2014 was a year which fell short of expectations for the Nationals. We made the playoffs, but once again could not make it out of the first round.
As we ring in 2015, for my first post of the year I decided to rank all 30 teams of Major League Baseball by how much I like them. Steve just did this yesterday, and he was saying he’d like to see what I thought. I’m excited to see what this year brings! Feel free to comment on your preferences or if you feel, in your opinion, I got something wrong.
1) Washington Nationals – Does this really need explanation?
2) Cincinnati Reds – Without a DC team, I loved the Reds with so much of my family from Cincinnati. I still love the Reds, but only when they don’t play the Nats. If anyone has tickets to the All-Star Game this year, let me know.
3) Chicago Cubs – It’s been a lot of years since they’ve won the World Series. If the Nats aren’t in it, I would guess a lot of baseball fans would like to see them take one.
4) Chicago White Sox – First Adam Dunn and now the beloved Adam LaRoche. They also signed David Ross, the veteran catcher, who I met a long time ago when he was a member of the Reds. I wouldn’t mind seeing them win.
5) Kansas City Royals – Captured America this year during their magical postseason run. Sadly, they ran into a certain roadblock by the name of Bumgarner.
6) Cleveland Indians – Poor Cleveland. It seems like they have pieces to do well, it just needs to come together.
7) Seattle Mariners – I’ve been to Safeco, and the Nats have good memories from this year of their visit to Seattle.
8) San Diego Padres – All of a sudden the Padres mean business. They got Derek Norris, who I’ve watched progress since his days with Potomac, and a bunch of other big name players recently in free agency. I wouldn’t mind seeing them do well.
9) Houston Astros – Their mascot, Orbit, is about the only reason they’re this high on the list. He’s probably the best mascot in all of MLB. Click here, here, here, here, here, here, and here to see why.
10) Miami Marlins – Stanton drops bombs. I’m still trying to catch one of his BP homers when the Marlins come to Nationals Park.
11) Colorado Rockies – Coors Field is so nice, I’ve seen a game there, and my dad lived in Colorado for a while. They also participated in a stand-off with the Nats this season, which I loved.
12) Tampa Bay Rays – One of my favorite movies ever is The Rookie, and Jim Morris was on the Rays.
13) Oakland Athletics – Moneyball showed such an interesting view of baseball, and poor Oakland never seems to succeed anymore. Before the Royals grabbed my attention, I was hoping the A’s would find themselves in the World Series.
14) Detroit Tigers – I played on the Tigers and it gave me some of my best youth baseball memories.
15) St. Louis Cardinals – They win a lot. A lot of people really don’t like them. I, however, are one of few neutral fans who don’t mind them. I love watching the battery of Wainwright and Molina. There’s a reason they’re not higher up on this list, but those are the reasons they aren’t lower either.
16) Texas Rangers –Jim Morris made his debut for the Rays on the road at the Ranger’s stadium. I’ve also seen their stadium from driving around it, and it was a sight to see.
17) Minnesota Twins – Anymore, the Twins are sorta just, there. Not great, not awful, just there.
18) Toronto Blue Jays – You don’t hear a ton about the Blue Jays but watch out this year, they could make a run for the AL East.
19) Los Angeles Angels – Mike Trout is a stud. Also, I rooted for Anaheim when they were in the World Series a lot of years ago.
20) Los Angeles Dodgers – I don’t particularly dislike the Dodgers, but I don’t really like them either; I’m indifferent.
21) Arizona Diamondbacks – Whenever I went to Reds games when I was younger, it seemed like I always saw the Diamondbacks play. There was only so much of Craig Counsell’s swing I could take.
22) New York Mets – I also played on the Mets in Little League, but being in the NL East, I don’t like them as much.
23) New York Yankees – Along with the Cardinals, I don’t hate the Yankees. But Derek Jeter was one of the major reasons I tolerated them, and now that he’s gone, they’ve fallen lower on this list.
24) Milwaukee Brewers – I still remember sitting in the hotel room in Virginia Beach and watching Josh Willingham hit his second grand slam of the game for the Nats in Milwaukee.
25) Baltimore Orioles – Peter Angelos, why do you make things so difficult? They also ruin the National Anthem.
26) Philadelphia Phillies – Lingering dislike from when the Phillies fans would pack Nats Park.
27) San Francisco Giants – I’m just not a huge Giants fan. Used to love them with Barry Bonds, but then he used steroids.
28) Pittsburgh Pirates – I don’t have a ton against the Pirates, except that they play in Pittsburgh. And that right there is the major problem.
29) Boston Red Sox – Boston and Pittsburgh, my two least favorite sports cities in America. I’ve visited Boston (not Fenway), and the city itself has so much history. But we’re talking sports and baseball here, and man do I not like those two cities’ teams.
30) Atlanta Braves – If you thought anyone else would be last, then you obviously don’t know me very well.
On Wednesday, February 12th, the baseball world was dealt some shocking news. The Captain, Derek Jeter, posted a letter to his Facebook page announcing this season would be his final season as a player. The Twitter world was active in spreading the news, and #FarewellCaptain was trending following the announcement.
This will be the 20th season for the legendary New York Yankees‘ shortstop, and he has had his share of iconic moments over the years. From the “Jump Throw” to his 3000th hit, Jeter has proved himself to be one of the greatest to ever play the game.
Love the Yankees or hate the Yankees, you just can’t hate Derek Jeter. What he has meant to the game of baseball over the last 20 years is almost beyond words. Through baseball’s black eye of the steroid era, he has been a pillar of integrity and the model player we would all like to resemble. Parents can trust that if their youth look to him as their hero, he will not let them down.
Jeter is the third player in the last three seasons to announce his retirement prior to Opening Day. In 2012, Braves legend Chipper Jones declared that would be his final season. Last year, fellow Yankee Mariano Rivera told the world he would step away from baseball following the season. In both cases, the players were honored at the last game they played in each visiting stadium. For example, if the Braves played the Rockies, before the last game they played in Colorado that season, the Rockies would pay tribute to Chipper.
Some may question whether that is the right decision, or if it would be better and more humble to simply hold a press conference after the season was over.
However, especially in the case of Jeter, playing the season as somewhat of a farewell tour is completely the right decision. Over the last 20 years, baseball would not be the same game if he had not been a part of it. I remember when I was young my mom got me a book on Derek Jeter. While I was not a huge Yankee fan, I admired the talented player who is so valuable to the game. Announcing his decision when he did allows the league to appropriately thank Jeter for everything he has done for baseball over his career.
Immediately following the decision, as one may expect, ticket prices for his home finale soared. As of yesterday, the average price was around $800. But wouldn’t ya know, his final regular season game in the Pinstripes is not at Yankee Stadium. It is at the home of their arch-rival Boston Red Sox on September 28th. Needless to say, that will be a closely watched spectacle.
I do not hate the Yankees like many do, but I’m not a huge fan either. Just indifferent. If they win, great, if they lose, alright. But Derek Jeter is another story. He is a player so honored I had to dedicate a post as a tribute to his legacy.
So Mr. Jeter, thank you. Thank you for being an inspiration to a generation. Thank you for being the honorable player we could look to through the hard times of scandal. Thank you for your dedication to this great game, and for your positive attitude towards it. Thank you for playing the game the right way. You will surely be missed.
Assuming this is his last season as a player, Jeter will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2020. I think the only question is, will it be a unanimous vote?