The Hate List

Every fan of every baseball team knows what hate is.  Hate is when you have a team or teams who you absolutely can’t stand.  Whether it be because that team has done your team harm, or because their fanbase is completely obnoxious, the mere sight of players from this other squad sends you into a homicidal rage.  Reasonable people become frothing, slobbering madmen once a player’s name is even mentioned.  Frankly, it can be frightening.

We all have our own hate lists.  A Mets fan’s hate list, for example, will look very different than a Yankee fan’s hate list.  However, fans of the same team can also have different hate lists, depending on how they weigh a number of issues.  No two hate lists will look the same.  A Mets fan who hated George Brett as a youngster may hate the Royals far more than I do.  My hate list looks different from Joeadigs, which looks different from TJV101’s, which looks different from MikeGrim’s.  That’s just the way it is.

Here now is my hate list as of today, April 8th.  Hate lists can change yearly, monthly, even daily, but here is where my list stands as of now:

30) New York Mets

As much as they break my heart, as much as they drive me crazy, as much as they leave me feeling hopeless and empty inside…I can’t hate the Mets.

29) Toronto Blue Jays

As much as any team can be my “American League team,” I guess that would be the Blue Jays.  I don’t really root for them as much as I used to, but I did enjoy their 1993 World Series victory over the Phillies, and I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Canada, so there you go.

28) Washington Nationals

It’s hard to hate a team that stinks.  Plus, I would say that Lastings Milledge and Adam Dunn are my two favorite non-Mets, and they are both on the Nats.  This ranking has the potential to get a lot higher if the Nats ever got good, but for right now, they are quite low.

27) Kansas City Royals
26) Texas Rangers
25) Seattle Mariners
24) Minnesota Twins
23) Chicago White Sox
22) Detroit Tigers
21) Cleveland Indians
20) Baltimore Orioles

These AL teams are mediocre to bad, and I have no reason to hate any of them.  I mean, the odds of the Mets facing any of these teams in a World Series is pretty slim.  I listed the Orioles ahead of everybody else since the Mets did once face them in the World Series, but it was a World Series that the Mets won, and it happened ten years before I was born, so how much residual bad blood can I have?  Of these teams, the Indians and Tigers have the most potential to rise into the next tier in the next year or so.  But it’s hard to hate AL teams that the Mets only play once every three years, and aren’t very good to begin with.

19) Tampa Bay Rays
18) Oakland Athletics
17) Los Angeles Angels

These are all good AL teams that could make a World Series sometime in the next five years, so they are ranked higher than the other AL teams, since should the Mets make the World Series, these teams could face them (the other two AL teams are ranked higher).  I like the way the Rays and A’s are run, which is why I won’t rank them higher.  It’s hard to hate smart-run baseball franchises, right?  The A’s get slightly more hate than the Rays because the Mets lost to them in a World Series, although it was played before I was born.  I think I hate the Angels a little bit more than the rest of these teams because I hate “Angels baseball,” which is basically “run into outs on the basepaths non-stop” and “start shortstops who hit worse than most pitchers” and other baseball things I hate.

16) Colorado Rockies
15) San Diego Padres
14) San Francisco Giants
13) Cincinnati Reds
12) Houston Astros
11) Pittsburgh Pirates

Now we’re getting into the lousy NL teams.  These teams will play the Mets 6-9 times, and the Mets may lose some games, or even a majority of them, but the teams are so bad, who cares?  How can I work up hatred for lousy teams?  None of these teams should directly affect the Mets’ playoff chances this year; should any of these teams actually be somewhat good, they will shoot up the list.  I rank the Rockies lowest because they recently beat the Phillies in a playoff series, and that made me happy.  The Pirates are listed highest, since they are the only one of these teams who were ever an NL East rival of the Mets.  Even though the Astros stink, they’re ranked 12th because of residual bitterness over Mike Scott and his ball scuffing antics.

10) Chicago Cubs
9) Arizona Diamondbacks
8) Los Angeles Dodgers

The Cubs would be ranked higher, but the Mets and Cubs never really had much of a rivalry in the NL East (since one or both teams were usually bad; the only seasons the two teams finished first and second were 1969 and 1984).  Plus, as a baseball fan, you do want to see the Cubs end years of losing and win a World championship at some point, as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of the Mets.  The Dodgers and Diamondbacks are a little different; I really don’t want to see either team win the World Series at the expense of the Mets.  If the Cubs were to win, hey, good for them.  The Dodgers and Diamondbacks?  That might sting a little.  That said, these three teams stand as three of the Mets’ biggest National League rivals towards winning a championship in 2009, so I can’t really rate them below the bad teams.

