It’s Thanksgiving! Gobble gobble, everyone. It’s a bit of a sports writing trope, dating back to the turn of the century (no, not that, the previous one turn of the century) when all the newspaper columnists sat down and wrote about which sports figures they should be thankful for that Thanksgiving season. We’re not immune to the charm of the Thanksgiving column trope. There is a lot to be thankful for!
So, as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, here’s something every team needs to be thankful for. Whether your team is a champion or a cellar dweller, there’s something to hold onto in gratitude.
Blue Jays: Vladdy Jr.
We’ve all been paralyzed by Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani over the past couple of years, and for good reason, but let’s not forget that the Blue Jays have a young superstar who almost won his to possess MVP in 2021, has a smile that can light up the sky, has a swing that will send fireworks from the sky, and oh yeah, he’s the son of a Hall of Famer who’s also one of the funniest players in baseball’s recent season . Don’t take Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for granted, folks.
Orioles: The fun is just beginning.
Look, success is not a linear concept. Take a few steps forward and then a step or two back. Break through and then struggle to make the next jump. Your young players are just not doing well Exactly as you wanted. It won’t be all rainbows and sunshine from now on. But one thing is clearly true: Last year was proof that the worst is behind Orioles fans. This is a competitive team with a plethora of young talent that isn’t going anywhere for a long time. You did it, Orioles. You deserve it.
Rays: The talent always keeps coming.
Remember when the Rays were destroyed for trade this 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 straight season. They have a lot of questions to answer this off-season. Guess what? They will probably answer them. They always do.
Red Sox: Fenway is immortal.
You always know that things are not right great in Boston when the “be thankful” thing ends up being “Fenway,” but seriously: There’s nothing in the world like Fenway. You’ll see photos of the snow on Fenway this offseason and they’ll remind you of what you’re missing…and while 2022 has been tough, we’ve learned that this team bounces back very quickly.
Yankees: They won 99 games last year and came within one round of their first World Series in 13 years.
Yankees fans were so frustrated at the end of the playoffs, and so nervous about Aaron Judge, that you need to say it out loud once in a while to remind them.
Guardians: That building can get loud again.
Those of us who remember how full and wild Cleveland and its stadium were in their perpetually sold-out ’90s incarnation reveled in the wall of sound that venue produced in their ALDS against the Yankees. Those fans are still there, and they’re still awesome. Not all franchises can tell.
Royals: a transition that seems to lead in the right direction.
The Royals have made a lot of changes this offseason, and while it’s certainly up in the air how they’ll pan out, it sure looks like they’re pointing in the direction of a franchise that’s had a good look at itself and is ready to try something new. . When things don’t work out, really, that’s all a fan could ask for.
Tigers: the page has been turned.
Almost everything that could have gone wrong went wrong for the Tigers last year. This team will go through some tough times in 2023, sure, but there’s reason to believe things will get better. Riley Greene’s emergence in the second half is a good place to start.
Gemini: the team and the front office don’t give up.
Many teams, especially those in a small market like Minnesota, would pack up and start over after losing 89 games, like the Twins did in 2021. That’s not what the Twins have done, even signing possibly the best free agent on the market, in Carlos Correa (who withdrew and returned without a club). He didn’t take them to the playoffs, and now that player is gone, but he talks about motivation: this team is not going to sit around.
White Sox: There are still so many young talents here.
Last season was such a disappointment that you can almost forget that the White Sox, in addition to their solid rotation, have so many great under-30 hitters: Tim Anderson (29), Yoán Moncada (27), Luis Robert (25), Eloy Jimenez (26), Andrew Vaughn (24). There’s no baseball team that doesn’t want it.
Angels: Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are still here.
Look, it was pretty tough for a while last year. But every fan of every other baseball team gets excited when he sees the Angels come to town because it means they get to see these two play. And Angels fans can watch them every night!
Astros: They just won the World Series.
No need to complicate this.
Athletics: There are some pieces that could be part of the next good A team.
Yes, it’s been a rough couple of years, but: Watching Shea Langelier’s progress into an All-Star potential should be fun. Cristian Pache could come. Yankees fans may rue the day they included Ken Waldichuk in the Frankie Montas deal.
Mariners: They made the playoffs!
After 21 years of postseason droughts, they’ve done it. They even got out of a round! And the best part: It’s not a fluke. This is just the beginning.
Rangers: There’s more and more good stuff to come.
It could have been argued that signing Corey Seager and Marcus Semien was a bit ambitious last year, but there are far worse things you can say about your team than “they’re ambitious.”
Braves: Lots of young talent. So much!
Remember, you would have considered the Braves full of young talent Before this year they had the top two vote-getters in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. How many more of these guys are there?
Marlins: Your First Cy Young Winner!
Sandy Alcantara is now the first Marlins pitcher with a Cy Young trophy on his shelf. And it sure wouldn’t surprise anyone if the 27-year-old adds another one at some point.
Mets: The vibes are back.
The Mets didn’t finish their season as well as they hoped and many (including me) thought they would. But the days of the LOLMets are long gone. This team is smart, resourceful and very committed to winning. They had the best record in New York last year. It might stay that way for a while.
Citizens: The Padres trade package was super nice.
Yes, sad to see Juan Soto gone. But CJ Abrams and Robert Hassell III will be essential pieces of this team for many years to come.
Phillies: They went to the World Series!
What an incredible ride it was. You didn’t imagine it. It really happened.
Brewers: There are so many pitchers here.
You’ve heard the same rumors about Corbin Burnes that we all have. If not traded, this club is stacked. But if he does… this stick is still stacked! Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta are the mainstays of the rotation, and Devin Williams is the anchor of a bullpen that, in the end, was pretty solid after the trade of Josh Hader. Thanks to their pitch, the Brewers are going nowhere.
Cardinals: After one of the big byes in recent baseball memory, the Cardinals can do it again.
Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina came out gloriously. Now Adam Wainwright can do the same. Hopefully a second round of the playoffs this time around.
Cubs: They stopped allowing racing.
Perhaps the Cubs will be active in the free agent market, but even if they aren’t, there is cause for excitement. Thanks to the likes of Marcus Stroman and Adrian Sampson, they had a 3.30 team ERA after the All-Star break, which ranked fifth in the Majors. In addition, there is a group of prospects (led by outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong) who will be arriving very soon. With that talent and the ability to add via free agency, this dip shouldn’t last forever. It shouldn’t even last long.
Rossi: Joey Votto is a sweetheart.
You do not need social media to know how wonderful Votto is. But, you know, it doesn’t hurt.
D-back: Corbin Carroll is your signature star.
They haven’t really had one since trading Paul Goldschmidt, and Carroll appears to be.
Dodgers: It’s the Dodgers!
The postseason was a disappointment… again. But every baseball team would trade places with the Dodgers in one seconds.
Giants: A smart front office is about to make some noise.
Do you know how smart they were two years ago when they were finding talent in the most unlikely of 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 have fun with that Dodgers NLDS win, you all earned it.
Rockies: Coors will be a great place to see Kris Bryant hit 40 homers.
Incredibly, Bryant did not hit a single homer at Coors Field during his injury-shortened 2022 season. But they will come. In clusters. Soon.