Favorite MLB Teams – Why I Like Some Better Than Others

Favorite MLB Teams – Why I Like Some Better Than Others

Here I rank my favorite MLB teams as of August 2019, all 30 of them!  These rankings are very subject to change, but most teams probably won’t shift around by more than 1-5 spots over time.  It gets a lot harder and more random after the first 5-7 teams of course.

I grew up in a town near Syracuse right in the middle of New York State.  I wanted to root for a home team, and since I was born in 1994, the Yankees were a clear and obvious choice from the start.  Come to think of it, I don’t know if I knew the Mets existed as a child, and now they’re my least favorite team.

A lot of these rankings are due to my opinions about the front office of a franchise.  If the management of a team cannot make the right decisions via the draft, trades, free agency, and player development, I generally find it very hard to root for the team.   It’s just too hard to be a fan of a franchise that never wins and doesn’t seem committed to changing their losing streak.  Of course I’m spoiled as a Yankees fan, but I also don’t like when teams end a “championship window” earlier than needed due to finances.

For a while now I’ve said that I’m more a fan of Major League Baseball than I am of the Yankees, which I think allows me to enjoy the sport and postseason more than most fans.  The trouble with being a big fan of one team per sport (rather than the sport/league itself) is that you’re almost guaranteed to be disappointed (almost heartbroken) every year when your team inevitably does not win the championship.  But that’s a subject for another post.  Onto my favorite MLB teams!

1. New York YankeesYankees baseball with logo - Favorite MLB Teams post

They have and always will be my favorite.  Super happy to root for the most successful baseball franchise ever.  Derek Jeter was my hero growing up.

2. Atlanta Braves

Rich history, awesome ballparks, tons of memorable and cool players.  The Braves became one of my favorite teams by default because back in 2006 when I started watching baseball a lot on TV, the Braves were on TBS pretty often.  I was able to catch probably at least one Braves game per week or every other week until a few years later when the games weren’t broadcast on TBS as much.  Growing up it was awesome to see John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Chipper Jones and others.  It was also neat to see the start of Andrelton Simmons’ career.

3. St. Louis Cardinals

With Phat Albert leading the way, the 2006 Cardinals took over the TV screen in October and beat the Tigers in the World Series.  Somewhat random players like Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver made their way into my “baseball lore” and watching “Cardinal magic” (as I call it) unfold throughout 2011 and in later postseasons was such a joy to watch.  They’ve been a little disappointing the past handful of years, but I love seeing what the Cardinals can do come postseason time – one of the best teams for epic moments.

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4. San Francisco Giants

Another incredible and old franchise.  Barry Bonds is generally my second-favorite player after only Jeter.  Combine his splash hits with one of the most beautiful and iconic ballparks in the league, and it’s a recipe for awesomeness.  I wish the Giants could have won a title with Barry still around, but the teams from 2010-2014 (and even 2016) were classic to watch.

5. Colorado Rockies

This team would be a lot lower a handful of years ago, but I’ve really loved watching the combination of Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon (and others) power their offense.

6. Toronto Blue Jays

This is mostly based on their EPIC postseasons in 2015 and 2016.  I wish they could have won a pennant or had a longer “window”, but it was a huge amount of fun while it lasted.  Not many goosebumps moments compare to the dome in Toronto with the horn going off after a huge home run or walkoff win.

7. Washington Nationals

The team that can’t get past the NLDS.  The Nationals have still provided a really interesting baseball tale since their name transition from the Expos.  From total laughingstocks to occasional World Series favorites.  Anthony Rendon is consistently one of the most underrated players in the game.

8. Arizona Diamondbacks

I feel like this is a team that consistently fields good talent, but cannot seem to make the postseason or make it far when they do qualify.  Definitely in a tough division this decade with the Giants and Dodgers dominating.

9. Chicago White Sox

Seems like the White Sox have been perpetually rebuilding for far too long now.  I used to overrate them based on my bias in preseason predictions (even expecting them to win the Central when the Tigers were still dominant), but that time has passed as now they always underperform.  Arguably one of the most disappointing teams of the 2010’s overall.  The White Sox have been one of my favorite teams since I started watching more in 2006, as they were on WGN a lot just like the Cubs.

10. Oakland Athletics

The A’s have a rich history, with some of my favorite historical players coming from them (Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove).  Sometimes they remind me of the D-Backs – talented but not quite good enough for consistent postseason appearances.

11. Milwaukee Brewers

This was a fun team to watch in the 2018 postseason, and they’ve had a lot of cool players I’ve enjoyed seeing over the years.