7) Boston Red Sox
6) New York Yankees

I might get some heat for keeping the Red Sox and Yankees out of the top five, but I have my reasons.  I don’t really hate the Red Sox that much either; again, they are an extremely well-run team that are usually very good at every aspect of the game.  As a baseball fan, how can you not respect that, and the way they play the game?  Even their fans aren’t all bad, just the bandwagon jerks.  The bandwagon jerks do make this team easier to hate, but as a baseball fan, I respect this franchise so much, because they do everything so well.

Joeadig is going to kill me for leaving the Yankees out of the top 5, but while I hate Yankee fans, and I think Derek Jeter is severely overrated, I don’t really hate the majority of their players.  The only reason I want to see the Yankees fail is because of their fanbase; the team itself and its players generally don’t bother me.  I root for them to lose more because their fans are more prevalent, more numerous versions of the bandwagon Red Sox fans described above.  But how much hatred can I possibly muster for a team that the Mets face six times a year, and a team that probably won’t affect the Mets’ playoff chances in any significant way?  I have always felt that the Mets/Yankees rivalry was a fabricated, media-driven thing anyway.

5) Milwaukee Brewers

The only top 5 team that figures to move down a peg or two this year, this is more residual bitterness from 2008.  Plus, when I found out that the Brewers were already celebrating winning the Wild Card before the Mets had officially lost to the Marlins, that kind of ticked me off a little bit.  And now, Willie Randolph is their bench coach, and any reader of BlueAndOrange knows how much I dislike Willie.  I’d like to see the Mets beat them up a little bit this year, and I hope they don’t even sniff the playoffs.

4) St. Louis Cardinals

This is mostly residual bitterness from 2006, but there is also some added bitterness from 1985 and 1987 as well.  The Mets and Cards battled tooth and nail in the mid to late 80’s, with the Cards winning three divsion titles (and a World Series) to the Mets’ two (and a World Series).  Add in the way the 2006 World Series ended, and this figures to be a top five team for a while, unless the Nationals come out of nowhere to become a superpower. 

3) Atlanta Braves

They have had periods in the top spot, and could one day soon reclaim that spot.  For right now, they are #3 based on reputation, but of late, the Mets have had the edge both in the season series with the Braves and in the standings, so it’s hard to rank them higher.  That said, most of their players strike me as pretty unlikable, particularly a gentleman by the name of Lawrence Jones, and I think this is a team that is capable of being good again soon, so I suspect they won’t remain this low for too long.

2) Florida Marlins

This is an easier team to hate than you think.  First, obviously, there’s the whole situation with the Mets having lost on the last day of the season to this lousy ass team two years in a row.  Then, there’s Dan Uggla hitting the last home run at Shea Stadium, a place I loved and adored.  A Marlin holds our last record.  That’s all of the personal stuff.  But as a franchise?  They are an affront to baseball, an expansion team that has two World Series championships and spent most of their other years of existance crapping all over their non-existant fanbase.  They have the worst ownership in baseball, a group that seemingly exists solely to build a new baseball stadium with public money, without any care for whatever fanbase that doesn’t mind getting kicked in the face.  Screw them.

(For more on why the Marlins are an affront to professional sports, read Baseball Prospectus).

1) Philadelphia Phillies

Was there ever any doubt?  Their fan base is full of jerks, most of whom didn’t even know they played baseball in Philadelphia before October 2008.  The same fanbase that couldn’t stop mentioning the Mets during their victory celebration (though I guess they were taking their cues from their favorite asshole players, who also couldn’t resist taking shots at a team that hadn’t played a game in a month).  This same fanbase now includes my sister, who wasn’t even a baseball fan before 2007, but now feels free to stick it to me about how much better the Phillies are despite never having sat through even a single lousy season in team history.  The same fanbase that has hijacked Johan Santana’s Baseball Reference page, to where now I can’t go and read about my favorite pitcher without being reminded about how much I hate the Phillies.

But wait, there’s more!  Jimmy Rollins stole an MVP from David Wright two years ago (and Ryan Howard nearly stole one from Albert Pujols last year).  I’d like to see somebody punch Shane Victorino in the face (admittedly, I would probably love him if he were a Met, but he isn’t, so f him).  Jayson Werth has that shitty goatee that reminds me of every member of the 2006 Cardinals, another team on my all-time hate list.  Ryan Howard is the most overrated player in baseball.  The Phillies bullpen was extremely lucky last year, while the Mets’ bullpen was was extremely unlucky (that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it).  Even guys like Eric Bruntlett fill me with rage.  Their winning the World Series made me physically ill, and made me hate baseball for at least a good month.

Basically, these guys make me completely and utterly irrational, and I am an otherwise rational man.  What better way to define hate than that?

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