To be honest, this question was posed on Dubsism two years ago by myself and Dick Marple, the Chairman of the Dubsism Advisory Board. You can see the original post here, but since then, the numbers we examined have only gone up.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is the over-arching question. I know that means saying “yes” to that question means saying that Derek Jeter is a greater Yankee than some heavy-duty legends not just in pinstripes, but to baseball in general. Some people are simply going to scream their brains out stuck on the pre-eminence of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, and Joe DiMaggio.
However, doing so misses some really important stuff. For starters, let’s look at Jeter’s place in Yankee history, statistically speaking in the offensive categories. Also, don’t forget these number have at least two months of baseball left to change…
- Games Played: 2695 (1st)
- At-Bats: 10,988 (1st)
- Runs Scored: 1,510 (2nd, needs 50 to pass Babe Ruth)
- Runs Batted In: 1,288 (6th)
- Hits: 3,420 (1st)
- Doubles: 536 (1st)
- Triples: 66 (13th)
- Home Runs: 258 (9th)
- Strike-outs: 1,812 (1st)
- Stolen Bases: 356 (1st)
- Caught Stealing: 96 (5th)
- Batting Average: .311 (7th)
- On-Base Percentage: .380 (17th)
- Slugging Percentage: .442 (37th)
A lot of people will look at those numbers and will be surprised at how many categories in which Jeter is the all-time Yankee leader. The numbers that surprised me were the fact that Jeter is in the Yankees’ top ten in home runs considering all the sluggers that have worn pinstripes. Lou Gehrig was a doubles-hitting machine, but Derek Jeter passed him. But on the other side of the coin, I was surprised that Jeter’s on-base percentage wasn’t higher than it is.
Now, for the fun part. When it comes to the non-statistical arguments, in my mind the battle for the title of Greatest Yankee Ever is a two-horse race; Jeter or Ruth.
Had Lou Gehrig’s career not been cut short, this is a different conversation. Two more seasons and Gehrig would have been in the 500-home run, 3,000-hit club. Having reached that plateau may very well have made him the subject of this discussion.
Two years ago, I had DiMaggio at #2 on this list. But I honestly believe Jeter sailed past the Yankee Clipper on the following points. DiMaggio’s biggest claim to fame was being the best hitter in the game not named Ted Williams. While Jeter was not the batsman DiMaggio was, Jeter is arguably the biggest clutch performer baseball has seen since Reggie “Mr. October” Jackson. Jeter also did this while playing more games than anybody else in the history of baseball at the toughest position on the diamond that doesn’t have to wear a mask. Jeter also passed DiMaggio in terms of notches on the bedpost as well. The Yankee Clipper got to call Marilyn Monroe a “home port,” but Derek Jeter has a list of conquests of legendary proportions.
But no matter how you slice it, I simply cannot put anybody ahead of Babe Ruth. If I were to make a list of the greatest sports figures of the 20th Century, Babe Ruth tops it all for three massively important reasons.
First of all, Babe Ruth changed baseball. Before “The Sultan of Swat,” the home run was an anomaly in an era when the ball was made out of lettuce and it was legal to put an entire quart of Pennzoil on the ball. Before Ruth, baseball’s home run leader was a guy named Frank “Home run” Baker, who was tearing up that salad-ball to the tune of eight taters a year. Without the “Bambino,” we would never have had our century-long fascination with the long ball.
That fact led to two other reasons. The old Yankee Stadium was called “The House That Ruth Built” because people would fill a 20,000-seat ballpark to watch Ruth do his thing. Not only did other baseball owners realize that people would pay to see their product, it’s no accident that the other major sports leagues started after Ruth built baseball.
To top it all off, let’s not forget that Babe Ruth comes along at a time when baseball sorely needed a star. In 1919, baseball was on the verge of being destroyed by the “Black Sox Scandal,” and it was the combination of Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis restoration of the integrity of the game and Ruth mesmerizing blasts that saved it.
Apologies in advance for the “Mothership“- style lead, but this question came up in a conversation and I really think it has some probative value.
At first it sounds ridiculous, but if you stop to think about it, no matter what you think of Derek Jeter and the Yankees, there’s really no question that the current Yankee captain is headed for the Hall of Fame and the Yankee’s Monument Park. Having said that, it seems logical to wonder where does Jeter rank amongst those Yankees of yore?
First of all, this is about everyday players, not pitchers. Let ESPN try to convince you that Andy Pettitte is the greatest Yankee pitcher ever because he won the most post-season games.
Secondly, this list only considers players who spent at minimum something at least close to half their careers in pinstripes. That’s why there’s no Reggie Jackson on this list. To make the list of ten finalists, both myself and Dick Marple, the Chairman of the Dubsism Advisory Board compiled a list of who we thought could be considered as the greatest Yankees ever.
Third, and most importantly, don’t forget that both J-Dub and Marple are avowed haters of all things Yanqui. But the question has been asked on several other outlets, and so we felt it necessary to settle it.
- Babe Ruth
- Lou Gehrig
- Mickey Mantle
- Joe DiMaggio
- Yogi Berra
- Derek Jeter *
- Robinson Cano**
- Bill Dickey
- Don Mattingly
- Tie – Earle Combs, Tommy Henrich, Bob Meusel, Tony Lazzeri, Phil Rizzuto
* Shoot me now. I really do want to see him die on the field after being struck by lightning.
** Could end up as high as 6 or even 5-if he stays healthy, stays in NY and doesn’t turn into a total asshole.
*** Can’t vote for anyone who became a Y because of their economic advantage over other teams who discovered talent. Therefore no A-Rod, Dave Winfield, or Reggie Jackson.
****Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but I liked Bernie Williams as a player and fantasy league guy, but I just don’t think he was a big impact player.
Editor’s note: It should be noted that less than 48 hours after we posed this question to Mr. Marple, Jeter shattered his ankle.
- Babe Ruth
- Lou Gehrig
- Mickey Mantle
- Derek Jeter
- Joe DiMaggio
- Tie -Alex Rodriguez, Bill Dickey
- Yogi Berra
- Dave Winfield
- Don Mattingly
- Bernie Williams
From those lists, a list of ten finalists was assembled. Here’s the synopsis on those finalists, presented in alphabetical order:
1) Yogi Berra:
No single player in baseball history has more World Series rings than Yogi Berra. Having played 18 seasons as a Yankee, Yogi played in 14 World Series and won 10 of them, making him the winning champion in Major League Baseball history.
Berra was a fan favorite; he was one of the most beloved players in all of New York sports history. To this day he is an icon to Yankee fans everywhere, largely because he was one of the greatest catchers of all time. Berra hit 358 home runs and knocked in 1,430 RBIs. He won three MVP titles, including back-to-back awards in 1954 and 1955. He also played in 15 consecutive All-Star games.
2) Joe DiMaggio:
DiMaggio is obviously one of the greatest hitters of all time; his greatest achievement being his legendary 56-game hitting streak, which is believed by many to be an unbreakable record. A three-time MVP, DiMaggio hit .325 with 361 home runs and 1,537 RBI. Unfortunately, his career was interrupted by WWII, his military service took three years out of his baseball career.