12. Tampa Bay Rays

I find it ironic that they became much more successful when they took the “devil” out of their team name.  The Rays always seem to do fine with less, and have been surprisingly successful at the end of this decade.

13. Los Angeles Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw has been fun to watch for a while now, and I have to enjoy some of his epic postseason chokes against the Cardinals and other teams I like better.  They’ve managed to stay on top for a while now, and have plenty of awesome franchise moments from the past few Octobers.

14. LA Angels

Trout and Pujols is such an incredible Hall of Fame duo that we are lucky to be witnessing.  It’s crazy how this team has almost no postseason success this decade with names like those and many others that have had some time to shine. (CJ Wilson, Jered Weaver, and tons more)  I can’t believe Mike Scioscia hasn’t been able to get this team into contention, and I think he’s one of the most overrated managers in history as a result.

15. Philadelphia Phillies

The big bad monster team my Yankees took down in 2009.  Took way too long to rebuild and now finally starting to contend again… maybe.

16. Houston Astros

The Astros have broken Yankee hearts in 2015 and 2017.  I sometimes have fun watching them when they’re not playing the Yankees lol.  Unfortunately they definitely look like a better team than the Yankees heading into the 2019 postseason.

17. Pittsburgh Pirates

18. Chicago Cubs

I’ve grown less fond of the Cubs over time, mostly due to the excessive hype starting around 2015 and continuing after they clearly had a (long) championship hangover of sorts.  Loved seeing them on WGN a ton as a kid from 2006-2010, not so much since then.  I just like the old teams better and kind of miss Carlos Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano, Mike Fontenot, and others.

19. Cleveland Indians

Really missed their opportunities in 2016 and 2017.  Still can hardly believe the Yankees came back and beat them in the 2017 ALDS.

20. Seattle Mariners

21. Cincinnati Reds

22. Detroit Tigers

23. Texas Rangers

Yankee nemesis in 2010 and 2011, I won’t forget!  XD

24. Miami Marlins

25. Minnesota Twins

26. Baltimore Orioles

27. Kansas City Royals

28. Boston Red Sox

29. San Diego Padres

One of the worst decision making teams of all time.  Incredibly inept.  Signing the biggest douche in the sport (Manny Machado) will only cripple the franchise for yet another decade.

30. New York mets

(this is just a rant I find funny)  They need to get the hell out of New York.  The Dodgers and Giants recognized Yankee greatness and moved.  Time for the mets to go.  New York is a huge city, but the Yankees are a huge team with HUGE success, so MLB only needs one team in New York.  The mets should take their failures elsewhere.  Dumb name, embarrassing meltdowns when they should have made the postseason, just horrendous really.  XD  So glad to see them struggle since I started hating them in the 2000’s.  Obviously the 2015 World Series was a nightmare for me lol.

In general I like NL teams more than AL teams, I really like the NL East and NL West, and I can’t stand the AL Central which is always wicked boring and seems devoid of interesting/great players.  Sometime I may try to find my favorite MLB teams ranking from sometime during my 2006-2010 period of massive interest in baseball.

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Feel free to leave your own ranking below, or at least your favorite 3 MLB teams!

First Blog Post – My Baseball History

Welcome to my first blog post on Baseball with Ben!  This is a project I am excited about, and quite frankly should have done sooner.  However, I’m still in my 20’s, so “better late than never” certainly applies here.  This is my history within the great game of baseball.  From the beginning to the time I write this post in 2018.

Origins – A Home Team Dynasty of Epic Proportions

I honestly don’t know which year I began rooting for the New York Yankees.  Having been born in late 1994 in New York State (not New York City) the “perfect storm” for a lifelong Yankees fan was brewing.  What I do know is that I wanted to root for a “home team”, and I’m not sure I even knew about the mets.  XD   It may have been as late as 2000 or 2001 that I began rooting for the Yankees, but I may have been aware of them in the late 90’s as well.  Call me a bandwagon fan if you want, but that’s pretty much all I could be at that point.

Two books were foundational in my love for the Yankees and their signature player of the era, Derek Jeter.  Game Day was the first, followed by The Life You Imagine.  I was hooked.  After reading those books, I wanted to become “the next Derek Jeter” and be an all-world shortstop for the Yankees when I grew up.  Of course, lots of other little kids had that exact same goal.  XD

Derek Jeter books -First Blog Post - My Baseball History

Playing adventures and mishaps, and the beginning of a long-term obsession

The first baseball game I remember watching was Game 6 of the 2003 World Series, when Josh Beckett pitched the Marlins to the series win.  I still remember being bored and depressed by the game, because it was the opposite of what I wanted: a pitching duel where my favorite team lost the biggest game of their year.

