Ahhhh Spring Training: the time of year when hope springs eternal for every MLB team. The Florida heat and the Desert sunshine bring the warmth and promise of a summer filled with homers, double plays, and a sense of purpose for baseball lovers everywhere. My goal for every MLB season is the same: watch as many games as possible and try to see as many games in person as I can. Usually, I accomplish both goals. But, like me, every MLB team also has goals coming into Spring Training.
I will tell you all what the main goal for every MLB team should be. Sure, they might disagree, but I know what’s right. I am all-knowing. I am basically the MLB mind reader. The strike out swami. The foul-ball fortune-teller.
You get the point.
Baltimore Orioles: Actually use one of the best pitchers in baseball in a critical moment. Woe is the team who does not use Zach Britton in a crucial moment. You can rest assured the Orioles won’t make that mistake again. There is no reason why Britton, who several baseball writers argued should be a Cy Young nominee in 2016, should have been warming the bench in the Wild Card game against Toronto. Nope nope nope.
Boston Red Sox: Get to the World Series. Seriously, as a Yankee fan, I hate how good the Red Sox will be this year. They should be able to run the table in the AL East fairly uncontested and if their offense matches up to what should be a stellar rotation, watch out.
New York Yankees: Let the youngsters play! In what the Yankees won’t be calling a “rebuild”, older players are almost through with their contracts and the farm system is stocked but not quite ready. It will be a rough year in the Bronx (or, at least, rough by Yankee terms), so the biggest glimmer of hope will be seeing the Baby Bombers get some quality playing time. With one of the best farm systems in baseball, there are plenty of young prospects who should see playing time on the big stage.
Tampa Bay Rays: Fill your stadium past 1/4 capacity. I mean, it’s not like the fans will have much to cheer for, but can we at least do our best to fill the seats when Chris Archer is pitching? The Rays won’t be as bad as last year (here’s hoping), but they probably won’t be the AL East’s marquee attraction.
Toronto Blue Jays: Don’t let the fans hurt visiting players. Like, for real. You were scrappy and cute a few years ago, but c’mon: you can’t throw bottles of beer onto the field and expect people to like you. You’re Canadians! Don’t be like Americans. Americans would throw beer bottles. I mean, if your going to throw anything, at least throw food. Athletes always need food.
Chicago White Sox: Let some kiddos into the clubhouse during Spring Training. Okay, I don’t know if this is a problem or not this year, but better safe than sorry. #IStandWithDrakeLaRouche
Cleveland Indians: Get to the World Series and DON’T blow a 3-1 lead. This one seems pretty self-explanatory.
Detroit Tigers: Get invited to the Verlander/Upton wedding. 1) You know it’s gonna be a big-ass party and you don’t want to miss that, and 2) you really have nothing better going on this year. The Tiger’s window of winning seems to have closed as the rest of the AL Central has surpassed them. It’s a shame that the only exciting thing for the Tigers this year will be the wedding of their star pitcher and his swimsuit model fiancée.
Kansas City Royals: Honor Yordano Ventura. Play the game in memory of the young pitcher lost too soon. Play as hard as he did, scrap as much as he scrapped, and emote as much as he emoted. Love the game as much as he did.
Minnesota Twins: Don’t be a dumpster fire. Please? Give my cousins something to root for! I have a lot of family in Minnesota and I want them to have a team that doesn’t suck.
Anaheim Angels: Don’t waste Mike Trout. YOU HAVE THE BEST PLAYER IN BASEBALL AND YOU HAVE SURROUNDED HIM WITH AN “OKAY-ISH” TEAM. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES.
Houston Astros: Make the Postseason. The Astros are a talented team, yet they cannot seem to make it into the postseason! I hope that changes this year because I want to see Jose Altuve breakout onto the big stage and show the world that a lil’ guy can be a force to be reckoned with.
Oakland A’s: I dunno. Be relevant? Who else forgot they were a team last year? *slowly raises hand*
Seattle Mariners: Make the postseason. Y’all have been so close the last few years! The Mariners have one of their better teams this year and this might be the year they get into the postseason. Will they make it past the divisional round? Probably not. Make no mistake, they are a good team, but I need them to prove to me that they are a GREAT team.
