Steroids are now just as synonymous with baseball as hot dogs or cold beer. It is an unfortunate era of the game that fans of all ages must accept. Are the use of performance-enhancing drugs terrible for the body and a form of cheating? Yes, and this country should work diligently to combat their growth. But steroids are a part of why the game of baseball returned to the nation’s heart after a work stoppage and no World Series in 1994.
2013 Spring Training camps are open and many players will compete against teammates for jobs before taking on other baseball teams in April. Here are some position battles to keep an eye on this spring.
Examining baseball's growing number of swing-and-miss hitters
Brian Cashman called it a “perfect storm.” CC Sabathia said it was “embarrassing.” The New York tabloids weren’t as kind: "Dear Yankees, We don’t date losers! Signed New Yorkers" read the back of the New York Post.
Fantasy baseball team names inspired by Old Hoss, Dick Pole and Clown Questions, Bro.
Pitchers and catchers have reported, the World Baseball Classic is around the corner and fantasy baseball season is nearly here. The weather is heating up and it's time to name your fantasy baseball team. You could always go with one of the classics like Chico's Bail Bonds, Springfield Isotopes, New York Knights or Myrtle Beach Mermen. But you might as well go with one of these 75 funny fantasy baseball team names.
Arbitration hearings this year after 133 MLB players filed. All 133 players reached an agreement before yesterday's deadline. This marks the first year since MLB began the arbitration process in 1974 that there have been no hearings.
What are American's favorite All-Star events to watch?
Another lackluster NBA All-Star weekend wrapped up in Houston Sunday night. The dunk contest isn't what it used to be and the game features superstars playing some sport vaguely akin to professional basketball. But on the surface, the NBA All-Star game gets rave reviews from die-hard fans and celebrity hoopsters alike.
The Rockies and the Marlins are the only two franchises without a division title.
Beginning on Sept. 16, 2007, the Rockies went on an incredible run. Buried, six and a half games out of the race with 14 games to play, Colorado won 13 of 14 to force a one-game playoff with the Padres for the division title. After winning that game in dramatic fashion in 13 innings, Colorado swept the Phillies 3-0 in the NLDS and disposed of Arizona 4-0 in the NLCS, which totaled 21 wins in 22 games to reach the World Series.
While the Rockies have lost 90 or more games just four times, they’ve finished in the upper half of their division just three times in 19 seasons.
The Rockies drew more than 4 million fans in their inaugural season as fans flocked to Mile High Stadium to watch their new team.
29. Washington Nationals
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The only postseason appearance prior to 2012 came in 1981 in Montreal. The Expos finished first for half of the 1981 season, earning a spot in the playoffs. The first place standing in 1994 was all for naught. The Expos/Nationals have finished last 12 times.
The move from Montreal to Washington breathed badly needed life into the franchise. The lowest attendance in seven seasons in Washington was matched just five times in 36 seasons in Canada.
The Expos had eight different starting pitchers on their first eight Opening Days from 1969-76. Steve Rogers was the first pitcher to make two Opening Day starts for the club.
The Montreal/Washington franchise has won just one postseason series in its history. On Oct. 11, 1981, Steve Rogers twirled a 6-hit shutout to defeat the Phillies at the Vet in Game 5 of the best-of-five NLDS.
28. Tampa Bay Rays
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The Rays’ winning percentage is considerably worse than any other team, but two division titles in the Yankees’ division grab my attention.
9 = 8
The motto that manager Joe Maddon introduced in spring training in 2008. Nine guys playing hard, the right way, for nine innings would equal one of the eight teams in the postseason.
For 10 seasons the Devil Rays finished in last place nine times, beating out the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004 by three games. The following season the team dropped Devil from its name and won its first division title.
The Rays’ all-time winning percentage. San Diego’s .463 ranks 29th.
27. Seattle Mariners
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Even after developing Ken Griffey, Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson, the M’s have no World Series appearances.
Behind AL MVP and Rookie of the Year Ichiro Suzuki and the hitting exploits of second baseman Bret Boone, the Mariners won an American League record 116 games in 2001.
Seattle joins the Cubs and the Washington Nationals as the only franchises without a World Series appearance during this era.
The Mariners played for 14 seasons and chewed up nine managers before enjoying their first winning season in 1991, finishing 83-79, good for fifth place in the seven-team AL West.
26. Chicago Cubs
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The awesomeness of Wrigley Field keeps the Cubs from threatening the bottom. Five division titles helps, but the Cubs have won just one postseason series.
