Major League Baseball has 30 teams, some more notable than others. Their notability tends to change from year to year due to some combination of their financial and/or game-play success, or lack thereof.
The current defending World Series (and, therefore, MLB) champions are the Washington Nationals, who won their first title in 2019.
Currently, there are rumblings around the league of expansion, possibly to 32 teams. Rumors associated with it include total realignment of divisions based on geographic location instead of on American/National League lines. Only time will tell which direction MLB goes with it.
Here are some things to know about the teams and, perhaps more importantly, their fanbases.
- The Baltimore Orioles: Although traditionally one of the flagship franchises of Baseball, they entered a Dork Age that previously seemed to have no end under the "leadership" of Peter Angelos, who was considered the most reviled owner in baseball until Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria managed to take that title for himself with his 2012 Fire Sale. Since taking over the Orioles in 1993, Angelos' tremendous incompetence has turned a once proud franchise into the laughingstock of baseball. They had 14 consecutive losing seasons, topped only by the Pirates' streak of 20 seasons. In 2012, they finally seemed to make it back to respectability by making it to the playoffs and winning the first ever AL Wild Card game against the Texas Rangers. In 2014, they won their division in a runaway, despite sharing it with three of the previous season's strongest teams (Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays), and swept the heavily favored Tigers in the Division Series before falling to the upstart Royals in the ALCS. After being eliminated in the 2016 wild card game, though, the Orioles have since returned to their losing ways with a vengeance, with the 2018 squad being one of the worst teams in modern baseball history and the 2019 squad setting a new record for the most home runs given up in a season.note The team's most famous players historically are super-fielder Brooks Robinson and "Iron Man" Cal Ripken Jr, both Hall-of-Famers who played their entire careers with the Orioles. The team's glory years were 1966-1983, when most of the franchise's best players were at their peak and the manager was the intelligent but famously hot-tempered Earl Weaver. They currently play at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, widely considered one of the most beautiful stadiums in the league. Camden Yards was, when built, a faux-retro baseball-only stadium that was, over the next decade or so, emulated league-wide by teams looking for a new stadium; previously, many teams (particularly the Braves, Cardinals, Reds, Pirates, and Phillies) played in bland, circular concrete structures built for multiple sports.
- From 1902 to 1953, the club was known as the St. Louis Brownsnote , and even then were mostly associated with losing, though they did manage a single World Series appearance in 1944 where they lost to in-town rivals the St. Louis Cardinals. During this era the Browns (owned at the time by the highly eccentric Bill Veeck) fielded the shortest player in baseball history, 3'7" midget Eddie Gaedel, who took one at-bat as a publicity stunt (and Veeck only got away with it by filing Gaedel's contract with the AL offices at the very end of the work week, ensuring it would get a quick approval and not be scrutinized until the following Monday; the league subsequently revised its rules to ensure all contracts are reviewed by the Commissioner before a player is eligible to take the field). The Browns years are something of an Old Shame for Baltimore, as the Orioles do not recognize or commemorate any of their statistics or records from their time in St. Louis, and instead leave it to the Cardinals to honor the "Brownies". Ironically, from 1920 to 1953, the Browns owned Sportsman's Park, and the Cardinals were their tenants, but the Cards' vastly greater popularity led to the Browns' eventual departure.
- The Boston Red Sox are often considered by their fans — beg your pardon, Red Sox Nation — to be La Résistance to the Yankees' Evil Empire (a view not much shared by fans of other teams these days, given that they have effectively acted exactly like the Yankees since 2004). They've proven immensely successful early in centuries, winning one World Series in the 1900s, four in the 1910s, two in the 2000s, and two in the 2010s—but won no World Series at all from 1918 to 2004 (this is sometimes known as "The Curse of the Bambino", although despite what the American film version of Fever Pitch told you, barely any hardcore Sox fans believed that this curse was why they kept losing). That finally ended in 2004 when the Red Sox, coming off a Miracle Rally that saw them come back from an unprecedented 3 games to nothing hole to beat the Yankees, swept the Cardinals in the World Series (during a lunar eclipse, nonetheless). They've won three more championships since then, effectively ending their "loser" status for good, even becoming the second most successful sports team in the whole East Coast since then (not that the bar is too high), just behind the New England Patriots (also based in Beantown), although the team was accused of sign-stealing (intercepting the opposing team's messages) during its World Series-winning 2018 season. The Red Sox are Serious Business in Boston, and the rivalry between them and the Yankees is the biggest Fandom Rivalry in North American sports, if not sports period. When viewed from outside the rivalry, however, the Red Sox have since the end of the curse merely become the lesser of two evils (the result of adopting Yankee-like spending habits). For a while they were said to be "Moneyball on an unlimited budget", as their (then) general manager Theo Epstein used those ideas to great effect.
