Another week, another episode of ranking teams in a completely serious and scientific way. If your team isn't high on the list, it's because the field of mathematics is a spiteful one, and this algorithm hates you and your team.
This week's list is based on the most annoying player or person currently employed by the team. Note that annoying doesn’t mean "committed a heinous crime." Off-field stuff that’s a little too serious isn't really considered for a frivolous thing like this, which is totally in good fun even as it's completely accurate and scientific. So drunk-driving arrests, famous infidelities, fireworks smugglers, etc ... those aren't considered.
Annoyances lie below:
2. New York Mets - Francisco Rodriguez
Closers are supposed to rub you the wrong way; that’s part of the job description. But K-Rod has turned it into an art. Starting with the nickname, which alludes to -- and manages to be worse than -- the worst trend in nickname history. Also, there’s the post-save pose:
3. New York Yankees - Everyone.
Come on. You can’t just pick one. It’s like picking the worst Eagles song. The answer to the question is "d) all of the above."
4. Boston Red Sox -Jonathan Papelbon
Sure, he seems like a guy who could call you "brah" without irony, but so do a lot of major leaguers. But there’s also something a little off and creepy at the same time. If he were your college roommate, he would sit on the couch in his boxers, eating a stick of butter, and laughing way too hard at "Home Improvement" reruns while you were trying to sleep.
5. Baltimore Orioles - Luke Scott
The AL East is a powerhouse. And this one has nothing to do with politics. What Scott believes goes beyond left and right, beyond debates on tax rates, or the value or risk of a strong Federal government. Scott represents every stupid chain e-mail you’ve ever received from someone who doesn’t click on the Snopes.com link you send back.
7. St. Louis Cardinals - Tony La Russa
See, he’s a genius. When his team is playing yours, you might hear that a few times. And then you look up, the pitcher is batting cleanup, there’s a left fielder playing second base, and your team is losing. So annoying.
8. Philadelphia Phillies - Shane Victorino
If you’re an American League fan, you might not get this. But he’s a) good and b) willing to do weaselly things to win. See here, here, and here. Not that bad if he’s on your team, but if he’s not, he's pretty heinous.
9. Florida Marlins - Television announcers
Again, this is a list of things that are annoying to people outside the organization. The way the Marlins games are called might be perfect for the Marlins and their fans. Don’t know. But when something good happens in a Marlins game, and I innocently wander over to MLB.com to watch the highlight, I always forget that the play is going to be called as if it’s the Kentucky Derby and the two jockeys in the lead are having a lightsaber fight down the stretch. Sometimes when I’m trying to sleep, all I can hear is "His name is Dan Uggla!" rattling around in my brain.
10. San Diego Padres - Mat Latos
If your life were an ‘80s movie, you’d be walking home with that cute girl from homeroom, and Latos would pull up in a Trans Am and offer her a ride and not you. He wouldn’t say anything. Just kind of sneer without even looking at you...
11. Los Angeles Angels - Jered Weaver
.. .and Weaver and his brother would wear denim jackets with "Slayer" patches sewn on, and they’d chortle after kicking your locker door closed while you were still using it. And they’d hate the Latos guy, too, so you don’t understand why they’re picking on you instead of teaming up with you to egg the Trans Am.
12. Chicago Cubs - Carlos Zambrano
All you want to do is enjoy the bases-loaded walk your team just took, and then all of a sudden, you’re watching the pitcher who threw it go nuts. He’s attacking a water cooler, biting his glove into small pieces, or winging batting donuts from the on-deck circle into the stands. And you’re so amused by him that you forget to fully enjoy the bases-loaded walk. Totally inconsiderate.
13. Los Angeles Dodgers - Jamey Carroll
It’s not necessarily Carroll's personally that puts him here, but the type of player he represents. Now that David Eckstein is relaxing at a beachfront condo somewhere in Middle-Earth, Carroll is the best example of a scrappy middle infielder. And, man, those guys tend to foul off 12 pitches before fisting a pitch over second for an RBI single. Carroll stands in for the entire genre.