In 13 seasons as a Yankee, DiMaggio won nine World Series championships, and he was an All-Star in every season of his career. However,
3) Lou Gehrig:
Lou Gehrig was often over-shadowed by the monstrous numbers of Babe Ruth, but make no mistake…Gehrig was one of the all-time greats in all of baseball all on his own. Gehrig hit 493 home runs and drove in 1,995 runs while scoring 1,888 runs himself. He had a .340 career average with 2,721 hits over his 17 seasons as a Yankee. He won two MVP awards and played in only seven All-Star games, but you have to remember the All-Star game wasn’t around until Gehrig’s last seven seasons.
4) Derek Jeter:
Before his ankle injury the other night, Derek Jeter was considered by many to be the next player to be able to reach 4,000 hits. Regardless of what happens regarding the rest of his career, Jeter has become as much of a Yankee icon as any other on this list.
Of all the accomplished players on this list, Jeter is the only member of the 3,000 hit club. He was named the 11th captain of the Yankees in 2003, making him the first since Don Mattingly retired in 1995.
Jeter also holds several Yankee franchise record, including most hits and plate appearances, most games played, and stolen bases.
5) Don Mattingly:
The 1985 MVP, Mattingly played his entire career with the Yankees and was the captain of the team from 1991 through the end of his career in 1995. Unlike the other players on this list, Mattingly played in a down for the Bronx Bombers. Despite his individual success, the team did not endure the same success. The 1980s were the only decade so far in which the Yankees did not win a World Series title.
6) Mickey Mantle:
“The Mick” was the end of a line of legendary Yankee heroes, from Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, through Joe DiMaggio, and to the end of his career. No one was there to pick up where Mantle left off in the late ’60s and the Yankees went into a World Series drought, not winning one from 1962 till 1977. Mantle belted 536 home runs with 1,509 RBI, while scoring 1,677 runs, and was arguable the greatest switch-hitter of all time.
7) Alex Rodriguez:
Forget about the steroid thing for a minute…of you are a regular reader of this blog, you know what I think of the whole steroid issue. Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest players of all-time, regardless of how the writers and the other self-appointed steroid moralists care to view him. To date, he has 2,901 hits, 647 home runs and 1.950 RBIs.
8) Babe Ruth:
It’s pretty hard to argue that Babe Ruth is not the greatest player to ever wear the pinstripes. Before he became a Yankee, Ruth was a pitcher for the Red Sox who had a record of 89-46 with a 2.19 ERA.
Then the Yankees figured out he might be able to hit. Over his 15 seasons in the Bronx, Babe Ruth hit 659 home runs, had 1,971 RBI, scored 1,959 runs, walked 1,852 times, and hit .349. That pretty much says it all.
9) Bernie Williams:
Bernie Williams played his entire 16-season career in pinstripes and was a key member to the recent dynasty years, winning four World Series titles with the Yankees. Williams hit .297 with 287 home runs and 1,257 RBI. He also scored 1,366 runs and had 2,336 hits. His 449 doubles ranks third on the Yankees all-time list. He appeared in five straight All-Star games and won four Gold Gloves.
10) Dave Winfield:
At 6’6″ Winfield was a giant of a man, but he was also a true “five-tool” player athlete who never spent a day in the Minor Leagues. While Winfield played for six major league teams in 22 seasons, the prime years of his career were spent in New York. Like Mattingly, Winfield earned six All-Star appearances with some pretty bad Yankee teams of the 1980’s.
If you are more of a numbers guys, compare the career stats of the ten finalists.
To remove the skew for guys like Winfield and Rodriguez who didn’t play there entire careers in New York, compare what the average single-season numbers for these players are.
Note that Jeter compares favorably with DiMaggio in hits and doubles, and leads in stolen bases.
So, having considered all that, where does Derek Jeter fit in terms of all-time Yankee greats?
If you are an old geezer like me, you know that during World War II, the NFL ran so short of players because of the war that for three years between 1942 and 1945, the league merged the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles into one team, the Phil-Pitt Steagles. With baseball season fast approaching, I though to myself, why not take a similar approach with my most hated baseball teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees.
The idea was to build an all-time team out of players who played for both teams, just like I’ve already done with my two favorite teams. I thought since I’d created a team from my favorites, why not create a natural rival for them from the two team I dislike the most?
With that, allow me to introduce the New Angeles Dodgekees:
- Joe Torre
- Russell Martin
- Dioner Navarro
- 1B Doug Mientkiewicz
- 2B Steve Sax
- 2B Willie Randolph
- SS Angel Berroa
- SS-3B Wilson Betemit
- 1b-3B Robin Ventura
- Darryl Strawberry
- Andruw Jones
- Kenny Lofton
- Raul Mondesi
- Ricky Ledee
- Mariano Duncan
- Jose Vizcaino
- Marcus Thames
- SP Kevin Brown
- SP Tommy John
- SP David Wells
- SP Rick Honeycutt
- SP Hiroki Kuroda
- RP Esteban Loaiza
- RP Mike Morgan
- RP Tanyon Sturtze
- RP Steve Howe
- RP John Wetteland
- RP Octavio Dotel
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1) It’s time to change the Yankees’ name
Given the performance of the the heart of the Bronx Bomber lineup, it may be time to rename them the New York Houdinis. Nobody has ever pulled a better disappearing act than Alex Rodriguez and Mark Texieira.
2) Ryan Howard would be a perfect fit for the New York Houdinis
If New York didn’t already have a big-time disappearing first-baseman, and now what seems to be a next-season-threatening Achilles tendon injury not withstanding, it is hard to overlook Howard’s paltry production against the Cardinals.
3) Money Can’t Buy It All
Can we now officially dismiss the idea that it is money alone which spells success in baseball? The following table should tell the story:
Not only are the four teams remaining in the playoffs in the middle of the pack in terms of payroll, and not only are there a number of high-payroll team that didn’t even get a sniff of October, but look at how many big spenders were honestly terrible:
When six of the top ten in payroll don’t make the playoffs, and when four of those can’t even crack .500, and one of those damn near loses 100 games, stop trying to tell me that money is the only reason teams are successful.
4) How long before the Philadelphia Phillies become the Red Mets?
Don’t laugh yet, city of Brotherly Love…It didn’t take the Red Sox long to become the Red Yankees, and if you aren’t careful, you could easily become a “cheesesteak and water ice” version of the Mets. Don’t forget that both you and the Red Sox have won a World Series in the last four years, then added payroll to improve a Championship-caliber team with a negative result.
Now all that has to happen is the infusion of New York/Boston-style drama, a key injury or two (Ryan Howard, anybody?) and bada-bing, the Phils are a 75-win team with a $175 million payroll.
5) The New “Love ‘em or Hate ‘em” Squad
Now that the Yankees are off to winter of tee-times in Tampa, baseball fans are in desperate need of another polarizing squad which we can either cheer or curse. Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce your 2011 Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers – a team which embodies the same sort of brash, youthful exuberance which the majority of catheter-bound baseball fans will absolutely freaking hate – might just be exactly what baseball needs to attract the attention of anybody under 30.
The last night of the regular season and the drama of three elimination games in the past two days exemplify the heart-exploding drama baseball can provide, but the trouble is it can take weeks to build to those moments. In the mean time, baseball could use a bit of brash to liven up its image.
Frankly, I’ve grown exceptionally weary of these stodgy old farts who think they get to rule the baseball landscape with all their 19th-century “unwritten rules” and general disdain of anything which happened after 1960. My wife is going to keel over in hysterics if she reads this, because she thinks I am the face of the term “stodgy old fart.” The truth is she’s right, but I’m parting ways with my stodgy, old brethren because I am tired of watching baseball sink further into irrelevancy because of a bunch of geezers who don’t give a damn about the future.