- The Red Sox play in Fenway Park note , which was built in 1912, making it the oldest stadium in Major League Baseball. Fenway itself is known for "The Green Monster", a ridiculously high left-field wall erected to compensate for its close relative proximity to home plate. (Short pop flies that would be easily caught in other parks can turn into home runs over the Green Monster, while hard liners that would fly out of other parks bounce off the Green Monster for doubles or sometimes even singles. In rare cases balls have come close to landing on the nearby Massachusetts Turnpike, and it is not unheard of for home runs to reach the nearby parking lot and break windshields. If you love your car, don't even attempt to park on Lansdowne Street.)
- Because of the management after Jackie Robinson's debut, they were the absolute last team to integrate in baseball, passing on both Robinson and Willie Mays.
- In another strange quirk, they've won at least three games in all thirteen of their World Series appearances, winning nine of them and losing the other four in the maximum seven games.
- On the business side of things, the Sox are currently owned by a corporation called "Fenway Sports Group" (FSG for short). FSG is noted for turning their Red Sox proceeds into a sports empire, buying up teams in other sports (including Liverpool FC, who share a number of traits the Red Sox: a passionate fanbase, a rich history, a propensity for an epic Fandom Rivalry or two, and a deep love for the colour red) and establishing a massively successful sports-marketing consultancy (they handle LeBron James' rights, for one thing).
- The New York Yankees: If you can name only one baseball team, it probably is this one. Being the most successful team in the World Series era (27 titles, the most for an American professional team) and the fact that it is based in the Big Applesauce have combined to make the Yankees the most popular team in America.... and the most hated team in America. You must, by internet law, either hate them with a passion that rivals the love you have of your own team or be an obnoxious, unpleasable pinstripe-wearer. An entire industry exists of anti-Yankee media, and although primarily centered in Boston, it thrives throughout North America, including New York itself (like the primarily pro-Mets Daily News). The same thing goes for pro-Yankee media (especially the New York Post). The play Damn Yankees, about a man who hates them so much he sells his soul to the Devil to beat them, was written over 60 years ago. After emerging in the 1920s with the "Murderers' Row" and dominating the league between the mid-1930s and the early 1960s (appearing in almost every WS between 1947 and 1964), the team underwent a long period marked by futility, only appearing in four Fall Classics between 1965 and 1995 (winning in 1977 and 1978, losing in 1976 and 1981). Then, manager Joe Torre took the team to three championships in the late 90s (1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000), but since then, outside of a 2009 season compared to the 1969 "Miracle Mets" for unlikely success, the Yanks have endured a long period of declining quality and relevance, characterized by humiliating late-season or playoff collapses (not that they have been the only NY sports team to undergo this in the 21st century), choking horribly in the last game of the 2001 World Series against the fledgling Arizona Diamondbacks, and more infamously in game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, allowing the Red Sox to make the first 0-3 comeback in baseball history and win their first Series title in 86 years. Red Sox fans will never let them forget this. They similarly collapsed on their four post-2009 ALCS appearances (2010, 2012, 2017, and 2019) as well as an embarrassing ALDS loss in 2018 to their hated rivals, the Boston Red Sox, who won that year's World Series (it should be noted, however, that the 2017, 2018 and 2019 AL seasons were eventually tarnished by the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal).
- Notable for having not one (Ruth), not two (Gehrig), not three (DiMaggio), but four (Mickey Mantle) names in the argument for best baseball player ever. Not to mention the first player ever to have been unanimously elected by baseball writers to the Hall of Fame, Mariano Rivera in 2019.note . Twenty-three numbers (for 21 different players) are retired, another MLB record. With Derek Jeter's number retirement, the Yankees have retired every single-digit number except for 0, a number they didn't issue until 2019. Their current GM is Brian Cashman.
- Fun fact: The Yankees once signed life-long celebrity fan Billy Crystal to a one-day contract and let him have an at-bat in a spring training game.
- The Yankees nickname was not officially used until 1913, being previously referred to as the Highlanders. The AL's eighth team originated in Baltimore in 1901note , playing for two seasons before moving to New Yorknote .
