From least favorite to most. I weave through these with my "Marliners" fan lens:
The "bad feelings" tier:
Seldom if ever will I root for teams in this tier.
30. St. Louis Cardinals - Unchecked jealousy fuels this pick. They are the epitome of consistency in an annoying way. I think a good ol' fashioned half decade of abject failure would do their fanbase a lot of good.
29. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - They get a small amount of points for being my childhood team, but the California Angels don't exist anymore. In their place is a team that won a World Series title the year after the Mariners fielded one of the greatest regular season teams ever and failed to even make it to the big dance (on top of being pretty terrible the entire time I lived down there). The Angels have been the key villain in many M's related disasters of the past decade or so. Bonus hate points for the slew of Angels from that 2002 championship team to later become Mariners and immediately fall off the baseball map.
28. Atlanta Braves - The bane of Marlins' fans existence all the way up to present day. Even when they're bad, they still beat the Fish.
27. Toronto Blue Jays - It's funny how much current events can sway your perspective on these. Jays fans fill up Safeco Field every summer, and while they don't have the reputation of their more storied AL East counterparts, they're every bit as obnoxious. Plus they seem to have purposefully stock-piled unlikeable middle of the order hitters (Donaldson, Joey Bats).
26. San Francisco Giants - Pre-2010 they would've been much closer to the top of my list, but three titles later and I've had my fill.
25. Boston Red Sox - We got to witness up close and personal what serious winning does to a big fan base with Boston, one can only hope that Cubs fans took notes on how not to behave.
24. New York Yankees - It's an old hatred, re-kindled occasionally when I remember their part in quenching the fire that was the 2001, 116-win Mariners.
The "division rival" tier:
The disdain here ebbs and flows with their fortune (and my favorite nautical-themed teams)
23. Houston Astros - Their recent rebirth is ill-timed from a Mariners perspective.
22. Oakland A's and 21. Texas Rangers - I'm supposed to hate them, but I just can't at the moment. I went to an A's game last year and came away real impressed with their fan support (for a poor product). The Rangers have Adrian Beltre who should be one of everyone's favorite players, and they've never won a title.
20. New York Mets and 19. Washington Nationals - Recency bias, but they were super classy in the aftermath of José's passing.
18. Philadelphia Phillies - They punched Miami's clock regularly in the late '00s, but recent years haven't been kind to Philly, and honestly, I kind of like what they're doing from a rebuild perspective.
The "largely ambivalent" tier -
I will "root" for or against the teams depending on the circumstances surrounding the matchup.
17. Chicago White Sox - Another "I'm supposed to hate them" team, because they've had the M's number, but the Mariners have been terrible for years, hard to get worked up about it.
16. Cincinnati Reds - Maija over at Twinkie Town pointed out that when they ran this exercise, many people forgot about the Reds. They were the last team I remembered as well, when compiling my list, so guilty as charged, I guess.
15. Kansas City Royals - When they won their title they moved themselves out of my "warm feelings" tier.
14. Baltimore Orioles - I really have to reach to find a reason to care about the Orioles, one way or the other, and it's simply not worth the effort.
13. Arizona Diamondbacks - Well they certainly are there, in the desert, aren't they?
12. Chicago Cubs - I always felt sorry for the Cubs and their fans, but that is over now. Keeping a wary eye on them to see how they react to their new success.
11. Minnesota Twins - I've never disliked the Twins, can't really say I feel much about them one way or the other. I did like Kirby Puckett, though.
10. Detroit Tigers - My uncle bought me a 1984 Tigers pennant which hung in my room as a child and is something I still treasure.
9. Los Angeles Dodgers - The Dodgers were my dad's team when I was a kid, I retain a (very small) dose of fondness for them because of it. Plus who didn't like Vin Scully?
8. Cleveland Indians - Somebody had to lose that World Series, and I knew the loser would come out of it as a team that I had an increased affinity for.
7. Tampa Bay Rays - I jumped on the Rays bandwagon briefly back in 2008 but it didn't last. Still, I've always appreciated the way they the front office has run their team, making the most out of their payroll situation ::hint hint Marlins::
The "some warm feelings" tier -
I will root for these teams if they aren't playing my favorites.
6. Colorado Rockies - I've always dug their color scheme and had an affinity for Colorado. Perhaps there is something to the feeling of sympatico I get when I think that they started up around the same time as the Fish (but have no titles to show for it).
5. Pittsburgh Pirates - The Pirates have been good for a few years now, long enough for some of their youngest fans to only know them as winners, but my baseball memory is long and they'll get credit from me for the horrendous 20+ year stretch of terrible baseball they endured (until they start winning titles, anyway. Then all bets are off).
4. Milwaukee Brewers - I have a thing for down and out teams if you haven't picked up on that yet. Plus my sister recently moved to Wisconsin so chances are good I'll be taking in a few games in the years to come.
3. San Diego Padres - San Diego has long been one of my favorite cities, to the point where I made a (failed) attempt to move down there. Tony Gwynn was one of my favorites growing up, and I'd like to see them win something, some day.
The "true favorites" tier -
2. Seattle Mariners - I put the Mariners second out of respect; this is Fish Stripes, after all. Truthfully, it's more like 1A and 1B. For those who aren't familiar with my background, I've lived in Seattle for close to a quarter century now and have been following the M's for nearly that long. I still hold out hope that, some day, I'll be rewarded for it.
1. Miami Marlins - Writing for this blog is how I became a Marlins observer; I became a fan through a combination of developing a sincere admiration for a fan base that sticks with it's team in spite of obstacles presented over the years, and the collection of fun talent on the field. Stanton, Yelich, Ichiro, Bour, Conley, Phelps, Prado, Gordon, Realmuto, Barraclough, our dearly departed ace (gone but never forgotten)...the list goes on, but these guys are a legit likable bunch and to watch them on the regular is to root for them. Go Fish!
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