Time to face facts, my fellow gray hairs…we ain’t the future. Those long-haired little whipper-snappers with their rock ‘n’ roll 8-track tapes are. If it takes a bit of brash to keep them interested, then so be it. I, for one, refuse to watch baseball become as irrelevant as the WNBA because you are so uptight your ass rips dime-size holes in your adult diaper.
In other words, make all the crazy gestures and drop all the F-bombs you want, Nyjer Morgan. Somebody has to be the straw that stirs the Metamucil for all of baseball’s grumpy old fans.
I’m just going to come right out and say it…if you didn’t find last night’s baseball drama to be one of the most exciting things you’ve seen since discount warehouse liquor stores, you either don’t like baseball or you have no pulse.
I’m such an old codger that I can remember first-hand the days of Charlie O. Finley, the chain-link outfield fence at Candlestick Park, and Bucky F–king Dent, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that last night was the single-most exciting four hours of baseball I’ve ever personally witnessed. Being that old geezer, you have to understand this includes Game 6 of the ’75 World Series, Reggie Jackson hitting three homers on three swings against the Dodgers, the ’78 Red Sox-Yankees playoff (hence Bucky F–king Dent), Game 6 of the ’86 World Series, the 1987 World Series (preceded by the August weekend in Milwaukee in which Kirby Puckett supplanted Rod Carew as my lord and personal savior), Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, and all things Bartman-esque.
But none of those things – not a single damn one of them – involved four games occurring simultaneously which held the structure of the post-season in the balance. The Cards took their game out of the mix early by drubbing the Astros, and it seemed the Yankees had done the same on the grand slam by Mark Teixiera. When Dustin Pedroia put the Red Sox in front of the Orioles with his homer, I don’t think anybody in America saw what was coming in the next few hours.
If you are a follow of @Dubsism on Twitter, you saw the prophecy in action.
9:30 P.M. ET
Okay, so I missed on the playoff thing, but after Jon Lester somehow managed to get out of the 6th inning without giving away the ball game despite his complete inability to throw a strike, all you had to do was look into the Sawwwx dugout to see they knew they had just used up their miracle.
Again, the Orioles just won’t go away, and here comes Jonathan “I can blow that save, Terry” Papelbon. But just moments before Papelbon has his soon-to-be-infamous meltdown, Dan Johnson has his moment in Tampa.
That’s right, the hero of the moment is a guy who was hitting south of .130 and hadn’t had a major league hit since April. Toss in the fact that he looked completely overmatched on pitches prior to that home run, and one couldn’t help but be reminded of Bernie Carbo.
Next comes the Papelbon catastrophe (raise your hand if you didn’t see it coming…by now it was painfully apparent). This left the only hope for the Sawwwx in a Rays extra-inning loss.
Then it happened.
12:00 A.M. ET
Evan Longoria stroked the Red Sox into the off-season, all while propelling us into what promises to be an incredible post-season. But it also will push us into a discussion about just what happened.
While the Braves collapse is just as embarrassing as that of Boston’s, it simply is more fun to rub some salt in the collective wounds of the Sawwwx nation. See, as an Angels fan, I’ve hated the Red Sox ever since the Dave Henderson homer in the ’86 ALCS.
You should understand that for the rest of us, those of us not fans of the Yankees or Red Yankees, those of us whose teams have spent a decade playing the Washington Generals to east-of-the-Hudson, bloated-payroll Globetrotters…when either team fails, it is the same sort of soul-filling pablum that makes people watch soap operas. We all love to watch the rich and famous stumble.
And after all that, here we are; another October full of post-season baseball. Let’s be honest, most of the crap I said about these teams six months ago was wrong, so why not go for month number seven proving I have no idea what I’m talking about.
Indeed, how many of those things turned out true? Remember when I said the Yankees and the Red Sox were mirror images of each other, and it would be a race between the two to see which collapsed first? Well, the Red Sox waited until September before they folded faster than Superman on laundry day, allowing themselves to get run down by a Rays team that could be this years answer to the San Francisco Giants.
But enough of looking back…let’s look ahead to the post-season. Here are your eight participants and their odds of coming home with a title.
1) Philadelphia Phillies – (Pre-season Rank #1, 102-60, NL East Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 2.5-1
This team is all about the pitching staff, with just enough offense to make it work. It worked to the tune of 100+ wins, and this is the proverbial “team to beat” until somebody does just that. The biggest concern is that in the National League, the team to finish with the best record hasn’t won the World Series since the 1986 Mets, and since the Phillies obviously won’t have the luxury of facing the Red Sawwwx…
2) New York Yankees (Pre-season Rank #4, 97-65, AL East Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 4-1
The Yankees are the photo-negative of the Phillies; they sport a monstrous line-up and a pitching staff made up of CC Sa-fat-tia and a lot of “not much else.”
Now, it’s time for some equal-opportunity hating: Are you now, or have you ever been a Yankees fan? Are you under the age of 45? Have you ever said “The Yankees sucked when I was a kid, so I’m not of one these new Yankee fans that came along when we started winning again”? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you are pretentious douche-nozzle and you would be doing the world a favor if you stuck a shotgun in your mouth.
There’s soooooooooo many reasons to hate the Yankees. First, there’s the aforementioned loyalty-less assloafs who think just because the Yankees sucked in the 80′s means they aren’t some dickhead who needs to be on the winning side. But least there is one less reason to hate them, since that piece of deep-fried monkey nuts known as George Steinbrenner is dead. At least he has a burn-in-hell worthy legacy, like sodomizing New York City out of a billion dollars to build a replica of a 90-year old mausoleum of decency, then filling it with insufferable dickweeds who are now actually proud of their Ruthian douche-baggery.
Oh, and I haven’t mentioned this yet, but you have no idea how much it pissed me off that after Steinbrenner assumed room temperature that I kept being told “You didn’t have to like him, but you had to respect him.” Eat me. The same people who said this are the same people responsible for the impending death of America. George Steinbrenner was a criminal who deserves the same respect a dog pays to a fire hydrant.
3) Tampa Bay Rays (Pre-season Rank #18, 91-71, AL Wild Card) – Odds of Winning World Series: 5.5-1
This is clearly a reactionary pick. Last year I picked the Giants as the least likely team to win, and I’m not making that mistake again. This team plays just like last years champions. They get big hits when they need them, and they get enough pitching to make those hits stand up. Not to mention, if you believe in momentum AT ALL, you can’t bet against this club.
4) Milwaukee Brewers (Pre-season Rank #12, 96-66, NL Central Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 7-1
This is the first appearance the Brew Crew has made in the post-season since Harvey’s Wallbangers in 1982. The Brewers finished with a 57-24 record at home, which was both best in the major leagues and a franchise record. Since they will host the Diamondbacks in the first round, that should bode well for the boys from Beer City.
5) Arizona Diamondbacks (Pre-Season Rank #11, 94-67, NL West Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 8-1
Don’t look now, but this is a franchise that wins with pitching. They won the 2001 World Series with Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson, and Arizona moundsmen have earned five Cy Young Awards in 13 seasons. This year, the D-backs sport right-handers Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson, as well as left-hander Joe Saunders who have all racked up 200 innings.