Day baseball, the seventh inning stretch, views of Lake Michigan and the ivy.
There are nine other clubs without a World Series win during the expansion era, but only one — the Cubs — has a drought of more than 100 years.
The night the lights came on at Wrigley Field. Rick Sutcliffe was on the mound and threw the first pitch to the Phillies’ Phil Bradley. Bradley homered to left on the fourth pitch, and Morganna the Kissing Bandit made a brief appearance, but was intercepted before she could reach her victim, Ryne Sandberg in the batter’s box. The Cubs’ second baseman homered, but it was all for naught. After a two-hour, 10-minute rain delay in the fourth inning with the Cubs leading 3-1, the game was called. So the first official night game at Wrigley was a 6-4 Cubs win over the Mets on 8/9/88.
25. San Diego Padres
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From brown and yellow, to orange and blue to camo unis to honor San Diego’s military heritage, there has been very little winning. Arizona has as many AL West titles in 15 seasons as San Diego has in 44.
Tony Gwynn, Mr. Padre, won eight batting titles, amassed 3,141 hits and batted .338 during his 20 seasons with the club.
Of the four expansion teams in 1969, the Padres are the only one not to win at least 65 games in any of their first six seasons. The Royals won at least 65 in each of their first six years, while the Pilots/Brewers missed the total once, as did the Expos.
In their first 44 seasons, the Padres have finished in last place in the NL West 38.6 percent of the time.
24. Miami Marlins
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It’s been all or nothing for the Marlins, mostly nothing. The club has never won a division title and has been to the postseason only twice, but somehow has two World Series titles.
The Marlins have ridden hot starting pitchers to two World Series titles. In 1997, Livan Hernandez won four games in the NLCS and World Series, earning MVP honors in both series. It was Josh Beckett in 2003 who led the Marlins to their second title. The Marlins won both of Beckett’s starts in the NLCS, including a two-hit shutout, then he defeated the Yankees with a shutout to clinch the World Series and capture the MVP award.
South Florida fans have never really warmed up to the team. The Marlins have finished in the bottom three in NL in attendance every season since 1999. And with the franchise’s third major fire sale this winter (with 1997 and 2003 being the others), the club isn’t endearing itself to the community for 2013.
The Marlins drew more than 3,000,000 fans during their inaugural season in 1993. They haven’t come within 700,000 of that number since then.
23. Milwaukee Brewers
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Moving from Seattle to Milwaukee and from the American League to the National League doesn’t do much for tradition. This is the only franchise to play in as many as four divisions. (AL West 1969-71, AL East 1972-93, AL Central 1994-97, NL Central 1998-present)
In 1981 and 1982, the Brewers swept the MVP and Cy Young awards in the American League. Rollie Fingers won both awards in 1981, then Robin Yount and Pete Vuckovich took the honors in 1982.
Only three managers who managed a full season have led the Brewers to multiple winning seasons. Tom Trebelhorn did it three times, George Bamberger twice and Ron Roenicke just completed two winning campaigns.
Hall of Famers Robin Yount and Paul Molitor were in the starting lineup together for 11 Opening Days.
22. Texas Rangers
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It’s easy to rank a recent back-to-back pennant winner much higher, but only the Padres, Rays and Mariners have worse winning percentages.
The Rangers were one strike away from winning the World Series — on two occasions — before a pair of miraculous comebacks by St. Louis in 2011.
The Rangers averaged just 8,538 fans a game during their first two seasons in Arlington, only about 500 more than their last season in Washington, D.C.
First as the Washington Senators then as the Texas Rangers, the franchise played 35 seasons (1961-95) without reaching the postseason.
21. Houston Astros
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There was little to celebrate in Houston before the Killer Bs (Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio and Lance Berkman) showed up.
After losing Games 6 and 7 to St. Louis in the NLCS the year before, NLCS MVP Roy Oswalt twirled a gem for seven innings as the Astros defeated the Cardinals in Game 6 of the 2005 NLCS to win the National League pennant.
After topping 100 losses for the first time ever in 2011 with 106, Houston followed that with 107 losses in 2012, its farewell season in the National League.
For 10 consecutive seasons from 1975-84, the running Astros had more stolen bases than home runs.
20. Cleveland Indians
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All seven division titles have come since 1995. Prior to that, the Tribe never won as many as 90 in this era. Cleveland earns points for selling out 455 consecutive games to open Progressive Field (then Jacobs Field).
Behind the pitching of veteran Orel Hershiser, who was named ALCS MVP, the Indians defeated the Mariners to advance to the 1995 World Series after winning 100 games in a season shortened by a labor dispute.
