Welcome again to my annual ranking of the 30 major league teams, from the most fantastic sight you have ever laid eyes on to the place where all hope dies because of too much ugly. This is the fifth edition of this post and I think everyone knows how it goes by now.
I've ranked the major league teams from my most favorite to least favorite since I was aware that making lists was cool. During the history of this exercise, every team on the list has changed positions at one time or another. Except one. It is the team around which all my baseball viewing revolves.
Would I watch baseball or collect cards if the Dodgers didn't exist? Good question.
I think not.
Fortunately, I won't have to find out. We're not talking about the Marlins here.
For the fifth annual version of the list, I went straight to my Allen & Ginter frankenset mini binder. All of the cards are from there. I am both elated by some of the cards in this binder and horrified. Some of them undoubtedly need to go.
Anyway, here is the 2013 edition. As always, you may make up your own list, but this is the master list. It is always correct:
1. LOS ANGELES DODGERS (2012 rank: 1st, 2011 rank: 1st, 2010 rank: 1st, 2009 rank: 1st): The Dodgers increase their lead over the rest of the field by about a thousand fold this year. By the way, this is going to be one heck of a season, good or bad. ... Oh, hell, who am I kidding? It's going to be great.
2. KANSAS CITY ROYALS (2012 rank: 2nd, 2011 rank: 3rd; 2010 rank: 4th; 2009 rank: 5th): Royals hold steady at No. 2 and now have Big Game James throwing for them. I like them even more. By the way, some may wonder why I can enjoy the Royals despite their ineptness while I dislike the Cubs because of their ineptness. Well, first, the Royals were once very good. For multiple and consecutive years. During my lifetime. The Cubs? Not so much.
3. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (2012 rank: 3rd; 2011 rank: 4th; 2010 rank: 3rd; 2009 rank: 4th): The addition of Russell Martin doesn't help. But that's a small thing. Now that the Astros are gone, the Pirates are almost the only thing saving the NL Central from a sea of stink. Go Buccos.
4. BOSTON RED SOX (2012 rank: 4th; 2011 rank: 2nd; 2010 rank: 2nd; 2009 rank: 3rd): I wanted to move the Red Sox down a hair because of a second straight year of ugliness, but I looked at the teams below and just couldn't do it. I'll just resign myself to learning about these new Red Sox as they bumble through the season.
5. TEXAS RANGERS (2012 rank: 5th, 2011 rank: 7th; 2010 rank: 13th; 2009 rank: 16th): The Rangers' almost-made-it ways are starting to wear on me, but not enough for me to enjoy them less. Besides, there's this matter of beating the hell out of the Angels this year. I need Texas.
6. BALTIMORE ORIOLES (2012 rank: 10th; 2011 rank: 13th; 2010 rank: 17th; 2009 rank: 17th): There is no team that has taken a more dramatic rise in the rankings in the last five years than the O's. It's all because of the hope I place in this organization for changing the face of the A.L. East. I can hear Bob Dylan singing in the background.
7. OAKLAND A'S (2012 rank: 6th; 2011 rank: 5th; 2010 rank: 8th, 2009 rank: 8th): I'm starting to question myself for continuing to rank the A's this high despite having virtually no knowledge of the team. I'm showing a card of Eric Chavez for crying out loud!
8. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (2012 rank: 8th; 2011 rank: 9th; 2010 rank: 5th; 2009 rank: 2nd): My Plan B team, still beaten and battered, stays put. I'm just not ready to forgive them for 2009 yet.
9. DETROIT TIGERS (2012 rank: 7th; 2011 rank: 8th; 2010 rank: 6th; 2009 rank: 7th): Holy crap, Tigers, what the hell was that? Move down two spaces.
10. CHICAGO WHITE SOX (2012 rank: 9th; 2011 rank: 6th; 2010 rank: 9th: 2009 rank: 11th): I've decided I really can't watch White Sox games on WGN anymore. I just can't take it. ... And, no, this card is not for trade.
11. MINNESOTA TWINS (2012 rank: 11th; 2011 rank: 10th; 2010 rank: 12th; 2009 rank: 13th): Every year I figure out a new player or two on the Twins and then that offseason they get rid of them. TWINS, WHY U NO WANT ME TO LUV U?
12. CINCINNATI REDS (2012 rank: 12th; 2011 rank: 11th; 2010 rank: 10th; 2009 rank: 9th): The Reds hold on because if the Pirates can't crack heads in the NL Central, I'm going to have to rely on Cincinnati.
13. TORONTO BLUE JAYS (2012 rank: 16th; 2011 rank: 17th; 2010 rank: 18th; 2009 rank: 17th): Blue Jays tie with Orioles for biggest leap on the list. Don't fail me now JayJays. I want to see those Yankees no higher than third.