With all those innings-eaters at the top of the rotation, the D-Backs always more often than not have a fresh bullpen, which means manager Kirk Gibson often can get desirable individual late-game matchups. This also means Arizona tends not to get far behind in ball games, which is part of the reason for the team’s big-league-high 48 comeback victories.
Oh, and as a life-long Dodger-hater, I’m obliged to bring up the quintessential Kirk Gibson post-season moment…I may need a bucket…
6) St. Louis Cardinals (Pre-Season Rank #16, 90-72, NL Wild Card) – Odds of Winning World Series: 9-1
Only the Yankees have won more World Series titles than the Cardinals, and both have won in the last five years. This means the Cardinals are a team with plenty of post-season experience.
They also have that momentum factor I mentioned with the Rays. The Cardinals got hot in September after being 10 1/2 games behind the Braves on Aug. 25. This means they won 23 of their last 32 games.
7) Texas Rangers (Pre-Season Rank #13, 95-66, AL West Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 12-1
Texas hit .320 in September, the highest batting average after September 1st, which is the best since this statistic has been kept beginning in 1946. We all know this team can hit, and even though the Ranger pitching staff has the fifth best ERA in the American League, I’m not sure a Cliff Lee-less rotation scares anybody.
8 ) Detroit Tigers (Pre-Season Rank #14, 91-71, AL Central Champs) - Odds of Winning World Series: 14-1
Like the Brewers, the Tigers are another team showing up in October after a long absence. The last time the Motor City Kitties graced October with their was 1987. Of all the great moments in my own personal baseball history I listed earlier, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Game 4 of the ALCS, when Tiger third baseman Darrell Evans became the goat to end all goats.
As far as this year’s Tigers are concerned, you can’t argue that Justin Verlander is the most dominating pitcher in the league, and Miguel Cabrera is the most potent offensive weapon, but the Tigers have some thump in the lineup beyond that. They have a supporting cast to go along with Verlander. The trouble is I simply don’t think they can beat the Yankees.
Whether it’s stocks, fantasy baseball, or the real thing, trading can be a dangerous proposition. There’s no guarantee that the deal will work; only time will tell whether your investment pays off or whether you get to sell you blood to make the rent this month.
But, one thing that is certain; where there’s trading there’s bleeding, and nothing draws the sharks like blood in the water. Since we here at Dubsism are at the same time not willing to wait for two years to see who the bleeders are and stuck in the middle of the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” we’ve decided to give the rating of winners and losers a bit of a “swim with the sharks” twist.
Great White Shark: San Francisco Giants
Key additions: SS Orlando Cabrera, 2B Jeff Keppinger, OF Carlos Beltran
Last season, the Giants were the Remora on this list. It is only fitting that a team makes such a jump up considering the city is located on a peninsula the Spanish named “Tiburon;” their word for “shark.” The Giants pitching staff is so dominant that any addition of offense makes them the apex predator in a seven-game series.
Tiger Shark: Texas Rangers
Key Additions: RHP Kohji Uehara, RHP Mike Adams
The one thing the Rangers needed was pitching. Since there really wasn’t a big-time starter available, the Rangers seriously upgraded their bullpen. This team now matches up favorably against anybody in the American League.
Bull Shark: Pittsburgh Pirates
Key Additions: 1B Derrek Lee, OF Ryan Ludwick
Yeah, I know, I can’t believe I’m writing about the Pirates in August. Bull sharks are notorious for conducting the most attacks on humans; the Pirates in recent history have committed the most atrocities against baseball. The Bucs have been a bottom-feeder for nearly two decades, and even if they swim into a gill net and finish the season as baseball’s equivalent of waste at the tuna cannery, it won’t be because they didn’t give an honest effort.
Mako Shark: Atlanta Braves
Key Additions: OF Michael Bourn
This is a case of a shark that is the fastest in the sea, and a seriously feared predator. If the Braves can stay healthy, the addition of a serious speed threat on the base paths mean Atlanta could easily blow past somebody.
Hammerhead Shark: Philadelphia Phillies
Key Additions: OF Hunter Pence
For the second year in a row, the Phillies are this odd, flat-headed creature. Just looking at a hammerhead, one gets the idea they are completely bereft of the ability to see either forward or backward. With some foresight, they might have seen that losing Jayson Werth would leave their line-up both far too-left-handed and with no protection for Ryan Howard. However, this move solves a part of that problem; another rightie bat in the Phils’ line-up and/or a good bullpen guy would make them the most complete team in baseball.
Blacktip Reef Shark: Arizona Diamondbacks
Key Additions: RHP Brad Ziegler, RHP Jason Marquis
Timid and skittish, the blacktip reef shark seldom poses a danger in the National League West. And yet, this is the second time the D-Backs find themselves in this spot. They find themselves here largely because two trades they made last year, and one they didn’t make this year.
This team entered 2011 looking like they needed to swim into a gill net and hope for a better lot in the next life. But in last year’s Dan Haren deal alone, they unloaded $30 million in salary while getting four pitchers in return, including Joe Saunders, a not-that-long-ago former All-Star. When you add how they fleeced the White Sux for the perenially shaky Edwin Jackson (whose since been dealt twice), the D-backs boast an organization with nine of the top 80 picks from the 2009 draft. After all that, stop and think where this team might be if they had traded Justin Upton.
Stingray: Cleveland Indians
Key Additions: OF Kosuke Fukudome, RHP Ubaldo Jimenez
Much like nobody expected a guy who wrestled crocodiles and handled deadly snakes to meet his maker via a swimming carpet, anybody who saw the Indians as a buyer at the deadline is either a visionary or full of shit. Not to mention, the Indians should get a mention for bringing up Jason Kipnis, who it seems hit about sixty home runs last week.
Nurse Shark: Boston Red Sox
Key Additions: LHP Erik Bedard, RHP Josh Fields
Much like a nurse shark is a large fearsome looking creature that actually has the aggression level of Mickey Mouse on valium, the Red Sox look like a contender until you take a hard look at them. Seriously, once you look past that gawdy offense, you see right away this team has a pitching staff that is smoke and mirrors show in an intensive care unit. Granted, Josh Beckett seems to finally found a way to not suck, Lester is trying his hardest not to suck, but there’s a big drop-off after that…Tim Wakefield? John Lackey? Could somebody in Red Sawwwx nation be sure to let me know when the funerals for Daisuke Matsuzaka, Rich Hill, Bobby Jenks, and Clay Buchholz will be?
To that train wreck, the BoSox only add a questionable big-league starter who had given up 11 earned runs in his last 13 innings pitched before the trade, and a guy who is sporting an ERA over 6.00 in Triple-A.
At least the Yankees can’t pitch either.
Skate: Cincinnati Reds
Key Additions: OF Bill Rhinehart, LHP Chris Manno
Much like the skate is hardly a shark, the Reds are hardly a contender. Granted, they have the reigning MVP in Joey Votto, and they have a Cy Young contender in Johnny Cueto (yeah, I can’t believe I just wrote that either). The problem is that’s only a pair in a poker hand that need three-of-a-kind at best to win.
The Reds really could have addressed some needs; every other team trying to win this shit heap of a division did so. Instead, the played the role of bottom feeder by trading an under-performer in Jonny Gomes for two serious “maybe in a few years” types. This is just another reason why the Reds in their current configuration never should be taken seriously.
