As I’ve mentioned before, my son and I spend a lot of time following baseball. He likes to come up with different ideas related to our fandom, such as “Who are your favorite players?” and “What are your favorite stadiums?“
His latest idea: Rank all 30 MLB teams in order of your favorite to your least favorite. Challenge accepted.
Below is my ranking, grouped into various categories. Note that this list is as of *now* – the rankings often depend on current players, so it’s subject to change at any time.
1. Cincinnati Reds
Well, duh. I grew up in Cincinnati and now live in Cincinnati. The Reds will be my favorite team through thick and thin (mostly thin over the years, unfortunately).
Adopted Hometown Teams
2. Tampa Bay Rays
I’ve moved around a lot over the years, and most recently I lived near Tampa. I enjoyed following the Rays, and have come to appreciate how they try to do more with less (money, that is).
3. Washington Nationals
Before Florida, I lived near DC and was there when the Expos moved there and became the Nationals. I have a hard time watching their games because I hate their TV broadcasters so much, but I love watching Bryce Harper, so it balances out.
I’ve also lived near Pittsburg and in Baltimore, but they don’t make the cut. I lived in a town 30 minutes west of Pittsburg during the late 90’s when the Pirates were mired in mediocrity, so I never took to them. And I didn’t like living in Baltimore (see “Teams I Actively Root Against” below).
4. Cleveland Indians
I haven’t always been a fan of the Indians, but the combination of an Ohio team, Francisco Lindor, and Terry Francona has got me quite interested in them in recent years.
Generally Root For
These are teams that I generally root for, assuming they aren’t playing for a team higher in the rankings. I enjoy watching them, either because of their style of play, current players, or just some unknown reason.
Honorary Team: Montreal Expos
If the Expos ever came back, they would definitely rank high on my list. As much as I like the Nationals, I wish the Expos were still a team.
5. Los Angeles Angels
6. Los Angeles Dodgers
There is no reason I should like the Dodgers, but I always have – even when they were bitter rivals of the Reds back in the 70s-80s.
7. Boston Red Sox
I really shouldn’t like the Red Sox at all, either, considering they are the Evil Empire II. But for some reason I do often root for them.
8. San Francisco Giants
I probably just got biased toward them during their recent run of success. They were able to have a dynasty without being annoying, probably because of Buster Posey.
9. Houston Astros
For years the Astros were on my “Meh” list, but their recent run of success and their young players make them enjoyable to watch.
10. Miami Marlins
They make this part of the list almost solely due to Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez (who died last year but still hovers over the Marlins). Plus Ichiro.
11. Chicago Cubs
I initially had the Cubs at #5 and I wrote this:
“How can you not root for the Cubs these days? I’m sure if they keep winning they’ll become annoying, but we’re not there yet.”
Then I went to a Reds-Cubs game last week in Cincinnati, and I was surrounded by obnoxious Cubs fans. So I take that back. They drop to #11.
This is just a jumble of teams that I couldn’t care less about. The rankings in this section are pretty fluid and kinda made-up.
12. Pittsburgh Pirates
13. Detroit Tigers
14. Oakland A’s
15. Colorado Rockies
16. Kansas City Royals
17. San Diego Padres
The epitome of a “meh” team, they appropriately are in the middle of this group.
18. Milwaukee Brewers
19. Seattle Mariners
The post-Griffey, post-Ichiro Mariners are so “meh” I actually forgot to list them initially.
20. Atlanta Braves
21. Minnesota Twins
22. Chicago White Sox
23. Arizona Diamondbacks
I almost put them in the “Actively Root Against” category due to their horrid uniforms alone, but Paul Goldschmidt bumped them to “meh”.
Actively Root Against
Here we have teams I actively dislike. If two of these teams play each other, I might root for the higher-ranked one, or I might just root for both to lose.
24. Texas Rangers
I used to like the Rangers during the Josh Hamilton years, and I think Adrian Beltre is a national treasure, but I’ve come to dislike the Rangers a great deal. I think it’s their manager – I find his face very annoying.
25. Toronto Blue Jays
I also used to like the Blue Jays, but Jose Bautista’s routine has grown stale, their stadium is ugly, and they’re from Canada.
26. Philadelphia Phillies
You’ll see a lot of East Coast teams on this part of the list. The Phillies have ugly uniforms, no personality as a team, and are based on the East Coast.
27. Baltimore Orioles
I lived in the Baltimore area for a few years, and I really didn’t like it. I think I projected this dislike on their baseball team, which I really don’t like.
28. New York Mets
I have an almost irrational dislike for the Mets, who’ve never really been good enough to be annoying. Perhaps it’s just the New York stench on them.
29. St. Louis Cardinals
Admittedly, this low ranking for the Cardinals is mostly based on jealousy. They aren’t a much bigger market than the Reds, are a Midwest team in the NL Central, yet they are consistently successful while the Reds are…not. I’m convinced they made a deal with the devil years ago.
30. New York Yankees
Do I really need to explain this one?