Since 1961, the Indians have never had an MVP, and Cleveland pitchers have won just three Cy Young awards. Of all the franchises that have been around that long, only Houston (one MVP, two Cy Young winners) has so few major award winners during this era.
The Indians scored 1,009 runs in 1999, the only time in this era that a team has amassed 1,000 runs.
19. Kansas City Royals
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The Royals were a wildly successful expansion team through the 1970s, but inequitable economics have caused tough times in K.C.
In the late 1970s, George Brett blossomed into one of the best third basemen ever to play the game. He quickly became the most popular player in Kansas City — and still is.
From 2004-07 the Royals had a run of last-place finishes in which they averaged just 61 wins and 34.5 games out of first place.
All seven Kansas City postseason appearances came within a 10-year span from 1976-85.
18. Arizona Diamondbacks
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The D-Backs enjoyed more friendly expansion rules than their predecessors. Arizona won its division in only its second season, and the Diamondbacks were World Series champs in their fourth year.
Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson dominated National League hitters in 2001-02. They combined to win 45 games each season as Johnson won the Cy Young award both years and Schilling was runner-up.
After five straight winning seasons, which included three division titles, the D’backs sank to an all-time low with just 51 wins in 2004.
Players drafted by the Diamondbacks in 1996, two years before the club fielded its first major league team.
17. Toronto Blue Jays
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In the early 1990s, the Skydome was the place to be. More than 4 million fans enjoyed back-to-back World Series wins. But there have been just five postseason appearances total.
Hall of Famer Dave Winfield’s two-run double down the left field line off Charlie Leibrandt of the Braves in the 11th inning of Game 6 broke a 2-2 tie and provided the winning margin for the Blue Jays’ first World Series title. Toronto fans have certainly not forgotten Joe Carter’s walk-off home run to win the 1993 Series for a Canadian repeat.
Toronto began its history with five consecutive last-place finishes in the AL East. The Jays have finished last three times since.
Hall of Fame player representing the Toronto Blue Jays. That would be second baseman Roberto Alomar.
16. Chicago White Sox
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The White Sox own a .507 winning percentage and have 10 90-win seasons on their resume — but only one World Series appearance.
In their only World Series appearance of this era, the Sox swept the Astros in 2005.
The shorts and big collars. While many teams were stretching the boundaries of uniform designs in the 1970s, the White Sox broke out shirts with wide collars and shorts. Not good.
The Big Hurt, Frank Thomas, had eight straight seasons with more than 100 runs, RBIs and walks from 1991-98. He added a ninth such season in 2000.
15. New York Mets
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Few teams have had as miserable of a run as the Mets did in the 1960s, and only seven teams have a lower winning percentage. But only seven teams have won more postseason series in this era.
During Davey Johnson’s six-year tenure as manager, the Mets averaged 96 wins a season, won two division titles and finished second four times. Prior to that, the team had a string of seven years of finishing last or next-to-last.
New York is the only National League franchise that has been in existence since 1962 that cannot claim an MVP.
The Mets have lost 100 games six times. Only the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers have as many 100-loss seasons.
14. Los Angeles Angels
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Five of their eight division titles and their only World Series win have been under Mike Scioscia’s watch, which began in 2000.
The Angels won their only World Series in 2002 behind the pitching of rookie John Lackey in Game 7. Oh, and there was the flame-throwing 19-year-old Francisco Rodriguez, who was called up in September.
Three promising stars had their lives ended prematurely by tragedy while members of the Angels. Mike Miley, the team’s first pick in 1974, gave up his senior season as LSU’s quarterback to play shortstop for the Angels. He died in a car crash in January 1977. Lyman Bostock was murdered during a road trip in Chicago in August 1978. In 2009, just hours after Nick Adenhart pitched six shutout innings to earn the first win of his career, the young pitcher was killed in a car accident when the car in which he was a passenger was struck by a drunk driver.
The five best seasons in franchise history have come with Scioscia at the helm.
13. Pittsburgh Pirates
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In the process of setting the North American team sports record of 20 consecutive losing seasons, the Bucs have been in a free fall.
The Pirates defeated the Baltimore Orioles in two Game 7s to win the 1971 and 1979 World Series. Both Game 7 wins came on the road. Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell were World Series MVPs.
The Pirates have yet to finish in the upper half of the NL Central in the 2000s. Even with a five-game lead in early September over Milwaukee for third place this past summer, the Bucs couldn’t end the streak, finishing fourth, four games behind the Brewers.
