Friday, March 2, 2018

30 teams, 2018 edition

Hey, look, it's the 10th year that I've conducted this exercise.

For you newbies, this is my ranking of every major league team in terms of how much I like them. I have done this since I was a kid (with a long break in the middle when I thought I was too sophisticated to rate my preference in baseball teams). But on the blog I started it in 2009.

Each year I try to illustrate my ratings with a different theme. This year I'm going to recognize an anniversary.

For the past month, I have been listening to songs from 1993. That was a weird time for music. I became so bored/appalled with pop music at the time (filled with overwrought ballads that parked themselves at No. 1 on the charts -- and your radio -- for a dozen weeks), that I migrated fully to the alternative scene, which restored my faith in current music.

The same thing happened in cards.

This is the 25th anniversary of the 1993 Upper Deck set. For me, this is the best set that Upper Deck ever made, the best thing that Upper Deck ever did. I was so impressed by Upper Deck in '93 that I cast aside my 18 years of Topps devotion to focus on UD's set that year. It remains the only traditional UD set I've ever completed.

Upper Deck restored my faith in cards. I didn't like Topps' set that year, nor Donruss or Fleer.

So I'm recognizing that anniversary by showing a '93 UD card for each team (you fledgling teams that weren't around for '93 Upper Deck get a 2018 Topps card). Enjoy the glory that was spectacular, unfiltered photography all within a border. They were pretty as a picture.

Also, once again, feel free to make your own list. But this is the master copy:

1. LOS ANGELES DODGERS (highest ranking: 1st; lowest ranking: 1st): There seems to be more Dodger fans (and more Dodger haters) than ever these days. That's what reaching the World Series will do. I'd just like to say for the record that I've been a Dodger fan for more than 40 years -- and the teams I dislike haven't changed either.

2. KANSAS CITY ROYALS (highest ranking: 2nd, lowest ranking: 5th): It's a bit sad to see the 2015 champions slowly break apart their team. I'd like to think that the Royals could dominate for years like they did from 1976-85, but I guess that's not possible in baseball today. That's a shame.

3. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (highest ranking: 3rd, lowest ranking: 4th): Uh, oh, another one of my teams that's in rebuilding mode. That was a short period of prosperity, huh?

4. BOSTON RED SOX (highest ranking: 2nd, lowest ranking: 4th): The Red Sox have a former Dodger managing them this year. Also, there is nothing that solidifies my appreciation for the Red Sox more than hearing a Yankee fan complain about how despicable the Red Sox are. YOU ROOT FOR THE YANKEES!!! There is no more despicable team. ... Well, there is. But as far as the ability to do despicable on a grand scale, no one out-despicables the Yankees.

5. BALTIMORE ORIOLES (highest ranking: 5th, lowest ranking: 17th): It's another year of hoping the Orioles can surprise in the AL East. It will never happen. But at least I will protect my soul by cheering on the O's.

6. OAKLAND A'S (highest ranking: 5th, lowest ranking: 8th): OK, I admit I don't know any of the current Oakland A's. The team is ranked this high because of Hendu. And Carney Lansford. And Rickey Henderson. And all of those cool A's cards from 1974-76.

7. CLEVELAND INDIANS (highest ranking: 7th, lowest ranking: 17th): Players like Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez are fun to watch. I'm not really a "young baseball talent junkie" -- I don't have the time to watch baseball like that -- but I appreciate what the Indians have done the last few years.

8. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (highest ranking: 2nd; lowest ranking: 10th): 1993 was an exceptional year for the Phillies. But I don't think I've been less aware of the current Phillies squad in any of the last 40 years than I am now. This slight bump in the rankings is me hoping they draw my attention a little more.

9. CINCINNATI REDS (highest ranking: 9th, lowest ranking: 13th): The Reds aren't going anywhere, but they sure make some great cards. As a fan of a blue team it's tough for me to admit the coolness of some red-based teams cards.

10. DETROIT TIGERS (highest ranking: 7th; lowest ranking: 12th): From one of the most colorful teams to one of the least. I'm convinced the Tigers and White Sox would be happy if the whole world was in black-and-white.

