It’s Thanksgiving! Gulp gulp, everyone. It’s a bit of a sportswriting trope, harking all the way back to the turn of the century (no, not that one, the last around the turn of the century) when newspaper columnists all sat down and wrote about which sports figures should be thankful for that Thanksgiving season. We’re not immune to the charms of the Thanksgiving column trope. There is much to be thankful for!
So as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, here’s something for every team to be thankful for. Whether your team is a champion or a basement dweller, there is something to be thankful for.
Blue Jays: Vladdy Jr.
We’ve all been transfixed by Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani over the past few years, and rightfully so, but let’s not forget that the Blue Jays have a young superstar who is close to being own MVP in 2021, has a smile that can light up the sky, has a swing that will send fireworks from the sky and, oh yes, is the son of a Hall of Famer who is also one of the most fun players in recent baseball season. Do not take Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of course, folks.
Orioles: The fun is just beginning.
See, success is not a linear concept. You take a few steps forward and then one or two back. You break through, and then you struggle to make the next jump. Your young players are not getting it right precisely as you wanted. As of now, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. But one thing is clearly true: last year was proof that the worst is behind the Orioles fans. This is a competitive team with a lot of young talent that isn’t going anywhere for a long time. You made it, Orioles. You deserve this.
Rays: The talent just keeps coming.
Remember when the Rays were blasted to act this one player, or That player? Remember when the Rays were “too analytical” and “too smart for their own good”? Well guess what? They made the playoffs again this year, for the fourth season in a row. They have a lot of questions to answer this off season. Guess? They will probably answer them. They always do.
Red Sox: Fenway is immortal.
You always know things aren’t like that big in Boston when the “be thankful” thing eventually becomes “Fenway,” but seriously: there’s nothing in the world quite like Fenway. You’ll see pictures of snow over Fenway this off-season, and it’ll remind you what you’re missing… and while 2022 has been tough, we’ve learned that this team recovers very quickly.
Yankees: They won 99 games last year and were one round away from their first World Series in 13 years.
Yankees fans were so frustrated at the end of the playoffs and so nervous Aaron Judgethat you should say this out loud every now and then to remind them.
Guards: That building may be noisy again.
Those of us who remember how packed and wild Cleveland and its stadium were in their perpetually sold-out 1990s incarnation enjoyed the wall of sound that place produced in their ALDS against the Yankees. Those fans are still there, and still great. Not every franchise can say that.
Royals: a transition that seems to be moving in the right direction.
The Royals have made a lot of changes this off-season, and while it’s certainly up in the air how they’ll turn out, it certainly looks like they’re pointing toward a franchise that’s taken a hard look at itself and is ready to try. something new. When things really aren’t working, that’s all a fan can ask for.
Tigers: The page has turned.
Nearly everything that could possibly have gone wrong did go wrong for the Tigers last year. This team will go through some difficult moments in 2023, sure, but there is reason to believe that things will get better. Riley Greene‘s rise in the second half is a good place to start.
Twins: The team and the front office are not giving up.
Many teams, especially those in a small market like Minnesota, would pack their bags and start over if they lost 89 games, as the Twins did in 2021. That’s not what the Twins did, even by arguably being the best free agent on the market, op Carlos Correa (who opted out and is a free agent again). It didn’t get them into the playoffs, and now that player is gone, but it speaks to motivation: this team won’t sit still.
White Sox: There is still so much young talent here.
Last season was such a disappointment that you would almost forget that, in addition to their solid rotation, the White Sox have so many outstanding hitters under 30: Tim Andersen (29), Yoan Moncada (27), Luis Robert (25), Eloy Jimenez (26), Andrew Vaughan (24). There isn’t a team in baseball that wouldn’t want that.
Astros: They just won the World Series.
No need to make it complicated.
Athletics: There are some pieces that might be part of the next good A’s team.
Yes, it’s been a rough few years, but: Watch Shea Langeliers progressing to a potential All-Star should be fun. Cristian Pache can get by. Yankees fans could regret the day they were included Ken Waldichuk in the Frankie Montas deal.
Mariners: They made the playoffs!
After a 21-year drought in the late season, they did it. They even made it out of a round! And the best part: it’s not a fluke. This is just the beginning.
Braves: So much young talent. This much!
Remember, you would have considered the Braves to be full of young talent before they had the top two vote getters in the NL Rookie of the Year ballot this year. How many of these guys are left?
Marlins: Your first Cy Young winner!
Sandy Alcantara is now the first Marlins pitcher to have a Cy Young trophy on his shelf. And it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the 27-year-old added another one at some point.
Mets: The atmosphere is back.
The Mets didn’t end their season quite the way they had hoped, and as many (including me) thought they would. But the LOLMets days are long behind them. This team is smart, resource-packed and deeply committed to winning. They had the best record in New York City last year. That may continue for a while.
Phillies: They went to the World Series!
What an incredible run that was. You haven’t imagined it. It really happened.
Brewers: There are so many pitchers here.
You heard the same thing Corbin Burnes rumors the rest of us have. If not traded, this staff is stacked. But when he does… this staff is still stacked! Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta are rotational buttresses, and Devin Williams anchors a bullpen that ended up being pretty solid post Josh Hader trading. Thanks to their pitching, the Brewers aren’t going anywhere.
Cubs: They’ve stopped allowing runs.
Perhaps the Cubs will be open-market, but even if they aren’t, there are reasons for excitement. Thanks likes from Marcus Stroman and Adrian Sampsonthey had a 3.30 team ERA after the All-Star break, who placed fifth in the Majors. In addition, there is a group of prospects (led by outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong) which will arrive very soon. With that talent and an opportunity to add via free agency, this dip shouldn’t last forever. It shouldn’t even take long.
D-backs: Corbin Caroll is your signature star.
They haven’t really had one since Paul Goldschmidt was traded, and Carroll seems to be one.
Dodgers: They’re the Dodgers!
The postseason was a bummer… again. But any baseball team would trade places with the Dodgers in one second.
Giants: A smart front office is about to make some noise.
Do you know how smart they were two years ago when they found talent in the most unlikely places? Now they feel they have something to prove.
Padres: They beat the Dodgers!
Sure, there are three MVP candidates on this team next year. But it’s okay to enjoy that Dodgers NLDS win, you all deserved it.
Rockies: Coors is going to be a beautiful place to watch Chris Bryant hit 40 home runs.
Incredibly, Bryant failed to hit a single homer at Coors Field during his injury-shortened 2022 campaign. But they will come. In bushes. Soon.