It’s spring training and all the teams are out there getting prepped for the six months of regular season ahead of them. Baseball, since its season is so long, is a weird sport and team fortunes can change pretty quickly. However, I am not going out on a very long limb by stating this could possibly be the most lopsided season we’ve seen for a long time. The disparity between awesomeness and sorry-ass, to me, has never been wider.
For some teams the season will be far longer than they want. As such let’s start in reverse, like a spinning bunt that hits fair but slowly trickles right over the foul line to ultimately just be a strike… or in these collective teams’ cases, an out.
The ‘Keep your Bats in the Rack” Group
Colorado Rockies – they traded their best player, Nolan Arenado, to the Cardinals for a sack of seeds that no matter good the soil is and how carefully they water, will never germinate to anything of substance. They will be so bad that if California slides into the ocean, the Rockies still won’t win the NL West. They’re destined to be bad for a minimum of 5 years. Are there other teams worse than the Rockies? I believe yes, at least two.
Pittsburgh Pirates – Hold your collective beers, Rockies. Not only are the Pirates worse, they are in a shit division where frankly ever single team should have a chance to win it. Nay, not the Pirates. Sadly, one of the weakest parts of their game is their inability to go YARd and when you’re a Pirate not being able to go YARd is so sad. Weak-ass hitting. Their only hope for the future is that each team in their division continues to get worse.
Baltimore Orioles – stuck in a division heavy with improvement they really stand no chance as it is. They’re staring up at the Blue Jays, Rays, and Yankees, let alone the Red Sox (who will win nothing this year BTW). As usual, all the Orioles have is hope dangling like a carrot known as ‘rebuilding.’
The “Swing What Will It Hurt” Group
Texas Rangers – When you have a division that contains the ‘Always In It’ A’s, the cheatin’ Astros, and Mike Trout, the hill you need to climb is a tad steep. Losing your best pitcher from last year, Lance Lynn (or pitchers – he’s a tad large), is not good.
Arizona Diamondbacks – same division as the Rockies, but if California does dive into the Pacific, they will win the division by basically doing nothing. Nothing was seemingly their off-season mantra. Sit and watch the California teams get better.
Seattle Mariners – What? Two teams from the same division in this category? Yep. Between them and Texas they should just hold team barbecues or something more worthwhile than facing the rest of the AL West. Really, the Mariners could have been slotted into the “Keep your Bats in the Rack” Group.
Detroit Tigers – For the love of Ty Cobb and Justin Verlander, they’re at least trying. But they happen to be looking up at the vastly-improving White Sox, the relatively solid Indians and solid Twins, let alone the…
Kansas City Royals – didn’t they win a World Series this past decade, you say? Why yes they did. And that, my baseball glove leather-smelling friends, means nothing now. They are a mess, bit a slightly better mess than the Tigers.
Miami Marlins – The only way they stood a chance last year during the COVID-shortened season was to brilliantly be COVID-plagued so they were able to sit out and watch every team in the NL East exhaust themselves. Then they came roaring into the season, were hot, only to peter out. This year? You don’t get that opportunity Miami. Slog it out with the rest of your division and chances are you’ll be done by July.
San Francisco Giants – If you are keeping a scorecard this is Team Three of Five of the NL West. It’s not that the Giants will be awful, they won’t as they are making some sort of strides to improve. However, the Padres and the hated Dodgers are so loaded that trying to overcome them this year will be a fruitless endeavor. Look for them to be competitive in about 3 years. Go Giants.
Boston Red Sox – See the Giants only change the teams to the Yankees and Blue Jays, and add the Rays. The Bosox have a lot of question marks in the field, and still more on the mound. It’s not good.
The “May as well be Kissing Your Sister” Group
These are the teams who have rosters that look like they may be able to make some noise but will ultimately be hovering around .500 for the entire season.. I know there are some states in the union who may beg to differ on that opinion (looking right at you Kentucky), but being in the middle sucks as much as it does taking your sister to the prom (don’t look into that, it did not happen to me). There are some baseball fans who will look at this group of teams and have an argument about them being in the middle. Bring it on.
Rather than giving you fine people an explanation regarding why each team is mediocre, I’ll just list them to we can get on to the teams that will make some noise. Your Sister-Kissers are: Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Angels, Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs. Yeah suck on it, Cubs fans. Your team traded away Darvish and sunk your battleship right there.
The “So You’re Saying There’s a Chance” Group
If you’re keeping score, you may notice there are two divisions where there is only one team left per division – the AL West and the NL Central.
Oakland A’s – Yes I am going to predict they win the AL West even with the specter of the cheatin’ Astros breathing down their necks for six months.
St. Louis Cardinals – Goddamn it all to hell and Arenado, those bastards should take the NL Central. Last year they were aptly nicknamed the COVID Cardinals as they couldn’t corral the virus any better than they could play decent ball. This year they are sitting in a division so bad they could win less than 90 games and take it. However, they won’t be good enough to advance in the postseason.
Toronto Blue Jays – Yep, they belong in this group only due to the fact the Yankees are sitting atop the AL East with more than enough talent to overcome the youngsters playing ball in Toronto. And yes, they will be playing in Toronto this season. Last season you may recall they ended up in Buffalo as the Canadian Government wisely said ‘no’ to traveling teams coming in to their country breathing COVID into the air infecting fine Canadian lungs.
New York Mets – The Mets have Francisco Lindor. That’s a pretty good reason for them to be in it the entire season, but they also have an excellent pitching roster. That’ll keep them in the hunt for the NL East title for the whole season and they may well take the Atlanta Braves down, but I don’t think so.
Chicago White Sox – Damn it they will be fun and they will improve. But they have one thing stopping them from beating the Twins for the AL Central title, and that’s the incredibly dumb hiring of Tony La Russa. Sure, he’s the 3rd winningest manager of all time but length of service doesn’t make you a genius or relatable to your players. He’s none of those, but he’s one hell of a drinker.
The “We’re Swinging Serious Lumber” Group
Minnesota Twins – Perhaps they aren’t really that great, but they have some seriously talented everyday players and starting pitching. It’s just enough to take the White Sox who will be waking up their manager every game to have him make half-ass decisions. Damn I cannot stand La Loosa (that’s not a typo – he sucks). But with the Twins, there is certainly not enough talent to make much of a splash in the post-season. Hell, the Twins hold the worst playoff game losing streak on all of baseball post-season history. It’s currently at 18 games.
Atlanta Braves – Will they best the Mets for the NL East title? Odds are yes. Will they be able to carry themselves deep into the post-season? I’ll say no. There are two teams decidedly in their way…
San Diego Padres – Holy Christ on a cracker this team is locked and loaded, ready to take on the hated Dodgers. And while I do think there should be a lot of hope in the sleepy city of San Diego, I still think there isn’t quite enough starting pitching to take down the Dodgers.
Los Angeles Dodgers – I lived in LA for a few years. I actually liked it, but it only made me hate the Dodgers even more. Annoying fanbase and a stadium that everyone thinks is great but actually isn’t can get to a Giants fan pretty quickly.
Did I forget a team? Yes. New York Yankees – Not a fan, so I hope they don’t get to the World Series. However, I predict they will be the last team standing in the American League, as much as the Dodgers will be in the National League. I can only hope the pinstripes beat the bums. Hell I can only hope ANYONE beats the hated Dodgers.