11. TORONTO BLUE JAYS (highest ranking: 11th; lowest ranking: 18th): More hoping for the semi-impossible. How great would it be to see the Blue Jays at the top of the AL East in October?

12. TEXAS RANGERS (highest ranking: 5th; lowest ranking: 17th): I've gone from being super-aware of the Rangers (around their World Series trips) to not having a clue, other than hoping they beat the Angels.

13. HOUSTON ASTROS (highest ranking: 5th; lowest ranking: 16th): Astros take an eight-spot tumble for obvious reasons that I'm not going to discuss.

OK, fine, let's review what I wrote on one of these 30 teams posts three years ago:

The Astros soar up five spots for no other reason than I want them to win the American League title and then the World Series (provided the Dodgers aren't the other team) so people can talk about how the Astros appeared for both the AL and the NL in the World Series 10 years apart and everyone will see how clearly wrong that is and move Houston back to the National League.

All right so it was 12 years apart, but I'm waiting for the rest of that to happen!

14. MINNESOTA TWINS (highest ranking: 10th; lowest ranking: 14th): The Twins get to discover what Fernan-blo Rodney is all about.

15. CHICAGO WHITE SOX (highest ranking: 6th; lowest ranking: 15th): If I stop pulling Jose Abreu cards maybe I'll rank them higher next year.

16. SEATTLE MARINERS (highest ranking 16th; lowest ranking 20th): Is Henry Cotto still on the team? How about Dan Meyer?

17. MIAMI MARLINS (highest ranking: 13th; lowest ranking: 18th): I am conflicted. I want them to win because their few fans have been treated so poorly by management. I don't want them to win because Derek Jeter has won enough.

18. TAMPA BAY RAYS (highest ranking: 17th; lowest ranking: 23rd): The Rays are on the hunt for a new stadium, which is about time. I don't know if it's going to help because I don't think anyone who lives in Florida likes baseball unless it's played in March.

19. WASHINGTON NATIONALS (highest ranking: 19th; lowest ranking: 24th): I've rooted against this team quite a bit the last few years. The only reason they're this high is they keep losing.

20. NEW YORK METS (highest ranking: 16th; lowest ranking: 21st): I want to like the Mets. I like their broadcasters. They're not the Yankees. But their fans are so bitter. Weird bitter. I suppose that's natural when you root for the Mets. But also I'm still not over 2015.

21. ATLANTA BRAVES (highest ranking: 20th; lowest ranking: 24th): I wish TBS still aired most Braves games and Skip Caray was still around, so he could lament how awful the current Braves are, like he did in the good old late 1980s.

22. MILWAUKEE BREWERS (highest ranking: 10th; lowest ranking: 23rd): Get rid of Ryan Braun and we'll talk.

23. CHICAGO CUBS (highest ranking: 20th; lowest ranking: 25th): Cubs move up a spot because they're not World Series champs anymore and because they lost to the Dodgers. I like the Cubs more when they do what I ask.

24. COLORADO ROCKIES (highest ranking: 23rd; lowest ranking: 26th): I'm pretty tired of the Rockies being a pain in the butt just to be a pain in the butt. That should be their team logo: a butt with some of those cartoon pain stars floating around it.

25. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (highest ranking: 6th; lowest ranking: 25th): Almost -- almost -- moved them ahead of the Rockies. Yes, I know, what's wrong with me?

26. LOS ANGELES ANGELS (highest ranking: 25th; lowest ranking: 26th): The Angels likely aren't going anywhere again, but let's talk about Mike Trout some more. I suppose I should be thankful. If this was the 1970s, he'd be singing on Aqua Velva commercials four times every baseball game.

27. SAN DIEGO PADRES (highest ranking: 27th; lowest ranking: 27th): Devotion to the Padres is possibly the most mystifying fan phenomenon that I know.

28. NEW YORK YANKEES (highest ranking: 28th; lowest ranking: 29th): Did you know Gary Sanchez is underrated? Yes. Somebody said this today not realizing that not a single player who has ever worn a Yankee jersey has been underrated. I know I've mentioned this before but if the Yankees are going to win the World Series this year, or really anytime in the next 10 years, please let me know now so I can follow a different sport.

29. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (highest ranking: 28th; lowest ranking: 29th): That the Diamondbacks and Yankees have been regular trade partners for several years is very appropriate. Just keep shuttling the players I dislike back-and-forth between teams I dislike. At least it saves the brain-squirming that goes on when a Yankee/Diamondback suddenly appears on a team I enjoy.

30. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (highest ranking: 30th; lowest ranking: 30th): How'd that star rookie work out for ya?

So, there you are, your team rankings for 2018. As usual post it next to your TV for easy rooting.


  1. I'd love to see the Jays surprise again...
    And... From the Bottom of my heart.... THANK YOU for not using an Expos card for the Nationals!!

  2. Hmmm... makes me want to do one of these.

  3. I'm with you. I hate the Yankees and always have. Not with you on the Jays. Never have liked them and besides they are not even in the US. Miami still seems like a minor league team. I rank the Red Sox number one and the Yankees last with your Dodgers somewhere around second or third. Thanks for the rankings.

  4. Every year I skip down to the bottom to see if my favorite team has risen up to the 29th spot, once again you didn't disappoint!

  5. 1993 Upper Deck taking the 3Dness of 1988 Topps and perfecting it. I couldn't afford it in 1993. I should chase it a bit now. Also as much as I'm a Giants fan I know I like the Dodgers better than both St Louis and the Yankees.

  6. I never realized Vince Coleman looks like Puff Daddy, or whatever his name is these days.

    And I often forget there used to be two teams sporting Teal in Major League Baseball. I never get around to checking to see if they overlapped years in their use of the color.

  7. The photos on 1993 Upper Deck look like the photos Upper Deck would often pick to use on the back of their 1989 set (and that's a good thing).

  8. While I admit, I only read your blog once or twice a week, somehow I never picked up on your fondness for my Royals. I guess I'll have to increase my reading habits. Enjoyed the list, always enjoy your writing.

  9. Skipped to the bottom to make this comment before I actually read it:

    You should just rank 28 teams each year. I know Dodgers will be in the top spot and the Giants will be in #30. So I suggest you only rank 28 teams come 2019. Let me read and see if I got those two spots right....

  10. Every year I look forward to this post to see if the Padres can creep up in the rankings. I've thought about doing my personal rankings, but the bulk of the teams would be a tie. Maybe I'll do the lazy blogger version and attempt to create a Top 5/Bottom 5 post or something like that.

  11. They are great looking cards. Your choices seem quite sensible to me.

  12. Another entertaining post, that Rockies comment made me chuckle. Man I miss 1993 Upper Deck. I'd buy a jumbo box or two on eBay if I could - but that Jeter guy inflates the prices.

    "I know I've mentioned this before but if the Yankees are going to win the World Series this year, or really anytime in the next 10 years, please let me know now so I can follow a different sport." Start following hockey. Now. It's what I did when the Yanks went on their 96-00 run. Thank the baseball gods for Luis Gonzalez. (I know, you're no fan of the D-backs, either..)

  13. We're not bitter, we're broken. Mets fans are broken. Our esprit de corps and joie de vivre have been beaten to merde. Every time we get excited about anything, it goes wrong in the worst way. Every time we bemoan our fate, things get worse in ways you can't imagine. Hell, they go wrong in ways JP Lovecraft couldn't imagine. Being a Mets fan is like being in an abusive marriage without the apology flowers and candy a wife might get once in a while. The Wilpons should be tried as war criminals.

    Also, 28 is far too high for the Yankees. Way way too high.

  14. OK, now I feel vindicated for copycatting post ideas. This one I'm going to do without remorse. I used to have a set order that I organized my sets into teams by in the 80's. I'm going to present that and the reasons back then, and then do the current order. We all follow in your shadow as bloggers anyway...

  15. That Dawson card is fabulous and I'll be happy to take your unwanted Jose Abreus and replace them with some Bums.

  16. Maybe the Brewers can send the Dodgers Braun. That would work nicely.