MLB 2011: Where Are All the Sucky Teams?

by M.C. Antil on May 3, 2011

Here we are just over a month into the baseball season, the time of year when it’s always been possible to pore over the Major League Baseball standings on any given morning, pick out a team or two in each league and say, “Wow. They suck.”

For years, you could point to where a couple of teams were in the standings, where they were talent-wise, age-wise and/or management-wise and find yourself incapable of getting past their general air of suckiness.

And that’s been particularly true these past two decades, when it was so easy to pinpoint the game’s two suckiest teams even a first-year suckologist could do it.

To determine the two teams that sucked beyond all reasonable expectation for  suck, one had to look no further than the modern-day standard-bearers, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals, everyone’s go-to franchises for things that go suck in the night; the two teams that for over two decades carried the banner for suckheads, suckmeisters and suckinistas the world over, and did so by sucking in a way that few teams in history have ever sucked before. 

And that’s not to mention the Kingpins of Suck; the Cleveland Indians.  For years, when one sought out world-class suckage on the shores of Lake Erie, one had to look no further than the eternally sucky Indians, a team which, outside of a few stretches of general non-suckishness, has been a veritable Suck-O-Rama; a team so sucky for so long that it dumped on five generations of Tribe fans a lifetime’s worth of lake-effect suck.

But that was then. 

Now it’s 2011, and the season is five weeks old.  Look around baseball this year.  Look at the standings.  Watch some games.  Suddenly you realize something remarkable has happened.  For the first time since God knows when, nobody sucks. 

Nobody. 

Not a single team.

Oh, there are some clubs that aren’t real good.  Or not playing very well.  Or at least not playing well yet. 

Like the White Sox.

But none of them sucks.  Not really.  At least not in that woefully comical, blooper-reel, ’62 Met sort of way.

Certainly the Pirates don’t suck.  No team that has budding young talents as Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata could ever suck, much less be boring.

And the Royals don’t suck.  In fact, given all the talent they’ve got percolating in places like Omaha and Northwest Arkansas, it’s safe to say they Royals’ days of sucking may be over for the next decade.

The Cleveland Indians have been a veritable Suck-O-Rama, a team so sucky for so long that it dumped on five generations of Tribe fans a lifetime’s worth of lake-effect suck.

And not only does the Tribe not suck, they’re in first place.  What’s more, their best players are guys like Shin Soo Choo, Grady Sizemore, Carlos Santana, Asdrubal Cabrera and Chris Perez.  I’m sorry; those guys don’t suck. In fact, they’re the polar opposite of suck.

Maybe a case could be made the Astros suck, but my sense is that this year they’re merely sucklets, and won’t take the training wheels off and suck in a grown-up way until next year. 

And while the Diamondbacks, Padres and Mariners aren’t very good, they certainly don’t suck.  Arizona hits too well to suck, and the Pads and M’s pitch too well. 

I don’t care how strong a team is this year, no manager is his right mind is going to want to travel to Petco to play Bud Black’s club in a must-win series, not with that bullpen of his. Or face Seattle whenever Eric Wedge sends out either Felix Hernandez or Michael Pineda.

Frankly, as much as I hate to admit it (because I love the way they play the game and how they continue to get the most out of their limited resources), but of all teams that have the potential to really suck this year, the Minnesota Twins could just be the suck-likeliest. 

The Twins’ margin for error has always been paper thin, but now with Joe Mauer and Delmon Young down, Justin Morneau and Francisco Liriano battling through career-threatening injuries, and a bullpen that’s being held together with duct tape and baling wire, honesty compels me to admit this might just be the Twins’ year to drop all pretense of competitiveness, let their hair down and simply choose to suck.

(Take a moment.)

Nah.  Not going to happen.  They’re the Twins, remember?

See?  See what I mean?  No one sucks.  No one

In fact, you could probably make the argument that in any one of three divisions — the AL East, AL Central and NL West (and maybe even the AL West) — the last place team could actually finish with a .500 or better record this year.

And to a long-time suckologist like myself, believe me, that sucks. 

I guess all I can do is throw up my hands and paraphrase the great Casey Stengel: Can’t anyone here suck at this game?

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