I am a Dodger fan as a rule, but if I only follow them this year I am going to spend the whole year beating myself over the head, so I decided to follow a team in the AL, but I can’t decide which one. The Yankees and the Angels are out because of my Dodger fandom, I tried to follow Boston last year and just couldn’t get myself interested in them as a team, so they are out too, but I am open to any other suggestions.
I am armed with MLB TV and a desire to watch some baseball that won’t result in constant heartbreak.
Tampa Bay Rays. This is an organization that figured out how to compete with the Red Sox and Yankees, with little to no fan support. Mismanaged for their first decade, they finally got new ownership/management in place and developed the hell out of their farm system. They’re going to have a bit of a down year, but are always fun to watch and pay attention to. Joe Maddon is a great manager, who does everything for a reason and is happy to explain anything unconventional after the game. Tons of talent, great pitching, versatile offense and defense.
Kansas City Royals. To start, they will never compete for your attention with the Dodgers, and will be nothing but an extracurricular dalliance on the side. For baseball purposes, they’re the Tampa Bay Rays 5 years ago. They have a farm system packed to the gills with talent. Unfortunately, the product on the field isn’t nearly as exciting. The young bats are still young - that’s a plus in my opinion, but there’s still development to take place. There are tons of questions - and that’s part of what makes baseball fun. Can Gordon ever become the star he was supposed to be? How good can Butler get? Are there really enough 1B on this team (there are like 7 of them)? Will the Moose/Kila/Hosmer trio become a dominant force in the AL for years to come? Will Hochevar ever live up to being drafted before Lincecum, Longoria and Kershaw? Are the nicknames “The Mexicutioner” and “Hochocinco” the best in baseball?
Also a plus for the Royals is that Kansas City manages to attract the best sports writing in America. Joe Posnanski is no longer in KC, but he writes about the Royals constantly. He’s the best writer in the business right now. I hate him, but Jason Whitlock made a name for himself at the KC Star, also writing about the Royals (and the Chefs, and anything else that would get him attention). Rob Neyer also used to live in the area, and writes about the Royals occasionally. They’re not the media magnet that NY or Boston are, but those teams attract knee-jerk reactions and homer-centric topics/perceptions. EVERYONE criticizes the Royals, and they’re a pretty fascinating team to dissect.
Come over to the Dark Side, the Dodger stuff mostly dates to before you were born. The Yanks are your local team now. I even have a spare ticket to an April game if you want to join us. We can make arrangements. (Even if you choose to continue to root against them).
The Blue Jays. Fascinating team. Terrific young rotation, and the offense can’t do anything except hit home runs. They’re fun as hell to watch and you get the exotic feel of cheering for a foreign-based team.
How are you with frustration? You and I are fellow LA hometown guys, so I follow the same rules about who I can’t root for. A couple of years ago, I met my now-fiance, and she’s been pretty much a lifelong Indians fan. She tried to warn me off of them because of the…uh…tough times they’re going through right now. But I find them to be a fun team to follow, and Tom Hamilton is a VERY entertaining radio announcer (assuming you are not easily startled and/or have a weak heart). And there are a number of Indians’ fans here on the board.
If you like rooting for the underdog, I think you’ve found your team. Welcome to the Tribe.
Texas Rangers. They built the team the right way, developing young talent. They’re also a fun team to follow with good broadcasters They’re one of the few teams to move away from a corporate named ballpark back to “Rangers Ballpark in Arlington”
There is an excellent podcast you can listen to which covers the Rangers as well as several blogs.
The Detroit Tigers. We have mystery, intrigue, and potential alcoholism. We have one of the best players in the league in Miguel Cabrera, some really solid pitching, a fun division that’ll probably go all the way down to the wire, a whole lot of history, and we REALLY hate the Yankees.