The Bucs won five division titles in six years from 1970-75.
12. Detroit Tigers
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The Tigers are the owners of three 100-win seasons and four 100-loss seasons, including the 119-loss debacle in 2003. The double-play combo of Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker became one of the best-known in baseball from the late 1970s into the 1990s.
From 1978-88, the Tigers enjoyed 11 consecutive winning seasons.
The Tigers went 18 seasons without any postseason play between 1987 and 2006. During that stretch, they had just three winning seasons and lost 103 or more games four times.
Since expansion, the Tigers have had three pitchers (Denny McLain, Willie Hernandez and Justin Verlander) named AL MVP.
11. Minnesota Twins
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The Twins won the first two American League West titles (1969-70), and since 1987 the franchise has had just two managers, won two World Series and eight division crowns. Fans in Minneapolis were treated to a new team in 1961 without having to endure the pains of an expansion team.
Kirby Puckett’s 14th-inning home run to end Game 6 of the 1991 World Series will always be etched in Twins’ fans’ memories.
The Twins suffered through eight straight losing seasons from 1993-2000, topping out with 78 wins in 1996.
Rod Carew’s batting average in 1977 as he fell short in a quest for .400. He was hitting .411 on July 1.
10. Philadelphia Phillies
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If this were 1975, the Phillies most certainly would be near the bottom of the National League teams. But they are one of only eight teams with double-digit division titles, with five of their 11 coming from 2007-11.
MVP and Cy. Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton led the Phillies to three straight NL East titles from 1976-78, and to two World Series appearances in 1980 and 1983.
At 47-107 in 1961, the Phillies finished last in the National League standings, 17 games behind the Cubs, and last in attendance.
Opening Day starts for Hall of Famer Steve Carlton in a Phillies uniform. The only season he was not the Opening Day starter was 1976, when manager Danny Ozark chose Jim Kaat instead.
9. Boston Red Sox
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Red Sox Nation finally witnessed the reverse of the curse in 2004. The Sox have never won 100 (in this era), and 12 teams have more than their seven division titles. But the .531 winning percentage is third.
With all their success and all the close calls, the Red Sox finally delivered in 2004 with a World Series sweep and repeated that sweep in 2007.
Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone.
Consecutive postseason wins in 2004 that brought Boston its first World Series title since 1918. The Red Sox overcame a three-games-to-none deficit to the Yankees in the ALCS, then proceeded to sweep the Cardinals in the World Series.
8. Cincinnati Reds
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If this were 1980, the Reds would rival the Yankees, but the Marge Schott Era and tough economics have kept this proud franchise from reaching the top. Few traditions match their Opening Day parade.
The Big Red Machine of the 1970s became the face of the National League. From 1970-77, four Reds players were honored with six of the eight MVP awards.
Even though the Reds had the best overall record in the NL West in 1981, they did not make the playoffs due to the split-season format caused by the players strike that wiped out more than a third of the season. The next two seasons Cincinnati finished with the worst record in the division.
Number of players manager Sparky Anderson sent to the plate for the entire 1976 World Series, a sweep of the Yankees.
7. San Francisco Giants
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Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal made for a fun first decade in San Francisco, but their presence led to just one World Series appearance. The Giants have been eliminated in Game 7 three times — once in the NLCS, and twice in the World Series. Oh yeah, then there’s the two World Series wins in the past three years.
The Giants have a way of being in contention. From 1997-2004, they played just 11 games that had no bearing on the postseason. During that time, the Giants won three division titles and a wild card.
PEDs. Both real and innuendo. The Giants have had two players suspended for PED use — one of them twice — another caught with syringes, and the ever-present speculation about Barry Bonds.
Seasons with 90 wins or more. Only two organizations can claim more.
6. Oakland A’s
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The four world championships tie the Dodgers for third, and the A’s are no stranger to the postseason. However, when they’re not winning, they are really bad. The Athletics have four 100-loss seasons, and their .504 winning percentage ranks 10th. Franchise movement from Kansas City doesn’t help.
The players fought, they despised their owner with a vengeance, one manager left over a dispute with management, the players grew mustaches for bonuses and somehow found a way to win three World Series in a row from 1972-74. Oakland defeated the Big Red Machine in 1972, the mediocre Mets in 1973 and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1974.
In 1979, the A’s played 21 games in front of crowds of fewer than 2,000 fans. The low-water mark was 653 on April 17. The sparse crowd was treated to some excitement. After an intentional walk to Wayne Gross to load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Jim Essian singled home Mitchell Page off Seattle starter Odell Jones for a walk-off win. More noise was made on the field than in the stands, I’m sure.