Dogfish: Detroit Tigers
Key Additions: RHP Doug Fister, RHP David Pauley, 3B Wilson Betemit
Yeah, I get the pseudo-irony of a team with a decidedly feline mascot being slapped with the Dogfish, but let’s be honest…two of the three guys they acquired are dogs. Doug Fister might be a serviceable #3-#4 guy in a rotation, but who knows what Pauley is, and Betemit just plain sucks.
Remora: St. Louis Cardinals
Key Additions: RHP Octavio Dotel, RHP Edwin Jackson, LHP Marc Rzepczynski, SS Rafael Furcal, OF Corey Patterson
Yeah, we know a remora isn’t a shark, but you can’t watch Shark Week without seeing one. If you aren’t familiar, a remora is one of those little fish that just hangs around, cleaning up whatever bits the big sharks leave behind. Lots of other sharks had a major feeding, and the Cards sucked up a lot of remnants.
Bathtub Toy Shark: Milwaukee Brewers
Key Additions: IF/OF Jerry Hairston, Jr., RHP Francisco Rodriguez
A 35-year old utility player who hits .250 with no power, and an over-priced and possibly washed-up reliever. At least these type decisions are right at home in the NL Central.
The Chum Bucket: Los Angeles Angels & New York Yankees
Just as you would expect, this would a a mish-mash of the assorted pieces left over from those who really didn’t figure out what the trade game is all about. For example, the Los Angeles Angels did NOTHING despite the fact they desperately need another bat.
As far as New York is concerned, re-read the above paragraph and replace the word “Angels” with “Yankees,” and replace the word “bat” with the phrase “solid starting pitcher.”
The Idiot Who Gets Bitten Because He’s an Idiot:
Again, this is something that no Shark Week would be complete without. You’ve all seen this guy, usually a fisherman who while trying to retrieve a 40-cent hook somehow forgets that even small sharks have mouths full of razor-sharp teeth that make an exceptionally efficient finger-removal tool.
Welcome to the world of the Houston Astros, a team who last year actually gave the Yankees, a.k.a. the richest team in baseball $4 million to put Lance Berkman in pinstripes, and this year proceeded to have a fire sale of such proportions that the Astros may lose 100 games a season for the next half-decade.
The sporting world is full of rivalries which engender so much passion there are clear battle lines drawn between the camps. But what happens to those of us who may feel animus toward both sides? Here’s a list of several such examples that make the collective colon here at Dubsism slam shut like a steel bear trap.
12 ) Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox
It is almost impossible to find two teams that exemplify their shit-hole of a city more. Where better to put the two retarded little brothers of baseball who while steeped in history have accounted for one championship in 90 years than in one of the largest cities in the world that matters the least to anybody?
11) LeBron James vs. the City of Cleveland
Sometimes, you really have to wonder if we have completely succeeded in this country in growing a generation of complete morons we’ve put on pedestals. Nobody in the world would have blamed LeBron James for leaving Cleveland; nobody wants to be in Cleveland. It’s little more than a “Mini-Me” to Chicago; a rust-belt, blue-collar city that nobody wants to be in; Cleveland’s population has been dropping steadily for 80 years. All he had to do was not be a douche-bag about it. It really leaves you in a situation where you can’t figure out who is dumber, LeBron for screwing up a move millions of Clevelanders have made themselves or those same Clevelanders for managing collectively to sound like a bitter ex-wife.
10) Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Hate is actually too strong a term for this. The problem is the “Rhett Butler” approach is too weak, but it is closer to accurate. Let’s face it; I don’t really give a damn. I spent big chunks of my childhood in Southern California, which isn’t exactly where you develop strong feelings about Canadian hockey teams, and even though I loved the old-school Los Angeles Kings (seriously, we are talking about the pre-Gretzky Kings with the purple and gold uniforms that clothed an NHL retirement home; the Kings of my childhood featured such past-their-prime legends like Butch Goring and Marcel Dionne), you couldn’t watch the 12-team NHL of the 1970’s without knowing these two teams hated each other. All I cared about in those days is that both of these teams arrived at the L.A. Forum with a boatload of Canadians who weren’t past their prime and put as ass-whipping on the Kings. Even to this day, all I can say is “screw both of them; Canada sucks.”
9) Manchester United vs. Manchester City
For those of you not familiar with the English Premier League, picture this rivalry with the Red Devils of Manchester United as the New York Yankees with Manchester City as the old Brooklyn Dodgers. You perhaps didn’t really like the Dodgers, but they made a perfect underdog foil to those goddamn Yankees. But then the Dodgers went Hollywood, started winning and blew their lovability in the process, much like the Los Angeles Dodgers. 15 years ago, Man City was lovable in their feebleness, but then new ownership pumped that team full of money, and now they are every bit as douche-tastic as their cross-town rivals.
8 ) Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins
As a Philadelphia Eagle fan, this one is really a no-brainer. There’s an old saying that culture in an organization comes from the top down, and Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder are a marvelous reflection of that. While we here at Dubsism have postulated that Al Davis makes the Oakland Raiders the “North Korea of the NFL,” Jones and Snyder are both in line to ascend to the NFL’s “Crazy Old Man Owner” throne. Thankfully, their leadership (or lack thereof) has made these two franchises combine for a grand total of three playoff wins in the past 15 years.
7) Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns
The way these two preen over that silly Saturday in October…well, it really is sad to think either of these two believe anybody gives a shit about them or their “make-believe” rivalry. It’s really sad that a couple of goofy-ass schools like Nebraska and Colorado are the ones who figured out the Big 12 is a repository for football nobody cares about.
6) Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears
This is much like the “love triangle” situation outline in the 1980 J. Geils’ Band hit “Love Stinks.” The Vikings think the Packers are their main rival, The Packers think the Bears are their main rival, and neither the Packers or the Bears even know who the Vikings are.
5) Arsenal vs. Chelsea
More from the English Premier League, so I will make another baseball reference…Earlier I compared Manchester United to the Yankees. Continuing on this theme, Arsenal would be the Red Sox and Chelsea would be the Mets, only if the Mets didn’t suck. They are two of the biggest clubs in the league, and they can buy pretty much any player they want. Whenever these two get together, it is an exercise in dysfunction that somehow manages to be successful, like a photo negative of the Dallas Cowboys.
4) Auburn vs. Alabama
When these two compete in the annual “Iron Bowl,” they are battling for the bragging right for the entire state of Alabama. This is like two bums fighting over the least piss-stained raincoat at Goodwill. Do you know what the best thing that ever came out of the state of Alabama was? An empty bus. Alabama is just a collection of bimbos whose boyfriends still think Bear Bryant is alive, and Auburn thinks it is a real university.
3) Duke vs. North Carolina
What can we say about Duke that we haven’t said before? No matter their record, no matter their talent, no matter anything, Duke sucks. As much as we have beat on Mike Krzyzewski for being a pompous ass-hat, North Carolina’s Roy Williams is in the same league, and not just figuratively. My favorite was last spring when Williams compared having a losing ACC record to the earthquake in Haiti.
“Our massage therapist told me, ‘You know, coach, what happened in Haiti is a catastrophe. What you’re having is a disappointment,’ ” said Williams. “I told her that depends on what chair you’re sitting in. It does feel like a catastrophe to me, because it is my life.”