Chicago White Sox. We have the following fun things:
[li]Crazy Manager – Ozzie Guillen has been ejected 25 times in his managerial career, and has ongoing feuds with various umpires. Always fun to see him get riled up.[/li][li]Fans Could Attack At Any Time – It’s been a couple years, but we White Sox fans are a notoriously trashy bunch. [/li][li]Not Too Terrible Announcers – Hearing Hawk Harrelson piss and moan about the umpires every other game can be hilarious.[/li][li]Solid Young Talent – Alexei Ramirez should have won the Gold Glove last year and Gordon Beckham and Alex Rios have shown flashes of being good-to-great players. Quentin is a big question mark, but there is potential for a lot of power in this Sox lineup. Dingers![/li][/ul]
Are you prohibited from being an Angels fan? I know some people can’t bring themselves to root for the ‘other League’s team’ in their hometown…but I have no problem rooting for the A’s despite bleeding Orange and Black for the World Champion San Francisco Giants.
Sorry, but I couldn’t help myself…I’m still working off 54 years of disappointment, and the OP is a Dodger fan
I’m not a fan of any AL team and don’t really understand the impulse to follow another team, but my unbiased advice is: take the Orioles.
They’re pretty terrible, first of all, so you don’t have to worry about that potential danger in terms of conflicts of interest. They’re in the AL East so you can root against the other teams while still basically following them. And they’ve got a really interesting mix of players. Wieters was the most highly-touted prospect of all time until Strasburg (until Harper), and hasn’t come into his own yet, but everyone still expects that he will. Get in on the ground floor on that one.
Adam Jones belongs to my personal favorite class of players - toolsy outfielders with the potential, but not the likelihood, to be great at everything. Mark Reynolds I’m sure you don’t need to be sold on – a third baseman who might go 40/40 with a .185 batting average and 250 strikeouts, and is a spectacular defensive player to boot? Brian Matusz is another potential superstar to get in on early. They’ve got Markakis, they’ve got Vlad, they’ve got Buck Showalter. That seems like entertainment to me.
Thanks everyone. I appreciate the arguments for all the various teams. You haven’t actually helped what with suggesting every team in the AL but the A’s but I appreciate it.
Seriously? I’ll shoot you a PM, we’ll talk. I would love to catch a game with you. Don’t think I can root for the Yankee’s even though it looks like my whole neighborhood is getting plastered with pin stripes. I thought this was a big Jet’s town when I moved here, but that’s nothing compared to the Yankee’s love I am seeing. I feel bad for the Met’s being so totally ignored. You wouldn’t know that there was more than one baseball team anywhere near by if you just looked at the population.
So far I think they may be the front runner. The AL Central does seem fun, and the Tigers and White Sox also seem interesting. I am thinking I will just start there and see what I think.
The other team that seems interesting is Tampa Bay and they have the benefit of probably playing a bunch of games in nearby Yankee Stadium.
In the end I will probably pick whichever of those teams has the best writers covering the team, so I may well end up a royals fan.
You are a Dodger fan too, so you will understand my reluctance to hop on board with another team that is going to under-perform while I am looking for a distraction.
Honestly the impulse is more coming from me realizing that because I only follow the Dodgers I know almost nothing about the AL and I want to fix that than anything else. Also I really expect the Dodgers to finish under .500 again this year. They don’t have any guys who can get on base and you can only do so much with good pitching, home runs and nothing else. I am not looking for someone to take the Dodgers place, just something else to keep me from tuning out the baseball season in frustration for weeks at a time. We have some exciting stuff on the horizon though.
It’s an LA thing. Even if I don’t live there anymore, you are either one or the other. It’s like the Cubs and the White Sox only significantly less well known.
I’m in Ohio and I can agree that Hamilton is a great announcer. But even die hard Indians fans around here aren’t looking forward to this season. It’s gonna be rough for you guys.
The following AL teams will be uninteresting by the end of May:
These teams my hang around for a while, but probably don’t have the firepower to really pose a threat by mid-August:
So, teams that I think have a legit shot at winning their division:
Red Sox - out per OP’s rules (although I think he should reconsider)
Yankees - out per OP’s rules
Angels - out per OP’s rules
I have no love for Ozzie Guillen and can’t root for a team stuck in a dome, so I guess I’d have to recommend the Rangers. Should be interesting to see how they fare without Cliff Lee in the rotation. I think they can still win the AL West.