Seasons in Kansas City from 1961-67 when the A’s averaged just 65 wins per year. The move to Oakland in 1968 immediately yielded results with nine straight winning seasons including five straight division titles (1971-75) and three straight World Series titles.
5. Baltimore Orioles
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From recent memory, this ranking is too high. But the Orioles won three of the six World Series in which they played, and only two franchises have more than their five 100-win seasons.
The Orioles, behind stellar pitching including a shutout by then 20-year-old Jim Palmer over Sandy Koufax, stunned the heavily favored Los Angeles Dodgers in a World Series sweep in 1966. That would be Koufax’s last appearance in a major league game.
Led by managers Cal Ripken Sr. and Frank Robinson with Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray, the Orioles established a dubious mark of losing their first 21 games in 1988.
Hall of Famers who played primarily for the Orioles during this era: Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Frank Robinson, Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray – plus manager Earl Weaver.
4. Atlanta Braves
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After a miserable few years in the late 1980s, the Braves had an incredible run from 1991 to 2005, winning their division every season played to completion. They played in four of five World Series, but won only a single title.
With a corps of young pitchers and the guiding hand of Bobby Cox, the Braves abruptly reversed their course in 1991 by going from last to first, which began a streak that would last until 2005.
In 1996, the Braves took a 2-0 lead in the World Series over the Yankees with Atlanta set to host Games 3, 4 and 5. The Braves managed to lose four straight, which ended their quest to repeat as world champs.
Average number of wins for the Braves from 2002-05, but they were 0-4 in playoff series during that time.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
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The men in blue are no strangers to October baseball having played in the postseason in the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and ’00s. However, they failed to win a postseason game in the ’90s and haven’t appeared in a World Series since 1988. Los Angeles also produces Rookies of the Year. From 1979-82 the Dodgers had four NL Rookies of the Year, then had another five in a row from 1992-96.
Fans in Los Angeles love their Dodgers. Since 1961, the club has led the National League in attendance 26 times. They were the first team to reach 3,000,000 in a single season, which was in 1978.
The infamous ownership tenure of Frank McCourt and the ugly divorce with his wife Jamie threatened to tear apart the organization. As the proceedings came to a head in 2011, Dodgers attendance dropped below 3 million for the first time in 11 years.
The Dodgers have the second-best winning percentage behind the Yankees since 1961.
2. St. Louis Cardinals
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The Redbirds have the second-most appearances in the World Series and are runners-up with five championships in the expansion era.
During this era, iconic Hall of Famers Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Ozzie Smith called St. Louis home, as did manager Whitey Herzog and future Hall of Famers Tony La Russa and Albert Pujols.
The Cardinals went without a World Series title in both the 1970s and 1990s.
Time the Cardinals finished in last place, 1990, during this era.
1. New York Yankees
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Whether it’s championships, tradition, stability, or just about any criteria you want to consider, the Yankees are on top. During the 52 years of the expansion era, the Yankees have won nine of the 15 World Series in which they’ve appeared, own 21 first-place finishes, and have won 90 or more games in more than half of the seasons during this era. With 26 playoff appearances, they have made the postseason half of the time, even though it seems like they make it every year.
The men in pinstripes have won 31 postseason series, more than any other franchise has played since 1961.
There isn’t much, but from 1965-75 the Yanks missed the postseason every year. There also was no postseason baseball in the Bronx from 1982 through 1994.
Average number of wins for the Yankees since 1996, the first season Joe Torre showed up as manager.
Ranking the 30 MLB franchises from top to bottom over the expansion era (1961-present) can be a dicey exercise. Other than the Yankees being at the top, two through 30 creates more debate than clear answers. But that doesn’t stop me (although it probably should) from having a go at this. Criteria? Winning is critically important, certainly, both in the postseason and consistently during the regular season. Winning division and league titles is weighed heavily. I also considered extreme seasons — winning 100 games earns serious points, as losing 100 will knock you down the rankings.
Here are the biggest baseball stories to watch as players prep for the season
Pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training camps in Florida and Arizona. Here are a few stories to watch as MLB players sharpen their skills in preparation for the 2013 season, which begins for every team April 1.
