cards of them. I haven't fully explored that yet, but one day I might.

1969 Topps

2. KANSAS CITY ROYALS (highest ranking: 2nd, lowest ranking: 5th): As eager as I am for the season to start, I also find myself completely unprepared for its start. It's embarrassing how little I know about teams like the Royals, who are supposed to be my second favorite. Oh well, that's what April is for.

1956 Topps

3. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (highest ranking: 3rd; lowest ranking: 4th): Now that the Pirates are good again, it's up to them on whether they become a likable good team -- like the late '70s Pirates -- or an unlikable good team -- like the Bonds/Bonilla Pirates. Those are the responsibilities of breaking away from lovable loser status.

1956 Topps

4. BOSTON RED SOX (highest ranking: 2nd; lowest ranking: 4th): The defending champions did well to keep the status quo. Often I will sour on champion teams due to overexposure. But there were enough pleasing characters on the team to keep the Red Sox where they are. Now ... a second year of beards on steroids? They may be pushing it.

1956 Topps

5. BALTIMORE ORIOLES (highest ranking: 5th; lowest ranking: 17th): Although my desire to have an AL East alternative to the Yankees and Red Sox is not as strong as it is with many fans, it is there. The Orioles are my go-to franchise in this situation. Besides, they play the Yankees 46 times each season. That's a lot of rooting for the Orioles.

1972 Topps

6. TEXAS RANGERS (highest ranking: 5th; lowest ranking: 16th): What is going on with the Rangers? All their former players are bagging on them. Sounds like a lot of whining to me.

1956 Topps

 7. OAKLAND A'S (highest ranking: 5th; lowest ranking: 8th): The A's have the best cards in 2014 Topps. Yet they're staying put. Topps has little influence on me these days.

1956 Topps

8. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (highest rank: 2nd; lowest rank 9th): The Phillies don't seem to be going anywhere with the moves that they're making. But that's not why they're not moving on the list.

1956 Topps

9. CHICAGO WHITE SOX (highest rank: 6th; lowest rank: 11th): I don't know why I picked the team card. I guess the blurriness of the photo amused me.

1956 Topps

10. DETROIT TIGERS (highest rank: 7th; lowest rank: 10th): I hope that with a different manager, the Tigers will make better decisions about their pitching staff. I'm getting tired of operation meltdown every postseason. And I'm not even a Tigers fan.

1967 Topps

11. MINNESOTA TWINS (highest rank: 10th; lowest rank: 13th): This year I resolve to start paying attention to the AL Central before October. And like all resolutions, I don't expect that to last more than a week.

1952 Bowman
12. CINCINNATI REDS (highest rank: 9th; lowest rank: 12th): Just not going to be the same without Dusty in the dugout.

1977 Topps

13. TORONTO BLUE JAYS (highest rank: 13th; lowest rank: 18th): So, on Twitter, Jose Bautista apparently follows every baseball fan in the world. And according to who you talk to, this is a good thing or a bad thing ... and worth talking about. Twitter is so weird.

1962 Topps

14. HOUSTON ASTROS (highest rank: 14th; lowest rank: 16th): I don't care where they're listed in the standings, the Astros are still a National League team. You're making Dick Farrell's brain hurt with that AL junk.

1956 Topps

15. CLEVELAND INDIANS (highest rank: 11th; lowest rank: 17th): The Indians are pretty anonymous, so I don't know why I boosted them up a couple of notches. It's probably the Chico Carrasquel card.

1969 Topps

16. NEW YORK METS (highest rank: 16th; lowest rank: 21st): Don't look now, but the Mets are making a charge up the list. I fully expect this not to last. New York teams always let their obnoxiousness ruin things.

2000 Topps

17. TAMPA BAY RAYS (highest rank: 17th; lowest rank: 23rd): The stadium is still holding me back from appreciating this team as I should.

1993 Upper Deck

18. MIAMI MARLINS (highest rank: 13th; lowest rank: 18th): I want to like the Marlins, but their owner wants me to hate them.

1977 Topps

19. SEATTLE MARINERS (highest rank: 18th; lowest rank: 20th): Bless the Mariners for trying this offseason. But I still don't think it's going to work.

1954 Topps

20. ATLANTA BRAVES (highest rank: 20th; lowest rank: 24th): I have excellent trade relations with several Braves fans. But I don't agree with their rooting policies at all.

1956 Topps

21. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (highest rank: 6th; lowest rank: 21st): This should tell you what I think of the Cardinals now: If they were to play the Braves or the Mets, I would root for the Braves or the Mets every time.

2005 Topps Traded

22. WASHINGTON NATIONALS (highest rank: 22nd; lowest rank: 24th): I considered showing my oldest Expos card for the Nationals (as well as my oldest Pilots card for the Brewers, Senators card for the Twins, etc.). But that would have given the Nationals an unfair advantage.

The sight of this card would have put the Nationals in like sixth place.

1971 Topps

23. MILWAUKEE BREWERS (highest ranking: 10th; lowest ranking: 23rd): Every time I think of the Brewers I think of Ryan Braun. And then I start gagging. That is not a point in the Brewers' favor.

