Favorite team to preview:
Brian: I really enjoyed previewing the A’s and the Royals, mostly for selfish reasons. I really thought the Royals were going to have a breakout year—so much so that I drafted Billy Butler, Alcides Escobar, and Alex Gordon in my fantasy league. Because of that I liked talking about them and boasting about them, even though they started the year off so awful. I have a feeling they have a chance to be really good next year if they can get some actual major league caliber pitching.
As for the A’s, I had drafted Josh Reddick on a whim in the same league on a whim and did that ever pay off. Because he was playing so well this year, I found myself watching more and more of the A’s. Then they went on that run to catch Texas and it was even more intriguing. They were an exciting team to watch all year and the fact they were being successful doing what the Indians were trying to do made it even more interesting. Curse you Billy Beane!
Merritt: I think my favorite team to preview was the Texas Rangers. Such power throughout the lineup, so many interesting players and that neatness that is the Ballpark at Arlington. They can do anything at any time, and it’s amazing that they’re out of the playoffs already considering what that team has on it. I was excited to see Yu Darvish come to Cleveland because he’s such a marvel, and evn if the Tribe got beat up, I enjoyed it because I just like great baseball. Hamilton didn’t go 10-for-12 with five homers (he’d done that already in Baltimore) but it doesn’t matter.
In-division, my favorite previews to write were the White Sox. I know you hate them Brian, but there’s something I enjoy about them. I live in Chicago right now so I watch them a lot, and their GM is an Oakland Raiders fan, my favorite football team. Add to that Adam Dunn, my favorite player in the game for some reason, I enjoyed finding new things to rave about. I still hate Alexei Ramirez.
- Favorite player to preview:
Brian: Honestly, even though I hate to admit it, I probably enjoyed previewing Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder the most and most of that comes out of pure jealousy. I want the Indians to spend like the Tigers, damn it! It’s so frustrating to watch, but at the same time watching two players of that caliber in the same lineup has been a blast. Throw in the fact that Cabrera just won the Triple Crown and it’s easy to understand why he was so much fun to talk about. The guy is a one man wrecking crew.
Merritt: There wasn’t really one player I liked the most to write about, but Josh Hamilton and Adam Dunn probably tied for top. Add Joey Votto to that list because I just find him wondrous, but the utter assault Hambone and the Donkey (I’d watch that kid’s show) do to the baseball is so compelling. Hamilton happens to be a free agent but I’d rather he stay in Texas, the park helps him be amazing. What can I say, I love home runs and those guys do it for me.
Least favorite team to preview:
Brian: The White Sox. I hate the White Sox. I don’t understand how or why they were in first for so much of the year and just everything about them infuriates me. They wear black socks for crying out loud! what’s up with that. I just have grown to hate this team so much over the years and having to try to find complimentary things to say about them was painful at times, especially with how badly the Indians played in the second half.
Merritt: The Royals. I probably hate the Twins more because they embarrassed the division for damn near a decade, but the Royals just make me mad. There’s been a heap of talent to come out of KC the last decade and a half and even now they’re stacked on offense from Billy Butler to Alex Gordon to those rookies around the field. But they keep on being terrible and having no pitching at all despite it. Seriously, they trade Melky Cabrera (pre-steroid conviction) for a much worse piece in Jonathan Sanchez? Bruce Chen gets an extension, and Luke Hochevor gets more than three starts on the season? It’s such a waste of good baseballing in KC and despite every overture to the contrary, I don’t see them actually contending for a while. Plus they keep beating the Indians, I really don’t like that at all.
- Least favorite player:
Brian: Paul Konerko. I can’t stand Paul Konerko. If he was an Indian, I’d love him, but he’s not. He plays for those stupid White Sox and continually plunges knife after knife into our backs. He’s hit like 400 career home runs and I’m about 98.4295% sure that 375 of them are against the Indians. Can he please retire already… please? I’m begging.
Merritt: Alex Gordon. He’s not even the best hitter on the Royals, or the best fielder since he’s in left, but he just seems to beat the tar out of the Tribe and it seems like every time the ball is hit his way and he doesn’t catch it on the fly, he guns someone down at home. His stupid facial hair grates on my nerves, too.
Favorite and least favorite preview to write:
Brian: My final preview against the Twins was my favorite and least favorite all at the same time. I had run out of ideas, had nothing nice to say about anyone involved, and quite frankly I just didn’t care. I stared blankly at my laptop for about 2 hours trying to figure out an angle and then it hit me: The Race For Last Place. I decided to turn going for last place into it’s own twisted pennant chase of sorts and what each team needed to do to clinch last place. It came out great, at least I thought so. I loved it because it was different from all the others I wrote, but hated it because it took so long to write and I couldn’t believe it had come to this. Turning a series into a giant joke about futility and just awful, awful baseball.
Merritt: My favorite preview was probably the series against the Orioles back in July. I compared the 2012 O’s to the 2011 Indians, and I thought it was pretty fitting. The difference is, one kept performing and the other ate it. The Tribe was still doing alright and the Orioles were a fun team to watch too, I really hope they do good things in October. I also liked the Reds preview I did, it was a lot of fun and Cincy is a great team to watch and write about. The top 10 reasons why to watch the Ohio Cup were a proud moment in my life as a bloggster (that’s a blogging gangster).
I have to say this though: The second-to-last preview of the season, right after Manny Acta got fired, I started by writing “I hate this team,” and went from there. I deleted it before submitting it, but it was my muse I suppose. That last week was just horrid—Royals, White Sox, Royals, White Sox. It was such a slog. I’ll admit my effort in that last week was far from strong, but like the Tribe I had to play the string out, and finished with a decent level of snark and irritation, but with a nice dusting of fandom still intact. I still love this team, just hated this year.