Examining how the first-round picks in the 2003 baseball draft fared
Every fan knows that the annual MLB Draft can be an absolute crapshoot. It can be surprising when a first round produces a surfeit of big-league talent. Of the top 30 picks in the 2003 MLB Draft, 21 reached the majors, and 17 are still active big leaguers. Add four supplemental first-round picks still receiving checks for playing ball, along with late-round gems like Ian Kinsler and Jonny Venters, and you have one pretty productive draft.
An Orlando basketball organization combed through nearly 5,000 fan-submitted nicknames in a 1986 naming process. The group went with Magic over other options like the "Heat," "Tropics and the "Juice." Maybe it's because the team's superstars always want to play elsewhere or the extensive number of stars in the logo, but this nickname conjures up more images of Doug Henning than NBA Championships. That is what happens when you let the fans decide anything.
9. Philadelphia Phillies
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If it weren't for such a storied history, generally awesome uniforms (especially, the blue ones) and a killer mascot, the Phillies might be the lamest sports nickname of all-time. Phillies is short for, you guessed it, the Philadelphia Philadelphias. Yes, this franchise is the oldest unchanged nickname in all of pro sports (1890), but it doesn't scream intimidating by any stretch.
8. Music Genres
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I love nasty blues guitar riffs and chaotic jazz brass bands, but I like them on my turntable not in the Stanley Cup Finals or the NBA Championship. The "Jazz" at least made sense in New Orleans but couldn't be further from relevant in the state of Utah. Additionally, the blues are inherently depressing (much like the hockey team) and musical notes certainly do not instill fear into the opponent's heart.
7. Toronto Maple Leafs
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It rolls off the tongue, the blue and white color scheme is classy and very cool and the Maple Leaf is front and center on the Canadian flag. But could anything be less scary than something that dies every year and ends up in the neighborhood garbage can? All of this from a franchise that hasn't even played for a Stanley Cup since 1966-67. At least, they didn't go with The Wanderers.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers
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This team has a rich history of success and a storied tradition of some of the game's greatest names. But what exactly is a Dodger? The name stems from the busy Brooklyn city streets and the common phrase "trolley-dodgers" given to those literally dodging trolleys in the New York borough. To quote Patches O'Houlihan, "if you can dodge a wrench... you can hit a baseball?" Well, I am paraphrasing.
5. Cleveland Browns
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The Browns are the biggest draw in a city that has been without a championship of any kind for over sixty years. Maybe if they went with a more inspiring nickname like a terrifying jungle cat (they were actually named the Panthers for two months) or at least an ornery bird instead of... a color? Yes, the name comes from legendary football pioneer Paul Brown but the logo is essentially a brown sheet of paper? Even Paul Brown himself didn't want the nickname. Enough said.
4. Brooklyn Nets
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It's not a person, an animal, a historic idea, symbol or logo. It's simply an inanimate object that hangs on both ends of the court. Does Brooklyn Backboards sound any better because that is essentially what the New Jersey-turned-Brookyn franchise is nicknamed. There is a reason this team's mascots include Duncan The Dragon, Sly the Silver Fox and now BrooklyKnight — who is one letter away from being a porn star (do your web searching at home, please).
3. Denver Nuggets
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The Denver basketball franchise was originally named the Larks after the Colorado state bird and the Rockets after original owner Bill Ringsby's trucking company. When the ABA team moved to the NBA it obviously had to rename itself. The fans picked Nuggets as the team name after the long history of gold prospecting in the state. So a small rock (okay, a gold rock) is what fans in the Mile High city root for each night. Considering the state's and NBA's reputation for recreational marijuana use, it's apropos that their team is named the Nuggets.
2. Any type of sock
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The Chicago White Sox. The Boston Red Sox. The Cincinnati Red Stockings. Winter jackets, work boots and Under Armour might be the toughest articles of clothing and even they sound super lame. But a mispelled sweaty glove made for your feet? Really? It's about as intimidating as a mitten or a diaper. The Red Stockings were smart enough to drop the stockings early in the going and have excelled as the Reds for decades. But the Chicago White Sox — formerly the White Stockings — take the cake. Not only are they named after one of the nastiest pieces of clothing, but the baseball team that hails from the South Side of the Windy City doesn't even wear white socks. They are black.
1. Anaheim Ducks
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Executives at Walt Disney would call it "synergy." Sports fans call it garbage. And it's why the Anahiem Mighty Ducks had to eventually drop the "mighty" from their name. Yes, the powers that be at Disney founded the Ducks franchise in 1993 and named it after their successful hockey movie about a rag-tag youth hockey club led by coach Emilio Estevez. The duck goalie mask may have looked mean, however, this team was anything but until a shocking Stanley Cup run in 2006-07.