Baseball season is right around the corner, and for fans, there are so many reasons to be excited. Noah Gross wrote a list of 26 reasons to be excited about baseball, but it’s time to get more into each team.
That being said, I don’t really think going deeply in-depth on each team is the way to go; I don’t want to write it, and you don’t want to read it. So for a brief overview of the league, I will go division by division giving one thing to love and one thing to hate about each team. This way, whether you are looking for storylines to root for, or just stuff to make you angry all through the spring and summer, this series will have something for you. We will begin, as most baseball lists do, with the AL East.
Thing to Love: Manny Machado
This team has a few entertaining guys. Chris Davis can still occasionally crush the ball, Jonathan Schoop is very good across the board, and while Adam Jones isn’t the player he once was, he’s still a five-tool threat. But Machado is in another class, he is one of the league’s best hitters, he can play Gold Glove defense at two positions, and he brings a passion that can make even a boring midseason game fun to watch.
Thing to Hate: Manny Machado
Sure, he’s transcendently talented and incredibly fun to watch, but he also can be kind of a jerk. He complains at umpires, threw a bat at someone after a hit-by-pitch, and hurt my personal hero (and man-crush) Dustin Pedroia on a dirty slide. Also, it seems like he’ll be a Yankee in like a year so let’s all just start hating him now.
Boston Red Sox
Thing to Love: Young Core
These Sox have a potential to be really fun. With the three great young outfielders, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers in the infield as well as Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart behind the plate, this team plays with a great energy and always seems to have something funny going on in the dugout. With new manager Alex Cora, this team should be even looser and more fun than last year.
Thing to Hate: No Homers
They say chicks dig the long ball… as do guys. And probably dogs because it looks like a really long and fun game of fetch. So for anyone who does dig the long ball, these Red Sox may not be your team. They certainly have power potential, with Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts, and Just Dingers Martinez, but they were 27th in the league and last in the AL with 168 homers last year. With a basically unchanged roster, there is a significant chance the Sox will have to play small ball again. The AL East certainly won’t lack for power, it’s just that the Red Sox may not be the ones providing it.
New York Yankees
Thing to Love: Dingers on dingers on dingers
Oh my god, just so many dingers. Stanton, Judge, Sanchez, even Gregorious with that short porch in right. My only advice if you’re within 25 blocks of the Bronx on a game night: duck.
Thing to Hate: Everything else
They’re the Yankees. ‘Nuff ced.
Tampa Bay Rays
Thing to Love: Chris Archer
He doesn’t get the recognition he deserves because he plays in baseball purgatory, but this dude is filthy. When he’s on, he throws a fastball, changeup, and slider that can all make hitters look foolish. Hopefully he can follow in the path of other successful Rays pitchers and get out of there to somewhere where he can both pitch in front of fans and win.
Thing to Hate: Tropicana Field
I mean just yuck.
Toronto Blue Jays
Thing to Love: Curtis Granderson
I know! I couldn’t believe he’s still around either, but he is. The Jays signed him to a one-year deal for $5 million in January. I don’t know why, but I’m just as excited as you are to see how it works out.
Thing to Hate: No more Joey Bats
Do I like Jose Bautista? No. Do I respect Jose Bautista? Not really. Do I respect this?