It seems that Major League Baseball is going to attempt to take the field and play a 60-game season. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know I’m not the biggest fan of Major League Baseball because of its insanely, way too long, 162-game season. But, 60 games? Game on!
Even though I think it’s still a long shot that the league will actually play this year due to the coronavirus, let’s play eternal optimist and pretend everything will go as planned. That means yours truly needs to find a baseball team to root for.
To pick my team of the future I have to start with the two teams of my past — the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs.
Growing up in Northern Kentucky, I caught the tail end of the Big Red Machine, watched the Reds take the 1990 World Series and seemed to be headed for another title in the 1994 season that ended in a lockout with Cincinnati sitting in first place. Baseball returned the next season but, I can’t say I did.
The Reds get extra points for having my second favorite player of all time, Eric Davis, who was positively electric in the late ‘80s and would have easily become the first “40-40” player (home runs and stolen bases) in 1987 had he not missed over 30 games. That title would eventually go to meathead Jose Canseco. The Reds also get extra points for pitcher Mario Soto’s originality. I’ve never seen a pitcher punch a batter with a baseball and then throw a heater at his dome.
I fell in love with the Chicago Cubs in 1984. We didn’t have cable at our home at the time but, as a kid, I would spend two weeks every summer with my grandparents.
My grandpa and I watched every game on WGN. We laughed at Harry Caray and rooted hard for Leon “Bull” Durham and Ryne Sandberg. It was a scrappy, underdog team and we ate it up.
Looking elsewhere, I lived in Houston and attended an Astros game or two. It was when they were awful and I would always end up watching college football at one of the bars in the stadium. Plus they’re a big salary team now and I just don’t dig on those teams (Cubs are now one of those teams as well). Houston does get extra points for cheating its way to a title though.
There’s no chance in hell that I would ever root for the Yankees, Red Sox or Dodgers.
I wouldn’t ever root for the San Francisco Giants either but just had to share this video of Barry Bonds blasting a home run against a Japanese player pitching while bouncing on a trampoline. Yes. I’ll wait.
The Oakland Athletics are always a contender simply for the fact that my favorite player of all time donned the Green and Yellow. Rickey Henderson was the man. The coolest player ever to play the game. All of those stolen bases! Henderson holds records for stolen bases in a career (1,406), stolen bases in a season (130), home runs to lead off a game (81), walks (2,129) and runs scored (2,295). He was an absolute threat every time he walked onto the field. The A’s get an extra point for employing the “great baseball name” Coco Crisp.
Another great name and also a true phenom is the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout, easily the best player named after a fish. The dude’s incredible. The Angels could contend but lose points due to their team salary getting way up there and for changing their name to L.A. Lame.
Milwaukee has the Brewers and brewers make beer. Solid contender.
Tulane catcher Jake Rogers could take over as a starter for the Detroit Tigers. Detroit also has great hats. Contender.
Never liked the St. Louis Cardinals but I have to give their fans props. I’ve attended a few Cubs games throughout the years and have never seen a crowd at Wrigley Field quite like when St. Louis comes to town. It’s a true rivalry and has an almost football-like feel during pregame festivities.
Oakland, Cincinnati, the Cubs, Detroit and the Giants all get an extra point for employing one of the greatest baseball names of all time — Champ Summers.
There are plenty of teams that spark no reaction whatsoever — Royals, Mariners, Rangers, Rockies, Diamondbacks, any team that calls Florida home, and even the Mets. With that said, the Mets do get a point for participating in this classic Ray Knight-inspired brawl with the Reds.
After making some hard cuts, it all peanut boils down to the Cubs, Athletics, Angels and Brewers. I guess I have to throw the Cubs out because I just can’t root for a team with such a high team salary. I’ll throw out the Angels because my homey Boilin’ Bill is a major fan and I can just pick up their vibes off of him. The Brewers could be fun but, for whatever reason, I just really, really did not like Robin Yount back in the day.
Let’s go Athletics! If they were good enough for Rickey then they’re good enough for ole’ Spence. I’ll be pulling hard for the A’s this year. You know, unless they’re awful, then I’ll just root for somebody else. Baseball y’all!
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Milwaukee’s Best aka The Beast
Playlist Recommendation: Harry Caray – “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”
Around the Way
Real live baseball returns to Youngsville, Louisiana tomorrow night as the Acadiana Cane Cutters of the Texas Collegiate League open their season against the Victoria Generals (http://www.canecuttersbaseball.com/). The TCL features teams comprised of local college talent and the Cane Cutters have players from LSU, Southern, UNO, Nicholls State and more. There’s a little something for everybody! Keep your social distancing game on point and enjoy some $2 hot dogs and peanuts! America!