The 2012 MLB guide for NBA and NHL fans
June, 26, 2012
By DJ Gallo | ESPN.com
Elsa/Getty ImagesIf you're just tuning in to baseball season, you might be surprised that the Yankees are pretty good.Now that the NBA and NHL playoffs are over, many sports fans are just tuning in to baseball for the first time.
It can be overwhelming. Thirty MLB teams, most playing every night, and near-constant action (if you have every game on at once).
Good news: many teams have already shown that they are not worthy of your attention. Let this guide help you determine which baseball teams to pay attention to, and which to continue ignoring.
They’re not very good and are out of contention already. So instead of dwelling on that, let’s listen to Mike Tyson tell a story about A’s general manager Brad Pitt.
Angels: Don’t ignore
Hanewinckel/US PresswireThere are some positives to Albert Pujols' massive contract incentives for the Angels.
Albert Pujols is in the midst of his worst season, but the Angels have two young stars in Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo who are more than making up for the former Cardinals star’s failing. So while Pujols is only in the first year of a massive, 10-year, $240 million contract, at least the Angels will never have to worry about paying him his $500,000 MVP bonus. The best he’ll ever do in the voting is third. That’s a smart contract there by Anaheim.
Many experts pegged the Astros for 100 losses this year. Right now they’re on pace for only 96. So, you know progress or something.
Blue Jays: Ignore
Toronto just signed a 49-year-old pitcher with a 5.70 ERA to a minor league contract. If they’re not going to take themselves seriously, neither should we.
Braves: Don’t ignore
The Braves are a good team and you don’t want to miss the Chipper Jones farewell tour. Every city he goes to gives him a gift in a pregame ceremony. It’s going to be awesome this offseason when he decides he has one more year left and the cheaper teams ask him to return their gifts.
They’re bad. Also, Ryan Braun is having a really good season. If we don’t ignore that, then all of the jokes we made in the offseason about how Braun would fall apart this year will look stupid.
Cardinals: Don’t ignore
The defending World Series champions are competitive. Are they exciting? Maybe not. But not everything can get people as excited as David Freese is about this roller coaster.
Cubs: Don’t ignore
Fans and the sports media are so reactionary these days. Let’s give this franchise a few more years. Patience.
Denis Poroy/Getty ImagesJason Kubel is the face of the Diamondbacks.
Looking for excitement? Then you don’t want a team led by Jason Kubel in every major offensive category.
Dodgers: Don’t ignore
Don’t overlook the Dodgers just because Los Angeles is a hockey town. The Dodgers are in first place, Matt Kemp is one of the best players in baseball when healthy and catcher A.J. Ellis kind of looks like Jonathan Quick if you squint.
Giants: Don’t ignore
Watch Matt Cain pitch if you get the chance. He’s the best in the game right now and the rare Giants pitcher who didn’t become terrible after getting a huge contract.
Indians: Don’t ignore
To quote the American movie classic “Major League”: “You know, these guys ain’t too ####in’ bad.”
They have the worst record in the American League. But it’s still time to rejoice in Seattle: “The Killing” is over and soon people will stop associating the town with that show.
Marlins: Don’t ignore
The Marlins are 5-17 in June. Ozzie Guillen is their manager. This is going to be entertaining. Best-case scenario is that he freaks out, grabs a bat and destroys the center-field sculpturabomination.
Mets: Don’t ignore
R.A. Dickey throws something called an “angry knuckleball.” It’s the most entertaining pitch in baseball since John Lackey’s “slow fastball.”
Nationals: Don’t ignore
AP Photo/John BazemoreBryce Harper can command attention, from fans and reporters alike.
If you like baseball at all, you have to like watching Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg play. And definitely keep an eye on Harper during the first week of August. He might go off.
They’re in the midst of a dream season -- 10 games over .500 thanks to career years from almost half the roster. Yet they’ve still fallen three games back of the Yankees in the AL East. We know how this ends. Look away. It’s too depressing.
Philadelphia has really missed Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay. So much so that the Phillies' other former All-Stars -- Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins, Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco and Jonathan Papelbon -- have been too sad and lonely to play winning baseball.
Pirates: Don’t ignore
The Pirates aren’t bad. Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen is a legitimate MVP candidate and A.J. Burnett might make the National League All-Star team even though the Yankees are paying 57 percent of his contract. As the saying goes: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure if the second man is in the National League.”
Rangers: Don’t ignore
They’re very good again. Plus, Josh Hamilton will be up any minute now. You’ll definitely want to pay attention or you might get hit in the face with a bat.
As always, the Rays are winning with a young, talented roster. Also as always, the Rays are being pretty much ignored by the locals. It would be disrespectful to the local culture if you paid them any heed.
Red Sox: Don’t ignore
After another bad start, Boston is three games over .500. (Red Sox fans have hope! Here they come!) On the other hand, they’re still in last place. (Boston haters rejoice! Sweet schadenfreude!) See, there’s something here for everyone to like.
Reds: Don’t ignore
Aroldis Chapman is fun to watch.
The Rockies are going with a four-man rotation. And so ends the list of interesting things about the 2012 Colorado Rockies.
Maybe it’s time the Royals try playing with actual royals. How much worse could they be with a Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry middle of the order? People might at least watch.
Tigers: Don’t ignore
Mark Cunningham/Getty ImagesThe Tigers, despite pairing Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, haven't put it all together yet this season.
They have Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Justin Verlander, yet the team isn’t winning. If you’re desperate to revel in the failure of a team with a “big three” now that the Heat have won a title, the Tigers are for you!
The Twins have the worst run differential in all of baseball. What happened to this franchise? How did they fall so fast? Is it worth seeing if Joe Mauer can play quarterback for the Vikings? So many questions.
White Sox: Ignore
Because their hometown does. The White Sox are in first place while the Cubs have the worst record in baseball. Yet the Cubs are averaging 15,000 more fans per game. The White Sox simply will never be able to overcome the fact they don’t play in a smelly and dilapidated historic stadium.
Yankees: Don’t ignore
After a slow start, they have the best record in baseball. Plus, have you ever tried to ignore the Yankees? It’s nearly impossible. Maybe if you just give them some attention, they’ll be content and go away. Like an annoying cat. It’s worth a shot.