I’m not sure what the state of North Carolina did to deserve such a pair of pure, uncut assholes, but better them than the rest of us.
2) Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
The Yankees – Red Sox rivalry is one of the oldest, most famous and fiercest rivalries in North American professional sports. For over 100 years, Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees of the American League have been intense rivals. For nearly as long, fans of both teams have thoroughly annoyed the living shit out of the rest of us.
The rivalry is sometimes so polarizing that it is often a heated subject, like religion or politics, in the Northeastern United States. In fact, since ESPN is also based in the Northeastern US, they believe the Yankees and the Red Sox are the only two teams in Major League Baseball, judging by their broadcast schedule.
1) Michigan Wolverines vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
College football gives us the twelve greatest Saturdays of the year, and it also give us the two greatest evils in sports. Ohio State and Michigan both represent all that is wrong with college football, and every evil that it contains. Recent events have shown that Jim Tressel, a.k.a. Cheatypants McSweatervest is a disingenuous, lying prick, and the Michigan fan base just hasn’t come to terms with the fact they are not an elite program anymore. I can only hope and pray that the NCAA grows the balls to make an example out of Ohio State, but they likely won’t, and I hope it takes Michigan at least three more head coaches before they figure out that “elite” programs don’t get man-handled by Purdue.
Sure, I know it is only to a minor-league deal, but let’s be honest, the Yankees are acting like a guy who just got dumped. Worse yet, it isn’t that everyday, garden-variety dumping, it is that uber-bad kind where a guy gets dumped by a woman who barreled into his “this is the one” zone and then jerked the rug out from under him.
Face it guys. If you don’t know a guy who has gone through this, you didn’t see the signs. Have you seen a guy who after a dumping spent hours at home alone drinking store-brand chocolate milk and staring blankly at the Weather Channel, thinking even life under a tornado outbreak in Missouri would be better than the shattered, empty existence he now faces? Have you ever seen a guy who after a dumping is now inexplicably dating fat and/or crazy chicks just because it means not being alone? Have you ever seen a guy who after a dumping reeks of such desperation that his social life becomes an ever deepening bomb crater of emotional need? If you have never seen that guy, you may be that guy; ever group has one. Now, Major League Baseball has the Yankees.
Now that the Bronx Bombers got the heave from Cliff Lee, they’ve become the guy dating way below his league just to be dating somebody. Why else would a top-flight franchise like the Yankees have even the slightest interest in the exceptionally-finished Mark Prior. Sure, Prior isn’t fat or crazy, but he is the baseball equivalent of the 42-year old divorcee who is still just attractive enough to get Mr. Desperate to hang around just long enough to find out she is a bigger emotional dumpster fire than he is. Stop and think about it…Mark Prior is the guy who can save your rotation from whatever you perceive to be wrong with it? Mark F—ing Prior?
Of course, we all remember Prior as a pure sex-symbol second-overall draft pick for the Cubs before a series of injuries destroyed his career. Remember June of 2003 when he looked like what you would picture a clone-baby of Don Drysdale and J.R. Richard to be? In the eyes of baseball GMs, he was smokin’ hot then, and get this…he still has a career ERA of 3.51, and his fastball velocity is reportedly up into the low-90s. That is the “still just attractive enough” part. However, he hasn’t pitched in the majors since August 2006, and since then, . Since then, he’s had myriad of surgeries and been cast off from the Padres, the Rangers, and some independent league team. This would be the “dumpster fire” part.
Brian Cashman or Hank Steinbrenner…take your chances with eHarmony; your odds are far better finding a major league pitcher there than getting involved with Mark Prior.
If there ever were a sport which have a love affair with its record book, it would be baseball. It takes two guys to carry the official baseball record book, not only because baseball spans three centuries, but because baseball historians keep track of everything. One might think after all that record-keeping and record-breaking that those same historians would stop calling certain marks “unbreakable.” After all, they all called Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played streak and Lou Brock’s career stolen base mark “unbreakable” until Cal Ripken and Rickey Henderson came along.
Yet, they keep doing it; they keep placing the “unbreakable” tag on records that seem perfectly breakable. Granted, Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak will be difficult to surpass, but it isn’t impossible. Don’t forget that if it weren’t for a great play by Cleveland’s Lou Boudreau in game #57, the 56-game streak would have been 70 games. That means this record is of a fluky nature; saying it can’t be broken is like saying you can’t flip a coin and get “heads” six times in a row. It isn’t likely, but it is possible. Break it down like this: take a lead-off type hitter who makes contact and doesn’t strike out; Ichiro Suzuki is a hyper-perfect example. As of this writing, Ichiro has 2244 hits in 6779 at-bats over 1588 games. That means he gets roughly one hit out of every three at-bats, and he gets roughly four at-bats per game, which means it is statistically likely that he gets a hit every game, let alone 56 in a row.
Pete Rose challenged this record in 1978, but fell 12 games short, and recently more than a few players have reached 30 games. But Rose showed that the record can be challenged, and the fact it still stands is owed to a series of variable factors for which the statistics don’t account (rightie v. leftie, certain pitchers who “own” certain hitters and vice-versa, home-road splits, etc…) Some season, someone will break this record.
Both single-season and career home run marks are held by Barry Bonds. Without getting into the (yawn) steroid discussion, there are enough other contributing factors in the offensive surge of the past fifteen years that neither 73 and/or 762 are safe. Alex Rodriguez is likely going to get near the career homer mark. Even if you want to discount him, a clean player like Ken Griffey, Jr. would likely have been there if not for injuries in the middle of his career. Even if you want to discount the entire “steroid” era, the tiny ballparks and the dilution of pitching talent via expansion and/or competition with the growing numbers of professional leagues around the world will contribute to both the single-season and career marks being eclipsed at some point.
This brings us to the other side of the home run coin, the strikeout. Batsmen are whiffing at a pace never before seen in baseball; 100 strikeouts in a season was a number to avoid, now multiple teams have multiple batters reach this mark with regularity. Had Randy Johnson learned the art of control earlier in his career than he did, he would challenged much more closely Nolan Ryan’s career mark of 5,714 rather than the 4,875 he ended with. Eventually, some pitcher will be around long enough to eclipse Ryan’s record.
So, if you really want “unbreakable” records, go back to that thick record book and look at these nine which are certainly more out of reach than any of those routinely said to be beyond approach.
9) New York Yankees’ 5 Consecutive World Series Titles
Let’s talk about a dominant era; let’s talk about the New York Yankees in the 44 years between 1921 to 1964. Sure, people may like to discuss the three-peats of the 1972-1974 Oakland A’s or the 1998-2000 Yankees. Those accomplishments pale in comparison to the Yankees of yesteryear. In this time, the Bronx Bombers won 29 pennants. They won four consecutive World Series titles from 1936 to 1939. But that wasn’t good enough; from 1949-1953 the Yanks won the World Series in five straight seasons. During that stretch, they won 20 of 28 World Series games. Given there are now three layers of post-season play, requiring 11 victories to garner a World Series crown, it is highly unlikely that a team can even get to six straight let alone win them to break the Yankees’ record.
8 ) Cal Ripken’s 2,632 Consecutive Games Played Streak
First of all, there have only been roughly 30 guys in the entire history of major league baseball who have even played that many games. Secondly, there would have to be another obsessive-compulsive, self-serving lunatic who would a) avoid injury for and b) even want to show up to work every single day for over sixteen years.