14. HOUSTON ASTROS (2012 rank: 16th; 2011 rank: 16th; 2010 rank: 16th; 2009 rank: 14th): I should bump the Astros down because of their move the American League. But I can't do that because it's not their fault. MLB's continued messing with the Astros has made them a sympathetic figure in my eyes. Enjoy those attendance figures for Houston-Seattle games, MLB.
15. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (2012 rank: 14th; 2011 rank: 12th; 2010 rank: 7th; 2006 rank: 6th): I am not very happy that Skip Schumaker is on the Dodgers. But it's balanced out by the fact that Rafael Furcal is injured. (*Shocked face*)
16. MIAMI MARLINS (2012 rank: 13th; 2011 rank: 15th; 2010 rank: 14th; 2009 rank: 15th): Giancarlo Stanton wants to know what you've done with all of his teammates.
17. CLEVELAND INDIANS (2012 rank: 15th; 2011 rank: 14th; 2010 rank: 11th; 2009 rank: 12th): I was prepared to bump the Indians up and then they acquired Nick Swisher.
18. NEW YORK METS (2012 rank: 19th; 2011 rank: 20th; 2010 rank: 20th; 2009 rank: 21st): Mets fans seem to be distressed over the state of their team. The team's uncertain state just makes me enjoy them more. Gary and Keith should be entertaining this year.
19. TAMPA BAY RAYS (2012 rank: 20th; 2011 rank: 21st; 2010 rank: 20th; 2009 rank: 23rd): Looking forward to seeing what this team can do on this list when they play their home games in a major league stadium.
20. SEATTLE MARINERS (2012 rank: 18th; 2011 rank: 18th; 2010 rank: 19th; 2009 rank: 19th): YOU LET ICHIRO GO TO THE YANKEES!!!!!!!!!!
21. ATLANTA BRAVES (2012 rank: 23rd; 2011 rank: 23rd; 2010 rank: 24th; 2009 rank: 24th): Lord help me, I think I feel a twinge of appreciation for the Braves. And I can't make it go away. Arrrrggghhhh! I've got to stop making this list.
22. WASHINGTON NATIONALS (2012 rank: 24th; 2011 rank: 24th; 2010 rank: 23rd; 2009 rank: 22nd): Stephen Strasburg apparently isn't under a pitch limit this year. I like the team better already.
23. MILWAUKEE BREWERS (2012 rank: 21st; 2011 rank: 19th; 2010 rank: 15th; 2009 rank: 10th): For teams I don't pay much attention to, a single player can bring the whole franchise down. Congratulations, Ryan Braun. Also, Bud Selig pissing on the Astros.
24. CHICAGO CUBS (2012 rank: 22nd; 2011 rank: 22nd: 2010 rank: 22nd; 2009 rank: 20th): I have reached the stage where I hope the Cubs never make .500 again. And, you know, I think some of their fans would be OK with that.
25. COLORADO ROCKIES (2012 rank: 26th; 2011 rank: 26th; 2010 rank: 26th; 2009 rank: 26th): This is big. The Rockies are the first N.L. West team to move up in the standings in the last five years. But they can't take credit for that. By the way, I have no idea who De La Rosa is. I need to find a replacement for him in my binder.
26. ANGELS (2012 rank: 25th; 2011 rank: 25th; 2010 rank: 25th; 2009 rank: 25th): The Angels drop because of their owner's continued obsession with one-upping the Dodgers-slash-world domination. I hope Hamilton and Pujols go 0-for-the summer. And Jason Vargas is not as good as Zack Greinke, not that it's a contest.
27. SAN DIEGO PADRES (2012 rank: 27th; 2011 rank: 27th; 2010 rank: 27th; 2009 rank: 27th): You know what would be funny? If MLB decided to contract the Padres and all their players would go into the Dodgers' organization. That would be funny. ... OK, scratch that, because the Dodgers would be worse. Never mind.
28. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (2012 rank: 28th; 2011 rank: 28th; 2010 rank: 28th; 2009 rank: 28th): With Arizona's offseason moves, I have this fear that the Diamondbacks are trying to out-scrap the Giants. That means there will be two teams in the division obsessed with Scrappy. There will be talk about "chemistry" everywhere. And I'll have to shut myself in a darkened room.
29. NEW YORK YANKEES (2012 rank: 29th; 2011 rank: 28th; 2010 rank: 29th; 2009 rank: 29th): It will be interesting to see if the Yankees have the kind of season that I hope they have. I'm guessing it will be a lot better than a lot of people are saying. At any rate, it will be a lot better than what I want. I would be happy with 0-162.
30. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (2012 rank: 30th; 2011 rank: 30th; 2010 rank: 30th; 2009 rank: 30th): For this team? 0-162 is too good.
And thus ends the 2013 edition.
Post it next to your television so you know who to root for during the game.
(Other 30 teams: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009)