1956 Topps

24. CHICAGO CUBS (highest ranking: 20th; lowest ranking: 24th): Buck up, Cubs. There's always 2015.

1993 Upper Deck

25. COLORADO ROCKIES (highest rank: 25th; lowest rank: 26th): The Rockies have fringe annoying elements (the park, the broadcasters, the purple). But for an NL West team that's not the Dodgers, they do pretty well. Unless they're battling the Dodgers for a title, I'm rooting for them to wipe out the rest of the NL West).

1963 Topps

26. LOS ANGELES ANGELS (highest rank: 25th; lowest rank: 26th): The Angels have crossed the line into territory in which I cheer when bad things happen to the team. I don't condone this ugly behavior. But the Angels could do something about that -- like get a new owner.

1969 Topps

27. SAN DIEGO PADRES (highest rank: 27th; lowest rank: 27th): The only thing that saved the Padres from sinking lower is their misfortune. But if that Carlos Quentin gets his idiot on again, you might not even see the Padres on next year's list.

1934 Diamond Star

28. NEW YORK YANKEES (highest rank: 28th; lowest rank: 29th): Don't get excited. The Yankees move up one only because they're not in the National League. The first second I hear the first syllable out of Michael Kay's mouth, it's voodoo doll time.

1998 Topps

29. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (highest rank: 28th; lowest rank: 29th): It's appropriate that Matt Williams is the oldest Diamondback card I have. Matt Williams is one of my least favorite ballplayers of all-time. (This doesn't bode well for the Nationals next year). The fact that Arizona has released some of the coaching cronies, including Williams, from their squad is a good sign. But that doesn't take away all of the nonsense that came out of that organization last season. I came very close to making Arizona last this year. But I don't want them to think that I think they're a real team.

1939 Play Ball

30. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (highest rank: 30th; lowest rank: 30th): I am hoping that this new play-at-the-play rule doesn't turn into a disaster. But if it does, it'll just be another pox on baseball courtesy of the Giants. Should've moved the team to Tampa Bay when they had the chance.

And there's your 2014 edition.

As usual, post it next to your TV so you know who to root for.


  1. Best part of the Marlins was their president guy getting kicked out of Survivor first (even a bunch of starving people on an island hate the Marlins)!

  2. At least I'm not the only guy who has to stop and think about the Astros being an AL team. And I LIVE HERE! Guy on Sirius was doing a team rundown yesterday and he made a statement about the Astros being unlikely to catch up with the Mariners or Angels anytime soon and I thought 'What???'.... then I remembered. It's just weird.

    1. It's Satan Selig's fault, as usual. They should have moved the Brewers back to the AL. That's where they came from, after all. But he's determined to make Milwaukee forget the think the Brewers were always Milwaukee's team. You remember when Warren Spahn pitched all those games for the Brewers, right? Ain't happenin', Bud. We all hate you for stealing the Pilots from Seattle and we all hate the stinking Brewers you turned them into. Really, Night Owl, I demand a recount. That the Brewers aren't at least 29th on this list is a travesty. No, they shouldn't get credit for having been the Pilots. Bud Selig ruined that dream. Just like he ruins all dreams. He's a dream killer. And that's his best trait.

    2. I agree that the Brewers should have been moved back to the AL -- this 15 season NL interlude notwithstanding. I don't think Bud's determined to make Milwaukee forget the Braves, though -- I think Bud is senile and really believes that they *are* the Braves.

      Now, historically, I'm okay with a lot of stuff he did up to about 1993. He bought the Pilots from bankruptcy, which shouldn't happen to a team coming off its FIRST season in the league. Milwaukee had the Braves stolen from it, after all -- the team was being supported with great attendance, but the owners wanted to move south.

      After he let Paul Molitor leave in free agency after 1992, pushed Jim Gantner out the door, and pretty much convinced Robin Yount that Milwaukee would never be a winning team again, that's when I get mad at him.

  3. It's really sad that I'll have to boo Ian Kinsler now. Doucheface.

    By the way, the second and I mean SECOND, Bud Selig is no longer commissioner, the Astros should be moved back to the NL Central and the Brewers should be moved to the AL. That's coming from a guy whose favorite team padded their record with a bazillion wins over the Astros last year.

  4. I was glad to see the A's were fairly high on your list... then I noticed where you put the Padres. At least we can agree on the Yankees... although they're at the bottom of the barrel for me.

  5. Oh, my poor Cardinals-wait NL Champs. Not too shabby.

  6. A lot of similarities with my list - though you really should rank the Reds, Tigers and Cubs much higher.

    By the way, I had the opportunity to meet Matt Williams (and Orel Hershiser!) in the Cleveland Indians' locker room in '97 (or was it '96)? I think it was '97. Wow, my mid-40s are hitting me hard! Anyways, Matt Williams was really a swell guy for those five minutes. I was kind of surprised myself.

  7. So if the Giants had moved to Toronto in 1975 as was rumored, would they rank higher?

    1. I suppose if they went to Toronto, they wouldn't have been in the NL West anymore. That would've helped.