7) Chief Wilson’s 36 Triples in a Single Season
Granted, his 36 triples were helped by the quirky dimensions of the old Forbes Field, but not only are they five more than anybody else ever hit, it way outpaces anything done in recent years. In fact, the 23 triples hit in 2009 by Curtis Granderson represented the highest total of three-baggers in decades. The smaller ballparks that aid the number of homers also don’t have as much space for a ball to rattle around in, thus less triples.
6) Johnny Vander Meer’s 2 Consecutive No-hitters
Breaking this record is the definition of “possible, but not bloody likely.” The odds that somehow, somebody tosses three no-hitters in a row are mind boggling. It’s been years since a pitcher even tossed three straight complete games, and it has been nearly twenty years since a pitcher tossed three straight shutouts. On average, there are less than two no-hitters in a season.
5) Ray Chapman’s 67 Sacrifice Bunts in a Single Season
When Jay Bell dropped down 39 sacrifices in 1990, he was the first player to approach 40 in almost 15 years. It hasn’t been any different in the home run era since then. In fact, today very few hitters today even know how to bunt let alone lay down 68 of them.
4) Ty Cobb’s Career Batting Average of .367
As of this writing, no major league player who has more than five seasons at the major league level has a career average within 35 points of Cobb. In the last 50 years, the closest is Wade Boggs at .328. Even though Boggs is the closest in recent history, and even though Boggs had seven seasons with over 200 hits, he still would have needed on average 20 more hits in each of his 18 major league seasons to approach Cobb’s mark. Until we get out of the era where being a contact hitter who avoids strikeouts is a dying art, no one will get any closer than Boggs has.
3) Nolan Ryan’s 7 Career No-hitters
See the entry above about Johnny Vander Meer. Now consider that to break this record, somebody will have to chuck eight no-hitters. Remember the analogy of flipping a coin and getting “heads” six times in a row. Make it more like 50 times and you get the odds here…
2) Cy Young’s 511 Victories and 749 Complete Games
As long as there are pitch counts and five-man rotations, neither of these records will ever even be approached, let alone broken. Today, a pitcher would need to average 26 wins and 38 complete games per season for twenty years to eclipse Denton True “Cy” Young’s marks. Considering many starters now don’t even get 38 starts in a season, that’s going to be a tall order.
1) Will White’s 75 Complete Games and 680 Innings Pitched in a Single Season
To break this record, one would have to build a time machine and set it for 1879. No pitcher today will be able to complete twice the number of games he starts; I don’t care how good he is or what new hyper-roid he discovers.
Here we are; another October full of post-season baseball. Let’s be honest, most of the crap I said about these teams six months ago was wrong, so why not go for month number seven proving I have no idea what I’m talking about. Take the following for example (from April 22nd):
California in General: The Padres are leading the NL West based on a league-leading Team ERA of 2.82, the Giants are tight behind their statemates to the south in both the stat and the standings, and Oakland’s 3.16 means three of the top four staffs in terms of earned runs allowed get their mail in the Golden State. Toss in Dodger Matt Kemp’s pacing the NL with 7 homers and 20 RBI and the Angels not looking nearly as mediocre as one believed, and things are on the up. The question is how many of these things will still be true in August.
Indeed, how many of those things turned out true? Well, the Padres waited until August before they folded faster than Superman on laundry day, allowing themselves to get run down by a Giants team that is likely the weakest still standing. Honestly, after July, these were the only two California teams worth noting. So, instead of trying to make predictions, it is time to talk about why none of these teams are worthy of your support. With that, let’s get down to the rest of the remaining eight…
1) Philadelphia Phillies – (Pre-season Rank #1, 97-65, NL East Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 4-1
This team defines “mercurial.” They started the season as the favorites of the Dubsism staff, then they plummeted as low as #14 in the rankings, the low-water mark coming in that series at the Mets when they didn’t score a single run in four games. The are now again the hottest team in baseball, but as good as they are now, they won’t when. Why? Because it’s Philadelphia. No city has a bigger self-esteem problem than Philadelphia. Philadelphia spends hours staring in the mirror and laying awake nights wishing it were New York. This is why Philadelphia fans hate everything; during the off-season they go down to the hospital and boo surgeries.
But it isn’t just the male Phillie fans who should be choked to death with a cheese-steak. I’ve got a belly full of these stupid female fans who spend hours blathering about how much they want to fuck Chase Utley. Behind the Red Sox, the Phillies have the highest percentage of obnoxious female pink-hat-wearing fans, you know the ones that get sloppy drunk and wail about wanting to get on Cole Hamels’ cock. If you have a girlfriend who has a pink piece of sports apparel and won’t shut up about which player she wants to bone, punch her in the face immediately. Then punch yourself where your balls used to be for being involved with such a stupid bitch.
2) Tampa Bay Rays (Pre-season Rank #4, 96-66, AL East Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 4-1
Tampa is such a non-interest generator that if the Rays were to win the World Series, you could probably hold the entire victory parade at a Shoney’s. Seriously, nobody gives a shit about Tampa or any of it’s teams. Do you remember when the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl. Of course you don’t, because you didn’t care then, and you don’t care now. The Rays are like are like local TV news. You watch to see weather and traffic, and once you see that you are that stream of fans heading to the car in the sixth inning.
EPSN’s Colin Cowherd made an interesting point about this team. Apparently, Tampa was third on a list of potential cities to get one of two baseball expansion teams. While he was working for a news station in Tampa at the time, Cowherd says he was told by George Steinbrenner himself that he pushed the awarding of the franchise to Tampa through, because his family lived in Tampa and he wanted to see his Yankees play down there during the season. In other words, there are TWO teams to hate because of that dead shitbag Steinbrenner.
3) Minnesota Twins (Pre-season Rank #10, 94-68, AL Central Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 5-1
I love the Twins, so it pains me to say this, but I have a serious dislike of Minnesota sports fans. The absolute worst sports fans in the world are Minnesota Viking fans, and too many Twins fans are just the retarded, in-bred cousins of those same Viking fans. I lived in the Twin Cities for 15 years, and I can tell you first hand that the Twins are a franchise that deserves a far better fan base than it has. Minnesota fans worship at the alter of a Viking team that hasn’t won a fucking thing in forty years while they almost completely ignore the franchise that has won two World Championships in that time. Tune in a Minneapolis sports radio station in April and you will hear 24 hours of how the Vikings need to draft some other asshole who will undoubtedly under-perform.
Plus, Minnesota is where you grow fair-weather fans. At least the people in terrible sports cities like Tampa or Atlanta are honest, they don’t show up at all. But Twins “fans” filled the dreadful Metrodome when the Twins were winning; you could have fired a cannon in the place in the mid-90’s and not hit a soul. Now, since the arrival of Joe Mauer and the new ballpark, these “fans” can’t stop blowing themselves over shit we already know like the fact Mauer is a home town boy or that Target Field is gorgeous. It is just the residents of Minnesota collectively coping with the fact they got butt-fucked into building a stadium that is going to be half-empty in ten years. Not to mention, the Twins are no longer the payroll David to the Yankees’ Goliath anymore, so all you so-called “fans” need to get off that crap right now. Granted, the Yankee payroll is gargantuan, but the Twins are over $100 million themselves.
