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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.