Texas Rangers: Have every player play just like Adrian Beltre. Who says no?
Atlanta Braves: Make Bartolo Colon pitch every single game. Please please please for the love of things holy, make Bartolo play every day. The world needs more Bartolo gifs!
Miami Marlins: Play for Jose. I can’t remember a more impactful sports moment than when Dee Gordon smashed a homerun in his first at-bat after the death of his teammate Jose Fernandez. God and Jose helped that ball rocket from Gordon’s bat deep into the bleachers and everyone on planet earth wept. Or, at least, I wept. It was a brilliant and beautiful reminder that sports are a magical entity. This year, the Marlins should continue to play hard, have fun, and remind the sports world how great sports are.
New York Mets: Wrap every pitcher in bubble wrap. For the Mets, it’s simple: keep your rotation healthy and the rest will take of itself. So the Mets need to wrap every member of their five-man rotation in bubble wrap during every second they are not pitching. I’m not even kidding.
Philadelphia Phillies: Give me free Chickie and Pete’s fries at every game I go to. I live close to Philly, so I go to several games over the course of the season. I think it would be grand if the Phillies gave me free crab fries. Those things are basically deep-fried crack. Let’s face it: the Phillies will still not be great this year, but they have a good thing going. They have some outstanding young talent that needs to mature, but I don’t think they will quite get there this year.
Washington Nationals: Give Max Scherzer as much chocolate syrup as he wants. I would say something about Bryce Harper, but it’s Mad Max who is the no-hit threat nearly every start. After his incredible past few seasons, I have no doubt that he will continue to dominate and if he wants to celebrate by getting chocolate syrup squirted all over him, Dusty Baker should let that happen.
Chicago Cubs: Make it back to the World Series without becoming hated. Winning a lot means you’re gonna be hated by a lot of people. At this point, the Cubbies are still lovable and their players are still people you want to hug. They are an easy team to root for, but gosh those scales tip quickly.
Cincinnati Reds: Don’t lose 100 games. You can do it! I kind of believe in you! Let Joey Votto live his best life!
Milwaukee Brewers: Don’t eff it up. That gem is courtesy of the Brewers’ owner Mark Attanasio. But really, that about sums it up for the Brewers – they have a lot of young talent and some grizzled veteran players who could really seize on some opportunities as the team continues to rebuild.
St. Louis Cardinals: Get the Wild Card. Sorry red birds, but the Cubs are gonna win the division. They are a better team, have better players, and they have momentum on their side. You have “The Cardinal Way”, which will get you far, but I think you ought to really stay realistic here.
Pittsburg Pirates: Don’t let my ex, who lives in the ‘Burg, into the games. Like, I’m not being vindictive or anything, but I am being a lil’ petty. Okay, but really, the Pirates once again will have a formidable squad but I have a sneaky feeling they will come up just shy of the postseason. Or, they will trade Andrew McCutchen, which might cause the entire population of Pittsburg to march in protest.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Get a witch doctor, voodoo woman, and any other magic worker to sprinkle some pixie dust on the pitcher’s mound. The only silver lining for D-Backs fans is that there is no possible way Shelby Miller and Zack Greinke will be as bad in 2017 as they were in 2016. But, you know, a little pixie dust on the mound might not be a bad idea. Also, can you mail some churro dogs to New Jersey? Asking for a friend…
Colorado Rockies: HIT. ALL. THE. BASEBALLS!!!! The Rockies, believe it or not, have probably the most offensively-talented team in baseball this year. And they are talented even without the benefit of playing at a higher elevation. I’m not saying the Rockies will live to see October, but they could make things verrrrrry interesting.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Win the World Series. For a team this talented, it won’t be enough to just make it to the World Series. If they can’t win the whole shebang this year, they will be considered a multi-billion dollar failure. It’s that simple.
San Diego Padres: Tank and tank hard. Get those draft picks, baby!
San Francisco Giants: Suck. Okay, so this one is not a goal they should have, but as someone who grew up in AZ, I’ve come to loathe most California teams. There is no team I loathe more than the Giants and I would be more than happy to see them lose every game. I mean, they won’t, but I’d gleefully watch it happen.