14. San Francisco Giants - Cody Ross
Something I didn’t know until Ross was on the Giants: divisional rivals hate the guy. He does a little bunny hop when he hits a home run, he’s always grinning, and he always seems to be in the middle of the big rallies even though his career OBP is .323. Other fans hate him. Unaltered proof:
Cody Ross: Worse than severed fingers in your martini. That’s just science.
16. Colorado Rockies - Troy Tulowitzki
He’s the perfect example of a player you’d love on your team, but because he’s not, he’s as annoying as they get. He grew a mullet last year for charity, and it was extra infuriating to watch the party side blow in the breeze as he rounded the bases. And you just knew that if he did it for you team, you’d be like, "Ha! Sweet mullet! I love that guy!"
19. Washington Nationals - Livan Hernandez
There is nothing more frustrating than losing to Livan. He has 169 victories in his career, and every one came with slop just off the black. Every fan of every team has experienced the pain of Livan Hernandez beating them. Death by dookie. It's impressive. Maybe even a little admirable. But annoying.
20. Atlanta Braves - Chipper Jones
It’s tough to pick just one from the Braves because Chipper and Derek Lowe are easy targets for some off-field stuff, but Jones wins on his own merits. As far as future Hall-of-Famers go, he’s certainly the most boring one who is still active. The worst part, though, is that he got inside your brain and made you call a grown man "Chipper" so often that you forgot how stupid of a name it really is. That’s messed up.
21. Kansas City Royals - Jeff Francoeur
He annoys scouts who think he should use his tools better. He annoys stat-heads who can’t believe he continues to start. He annoys his team usually because he doesn’t perform well, and every once in a while, he’ll have a good stretch that makes everyone wonder if they had him pegged right after all. Like now. Maybe he’s really good after all. That’s annoying.
22. Texas Rangers - Brett Tomko
He’s here only because he’s pitched poorly for every team in baseball. Fans of all 30 teams remember him giving up six earned runs in 4-2/3 innings in a game they attended where the weather was awful and all of the bobbleheads were gone by the time they arrived. He might not have played for all 30 teams, but that’s okay. The memories are accurate.
23. Pittsburgh Pirates - Brandon Wood
Don’t know his personality, but he’s a walking reminder that the prospect you’re excited to watch can completely fail. Wood went from the best prospect in baseball to the worst hitter of all-time, so he’s unwittingly become the Ghost of Prospect Future. When you start thinking about your pet prospect setting the baseball world ablaze, you can hear Wood’s chains rattling.
24. Toronto Blue Jays - The idiot who thinks he’s clever by suggesting that Jose Bautista is using performance-enhancing drugs
Oh, this isn’t really the Blue Jays’ fault that this person exists, but it’s Jose Bautista’s fault for being so awesome. If he’d mix in a strikeout every now and again, there wouldn’t be quite as many people racing around with itchy caps-lock fingers, ready to drop science on us. This is the most annoying person on the list, but because they only represent the Blue Jays in my own imagination, they’re lower than they should be.
26. Houston Astros - Hunter Pence
He’s just ... weird. He swings weird, he runs weird, and he’s all gangly and awkward. He’s good, sure. Heckuva athlete. But he makes you think, "How does he do it?’ and any player who makes you think should make this list.
27. through 30. Oakland A’s, Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, Arizona Diamondbacks (tie) - No one
Really, I tried. I was thinking about making Grady Sizemore the Indians’ rep because that’s who your wife is thinking of right now. Maybe the guy who thought, "Hey, how about a pool! In center field! You know, for kids!" could be the Diamondbacks’ rep. The closers for the Mariners and Indians rub me the wrong way, but I’m not sure why. Could be just me. But the more I went through the rosters, the more I couldn’t find a single player who inspired anything other than admiration (Ichiro, Justin Upton, Brett Anderson, Carlos Santana) or complete apathy (juuuust about everyone else). So here they lie, at the bottom of a list where last place is probably a good thing.
5/17 - Song titles
5/10 - Hair metal bands
5/3 - Sitcom locations
4/24 - Team names