However, by spring 2005 I took a big step in my “career”.  I started playing in Little League Baseball at the AAA level.  That started as I was finishing up 4th grade.  I distinctly remember getting at least 2 hits in my very first game, and the coach of the opposing team even said something to his pitcher from the dugout to warn him when I came up for my 3rd or 4th at bat.  Little did I know that it would be one of my best baseball games I played in.  XD

I played in Little League for 3 years, making the “Majors” in 6th grade.  The one thing I am quite happy about was all the positions I played.  At various points in my “career” (my love for all things epic tends to lead to me exaggerating things sometimes haha) I played at every position except catcher, which I intentionally avoided.  In fact, I remember sneakily avoiding the catcher drills during practices and tryouts just so I didn’t have to put on the gear, wear the sweaty mask, and have trouble catching pitches that were faster than I could hope to throw myself.

In Little League I remember mainly playing first base, third base, shortstop, and (usually) starting pitcher.  I was never good tracking balls off of bats, so the outfield was a weakness of mine.  I wanted to play shortstop, but there were already kids better than me.  The corner infield positions worked out fairly well, and I wasn’t the worst pitcher in the league.

It was probably partly due to the school I played for, but I always seemed to be on losing teams.  Though not just losing teams, but truly atrocious teams.  I remember being part of a “Best of the Rest” team (for the All Star team “runner ups”) that went 0-7.  I think our only “win” came when the other team forfeited due to not having enough players, or not showing up to the game.  Embarassing indeed.  I almost never played on a team with a losing record, so it was pretty frustrating at times.

My old Yankees hat
This is my old original Yankees hat worn to my first Little League practices back in 2004. I’ve worn it occasionally over the past decade and a half, so it’s seen a variety of locations, baseball games, and events.

Modified, Middle School, and Baseball consumes my life

2006 was the year that changed everything.  It was my first year of middle school, and at lunch I sat with a group of friends that were even more baseball-minded than some of my previous friends.  Everything came together in 2006 for my baseball obsession, and the sport started to consume my life.  Prior to 2006, I had hardly watched any baseball games, regular or postseason.  In 2006 I watched a LOT of games, a trend that would continue until around 2011.  My sister and I watched quite a lot of Braves games on TBS and Cubs games on WGN, so naturally they were our favorite teams outside of the Yankees.  To this day the Braves are usually in my top 5 teams I root for, though I’ve soured on the Cubs for various reasons (more on that later).  We didn’t get the YES Network with our cable, so we only saw the Yankees sparingly.

Modified baseball was the level I played at in 7th and 8th grade.  This was when I realized that not only was I not going to become the next Derek Jeter, but I wasn’t going to come anywhere close to making the Major Leagues either.  XD  It was a trying time, and 7th grade in particular was somewhat rough for me in general.  However, I still have some good memories of those years, especially off the field.  Most years I played 3 seasons out of 4, with summer ball and fall ball pretty consistent.  At this point my passion for playing started to wane, and my skill level compared to the other players my age was not as good as in Little League (where I was a bit above average).

I had never been into baseball cards before 2006 either, but in 2006 my sister and I started buying packs quite often.  I never quite got there, but at one point my goal was to collect the entire base set of 2006 Topps from opening packs alone.  My love for cards was part of the reason I developed a love for baseball statistics as well.  I’ve always enjoyed math in general, so the statistical side of the game appeals to me.  Topps was my favorite brand of cards because they were the most consistent with numbers on the backs of the cards – other brands often don’t show a player’s full career worth of stats, and/or they don’t have red/italics/bolding for leading the league or MLB.  Also, 2006 Topps was just a nice-looking set in general in my opinion, and some of the cards were nice and shiny.  🙂

I was always a big reader as a kid, so reading about baseball was inevitable.  From 2006-2010 I read dozens if not over a hundred different baseball books.  I studied the history of the game and LOVED it.  Along with a friend from school, I quickly became the most knowledgeable baseball fan in my grade, and probably the entire school (not huge though – around 160 people per grade).  I read a lot of great books, which I hope to delve into more detail on this site eventually.

In short, from 2006-2010 I lived and breathed the game of baseball.  Every day I was either playing it, reading about it, collecting the cards, talking about it, studying it, or more likely, many of the above on any given day.