Oh, did I mention they are the world’s only passive-aggressive racists? They wouldn’t dream of using an epithet because that’s not “politically correct,” but they have no problem using the old “Would you want your daughter to marry one?” mentality when they run a black athlete out of town (I will never forget the Warren Moon incident, when Minnesota fans used a court case in which Moon was found not guilty because the case was unfounded to begin with, to call the local sports radio station to spew a lot of “that’s how THOSE people act” bullshit).
There’s about 50 real Twins fans in the world, and they are a great group of people. For the rest, there can’t be enough bridge collapses to get rid of all of you.
4) New York Yankees (Pre-season Rank #2, 95-67, AL Wild Card) – Odds of Winning World Series: 5-1
Are you now, or have you ever been a Yankees fan? Are you under the age of 45? Have you ever said “The Yankees sucked when I was a kid, so I’m not of one these new Yankee fans that came along when we started winning again”? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you are pretentious douche-nozzle and you would be doing the world a favor if you stuck a shotgun in your mouth.
There’s soooooooooo many reasons to hate the Yankees. First, there’s the aforementioned loyalty-less fuckwads who think just because the Yankees sucked in the 80’s means they aren’t some dickhead who needs to be on the winning side. But least there is one less reason to hate them, since that piece of deep-fried monket shit known as George Steinbrenner is dead. At least he has a burn-in-hell worthy legacy, like sodomizing New York City out of a billion dollars to build a replica of a 90-year old shithole, then filling it with insufferable dickweeds who now are actually proud of their Ruthian assholery.
Oh, and I haven’t mentioned this yet, but you have no idea how much it pissed me off that after Steinbrenner assumed room temperature that I kept being told “You didn’t have to like him, but you had to respect him.” Fuck you. The same people who said this are the same people responsible for the impending death of America. George Steinbrenner was a criminal who deserves the same respect a dog pays to a fire hydrant.
5) Atlanta Braves (Pre-Season Rank #8, 91-71, NL Wild Card) - Odds of Winning World Series: 8-1
Who better to be in the “Punched in the Face Edition” than that geriatric drunken wife-beater Bobby Cox? Lately, people have been fawning over the fact that he has been kicked out of an entire season worth of games. “That just means he’s fiery, competitive and sticks up for his players,” I hear all the time. Did you ever consider that he might just be a flaming asshole with an anger management issue? I would say that getting piss-drunk and punching your wife in the face suggests the latter.
According to the police report, the Coxes had been entertaining friends when Bobby spilled a drink on the carpet of their northwest Atlanta house and Pamela made a comment about it. The report said that after the guests left, Bobby, 53, “hit her in the face with his fist,” pulled her hair and called her “a bitch.” When they reached the house, the police reported, they heard arguing inside, where they found Bobby drunk and Pamela with the left side of her face swollen.
My favorite part of this story was the press conference a few days later when Pamela Cox tried to deny the domestic violence allegations all while wearing a knuckle-mark on her cheek that looked just like a National League Championship ring.
That’s just the recent reason to hate the Braves. There’s a really good old reason, that being when that idiotic windbag Ted Turner owned them. Thanks to the “Mouth of the South,” we all got to live through the infancy of cable television by watching the sorry-ass 1980’s Atlanta Braves. If you are my age, you remember having this shitty team shoved down your throat as “America’s Team.” Worse yet, TBS grew into a cable network capable of winning a bid to carry Major League Baseball so they could prove that Fox didn’t completely fuck up televised baseball.
6) Texas Rangers (Pre-Season Rank #11, 90-72, AL West Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 12-1
If we were to compare American cities to body parts, Arlington would be the appendix; something that everybody has, yet it is completely useless. Arlington is like the anus of Texas, wedged in between the unwashed buttocks of Dallas and Fort Worth. It doesn’t take long to figure out why Texans build all the stuff that draws huge pain-in-the-ass crowds in Arlington; it sits on such a useless piece of land that it is surrounded on one side by a giant airport and on the other by a giant nothing. Why is the Rangers ball park here? Let’s be honest, nobody in Texas gives a shit about baseball past August. In fact, baseball in Texas is just a way to kill time until football season starts. This is why nobody should give a shit about the Rangers now. Besides, Texas hasn’t had a guy who could hit the cut-off man since Lee Harvey Oswald.
7) Cincinnati Reds (Pre-Season Rank #18, 91-71, NL Central Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 15-1
Here’s where you can still use that shop-worn “big market/small market” argument, except the comparative scale is in sheer assholery. Granted, the Yankees have produced more flaming assholes than anybody, but they have more money than anybody. But when you have a team from the largest city in Kentucky that has produced such legendary buttloafs like Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Rob Dibble. Really, how can a team produce a guy who bets on baseball, the worst play-by-play guy EVER, and a guy who just blazed the “Raging Dumbfuck” trail for a shithead like John Rocker. Worse yet, how can a small-market team do that and still produce a world-class fuckface like Johnny Cueto, who during that brawl with the Cardinals back in August kicked Jason LaRue in his head multiple times, effectively ending his 12-year career. If I get to see only one thing I really want during this post-season, please let it be a 95-mph fastball directly into Cueto’s face, his teeth bouncing off home plate like bloody Chiclets.
8 ) San Francisco Giants (Pre-Season Rank #18, 92-70, NL West Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 18-1
See the guy in the black trunks above? The Giants need to sign him now so they will have at least one guy who can hit. It’s like ever since Barry Bonds left, the Giants are in some sort of self-imposed deprivation of offense, like anybody who hits 30 homers will have his balls cut off and fondued at some sort of granola and sissy-fruit party. It’s not like it matters because nobody cares about the Giants except for a few Dodger haters and the future funeral home clientele who from their pine boxes will still be pining for the days of Willie Mays.
The funny part is that in a weird sort of way, the Giants are the perfect team for San Francisco. At the same time, San Francisco is a beautiful city with the same sleazy underbelly as any other world-class seaport; within mere yards of each other you can find the whitest-glove haute cuisine and foreign sailors chuffing down whatever cheap fare that will satisfy while leaving a precious few drachma for a booze-up and a working girl. San Francisco can turn the breath-taking topography of Northern California and simultaneously compliment it while turning it into a piss-reeking urban nightmare. When fall hits the Midwest and all those meat-and-tater midwesterners get all fawny over California and its’ golden sun, they are picturing Southern California and its sun-kissed beaches. But since they are so eager to get out of East Tree Stump, Ohio, they don’t realize until they get there that San Francisco is not that California. Rather, it is a city that is shrouded in fog more often than not, is prone to 40 mph winds, and can sport highs in the 60s in July. I once lived in North Dakota, and one of the coldest winters I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.
The Giants are as much a collection of contradictions as their city. The Giants are a team that boasts a tremendous pitching staff, and yet couldn’t hit water if they fell out of fucking boat. Even though they an old-school member of the National League with a large market, they can’t buy a better solution for their offense problem than Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff. Somehow they have managed to play team baseball well enough to win their division, yet on an individual level they are the biggest collection suckasses out there. Did they all agree to wear their uniforms as baggy as possible so they all look like airport windsocks in those 40 mph winds? Tim Lincecum looks like a Make-A-Wish kid baked on medicinal marijuana in those things, but at least they hide the man-boobs on those elephant seals known as Pablo Sandoval and Juan Uribe. I mean, who the fuck can have any respect for a major league baseball team that has at shortstop a manatee with frosted tips on his goatee?