Friday, March 29, 2013

3 Most Interesting Teams in MLB

In 2013 there is no doubt that I will be consuming Baseball games at an historic rate.  As a Jays fan hope springs eternal, but frankly, there's only so much of any one team you can watch.

I have three teams that I'm deeming my "3 Most Interesting Teams in MLB" for this season.

1. Houston Astros
About a year ago I cancelled my ESPN Insider subscription.  The writing was beginning to go the way of their television programming in that it was more character driven than content driven.  At that time there was also a free weekend on Baseball Prospectus.  I lived on this site for more hours than I care to remember, but it was frightening how much these guys knew about baseball.  This led me to listening to the Up And In Podcast (RIP).
BP is responsible for my interest in the Astros.  Mike Fast and his catcher framing statistics, Kevin Goldstein and his loathe of khakis and sandals and Juff Luhnow's record that still stands with the strength of the St. Louis Cardinals...all reasons to watch.

Make no mistake, it won't be pretty, but I've resigned to consume Astros games to watch this rebuild in real-time.  If for no other reason, their new uniforms are worth checking out too.

2. Chicago Cubs
2012 End-of-Season Rotation - Travis Wood, Justin Germano, Chris Volstad, Chris Rusin, Jason Berken
2013 Starting Rotation - Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman, *Travis Wood, *Carlos Villanueva
(*Starting season on DL - Matt Garza, Scott Baker)

The Cubs won't be a good team in 2013, but they also won't be a bad team.  We'll get to watch a full season of Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro's continued maturation into a fantastic shortstop and young players like Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters prove their stock which made them high draft picks in the past.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates
In 2011 my wife and I had planned a trip to New York for a weekend to watch musicals and baseball games.  It was a holiday that only ran into one road block.  COST!!
We looked at other options, and I managed to talk her into a low budget trip to Pittsburgh.  Expectations were incredibly low as we checked into our modest hotel room and called a cab to take us to PNC Park to see the Pirates/Brewers game.  The cab arrived and it was black and yellow...I remarked "the cabs are the same colours as the Pirates", then we went over a black and yellow bridge, passed a black and yellow Police car and stopped in front of Heinz Field (home of the Steelers) which radiated black and yellow from the 65,000+ painted seats.  "Holy crap...the whole city is black and yellow!"

This is a silly reason to watch a baseball team, so I'll give you others...Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez.  They're a good team, playing in a tough division and despite not having had a winning season in 20 years, they have a loyal fan base who continue to come out to the ball park.

But really, this is about my trip to Pittsburgh.  You can't have that much fun in a city and not jump on their sports bandwagon.  Seriously...these sandwiches, and this beer...get in the car and go now.