My baseball card collection
My primary box of baseball cards, most of which were acquired from 2006-2010.

Inevitable failures and an appropriate shift

In the spring of 2010 and 2011 (9th and 10th grade) I played Junior Varsity (JV) baseball my first two years of high school.  However, my playing abilities reached an all-time low and my desire to play was even lower.  Combine that with my passion for violin and an academically challenging final two years of high school approaching, and I decided by the end of my 10th grade season that I had had enough.  I “retired” after a 7 year career from 2005-2011.  In high school I mainly played second base and came on in relief, pitching occasionally.  You can even see the positional decline, as I was often playing first, shortstop, and starting pitcher.  The long slow decline was over, and I actually have absolutely no regrets about it.  I did face a bit of peer pressure/disappointment from people I had played with for years, but I’ve always been incredibly immune to peer pressure to a bizarre extreme.

After my playing career was over, I was still heavily invested in Major League Baseball.  My focus shifted away from baseball cards and books, but I was still watching games regularly and knew pretty much every player on any MLB roster at the time.  During my final two years of high school, I developed a sudden interest in personal finance and investing, so I began reading books about that all the time.  I also reached the (probable :)) apex of my violin career, so that took up a decent amount of time as well.  The final shift was the biggest though – in the first half of 2011, I got back into Pirates Constructible Strategy Game, one of my childhood enjoyments from 2005-2006.  In fact, in a way baseball took me away from Pirates CSG for a number of years, but now I’m back with a vengeance and it has been my biggest passion in life since 2011.

A New Yankees Era, and a great time for fans of the Epic moment

Here I am today, a Yankees fan for about 20 years now.  Here in 2018 they are doing well, and hopes are high for championships in the near future.  I was surprised by their incredible success in 2017, and I’m looking forward to the postseason for many years to come.

Speaking of the postseason, that is where my focus on baseball now lies.  There is nothing I love more than October Baseball.  The postseason is where the magic happens.  The loudest and biggest crowds.  The stars come out when it matters most.  The goosebumps.  The electric atmosphere.  The epic moments I’ll never forget.  Although I haven’t watched many regular season games the past 6+ years, I always catch as many postseason games as I can, often at the expensive of schoolwork and sleep while in college from 2013-2016.  XD

Thank you for reading.  I look forward to providing value, information, and entertainment in the times ahead.

About Ben

Welcome to Baseball with Ben!  On this personal site of mine I share my favorite things about baseball, including memories, hobbies, and my favorite, the epic moments that keep me watching October baseball every year.

MY STORYAbout Ben

My passion for baseball started at a young age.  Born in 1994 in the state of New York, I grew up rooting for the home team, the dominant New York Yankees of the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  Two books on Derek Jeter and his reputation as a clutch player quickly made him my favorite player, and he was my biggest role model as a young boy.  I began playing baseball in Little League during 4th grade.  My dream was to become “the next Derek Jeter” and play shortstop for the Yankees just like him.  Like thousands of other kids, I realized in middle and high school that it definitely wasn’t going to happen!

However, my passion for baseball continued though the years.  2006 was when I really got into it.  Before that year, I didn’t watch that often and was a very casual fan.  From 2006-2010, baseball was my biggest passion and hobby in life.  I like to say I lived and breathed it.  Watching baseball, reading baseball books, collecting cards, talking about baseball with my friends, playing, I did everything I could think of  related to the sport.

My passion for baseball slowly waned over the years, but it’s still one of my favorite things.  I stopped playing after 10th grade in high school, and I stopped collecting cards and reading a ton of baseball books.  However, one thing has stuck with me like nothing else: the Postseason.  My love for October baseball has led to a lot of late nights obsessing over every postseason game, even if it meant I didn’t get enough sleep or that I had to sacrifice something else in life.  I can honestly say that I regret almost none of the time I’ve spent watching postseason baseball.  Part of that is because of the sheer amount of epic moments that have happened not just in my lifetime, but in the recent past (since 2010 for example).  Even as I type this in May 2018, I can’t wait for October!

Helping baseball fans find their favorite moments

I want everyone’s favorite baseball memories to last forever, with the exception of the mets, my least favorite team by far.  To that end, I like to focus on the epic moments that often occur in the postseason.  By rekindling those goosebumps from that crazy night, I want people to love baseball as much as they ever have, and look forward to the next walkoff, the next record-breaker, the next “fans litter the field” moment, the next monumental crowd reaction.

 

Let me know if you have comments, questions, requests, or anything else!!

Ben

BaseballwithBen.com