- The Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays: A relatively new team, they spent the first decade of existence losing a lot and generally coming in last. However, in 2008, they Took a Level in Badass: going worst-to-first, winning their division, defeated the much-higher-payroll Yankees and Red Sox, and made it all the way to the World Series, largely due to the emergence of a number of extremely talented younger players and lights-out relief pitching. Though they've displayed a Montreal Expos-like inability to hold onto their stars, they have remained surprisingly competitive; they won another division title in 2010, came out of nowhere to steal the wild card from the Boston Red Sox in 2011, and made it to the playoffs again in 2013. They've fallen back down to earth in subsequent seasons, but maintain a reputation for being capable of holding their own in any given game, even during a losing season. Their notoriously lukewarm fanbase and terrible stadiumnote doesn't help their situation, not to mention the fact that they've had to share a division with perennial AL powerhouses Boston and New York, plus some strong Toronto and Baltimore squads. Furthermore, the Yankees' spring training complex and official team headquarters have long been located in Tampa, resulting in a large fan base and a great deal of media focus on the Yankees in the area, which wasn't helped by the Rays effectively fielding a team of minor leaguers and washed-up has-beens during their first decade while the Yankees were appearing in one World Series after another during the Joe Torre years. Their team name was originally based on the Atlantic Devil Ray, a species of ray common in Florida waters. The "devil" part was dropped and the name reworked to mean a burst of sunlight, though the devil ray from the old logo appears on the sleeves of their current uniforms.
- The Toronto Blue Jays are Canada's team. Their glory days were the early 90s when they put together an All-Star lineup and won two consecutive World Series ('92 and '93). They also got a stadium, first called SkyDome, which had this cool "futuristic" retractable roof that popularized the trend in bad-weather ballparks. The Jays tend to operate like a mid-market team, not because Toronto is a small city, but rather because some players refuse to play in Canada due to it having much higher taxes than the US, not to mention that they have to pay income taxes to both Canada and America, as opposed to if they signed for a team located in a US state with no income tax. They also have the misfortune of playing in the brutal American League East division, where they've been forced to compete against not just perennial powerhouses the Yankees and the Red Sox, but some pretty strong Rays and Orioles teams as well. In recent years, they've had a tendency to get off to a fast start only to fade halfway through the season. In 2015, they finally won the AL East again after a 22-year playoff drought, thanks to GM Alex Anthopoulos's acquiring of several all-star fielders and pitchers both during the off-season and the trade deadline. Roberto Alomar, who played a crucial role in the Jays' back-to-back championships, was inducted into the Hall of Fame wearing a Blue Jays cap. Paul Molitor, another Hall of Famer, also spent time in Toronto, and was the MVP of the Jays' 1993 World Series championship. Still another Hall of Famer, pitcher Roy Halladay, had most of his best years with the Jays before ending his career in Philadelphia, though his Hall of Fame plaque is logo-less.note The Blue Jays are the only home team in the expansion era (post-1960) to win a game by forfeit; in a game in their inaugural season at Exhibition Park, the Orioles protested the placement of rain tarps in the bullpen area, which was in foul territory and thus within play. The umpire disagreed, and the Orioles refused to return to the field.
- The Chicago White Sox, a charter member of the American League and Barack Obama's favorite team (to the point where he wore their logo-jacket to an All-Star Game in St. Louis, resulting in an awkward situation). They also had an era which began, it is said, in 1919 when eight of the team's players ("The Black Sox" or "the 8 Men Out"), including Shoeless Joe Jackson, either took, intended to take, or knew the others were taking, money to throw the World Series. All eight of them were kicked out. Forever. And then the White Sox didn't win anything until 2005 (except for the AL pennant in 1959), when Ozzie Guillén (who had starred for them as a shortstop during The '90s) guided them to a World Series championship. It still didn't make them more popular than the Cubs though, since the city hasn't really forgiven them for the 1919 scandal and, unlike Boston, this championship turned out to be a fluke; the team quickly returned to mediocrity, and has ended more often than not dead last or, in the best of times, blowing their chances (it does not help that other teams in the Central became the division's powerhouses - the Twins in the late 2000s, the Tigers in the early 2010s, the Royals in the mid-10s, and now the Indians). Play-by-play announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson is known for his memetic play-calling and embrace of bias for the Sox when most announcers at least try to present a neutral position ("He gone" when an opposing player strikes out, "can of corn" for any high pop-up, and his signature home run call of "You can put on the boooaaaard, YES!").
- The White Sox also had one of the most eccentric owners in MLB history, Bill Veeck (who also owned several other teams at different periods). After selling the Sox off to the Allyn brothers, he bought the team back prior to the 1976 season, and created arguably the first fauxback uniforms, with untucked, early 1900s-styled pullover jerseys with large flared collars (that only went up to the shoulder seam), paired with a modernized SOX on the cap to create a level of visual dissonance. The team also went so far as to experiment with shorts that year, but they were abandoned after appearing in only three games in August. The baggy pullovers were never particularly popular, and even as a modern throwback they were so disliked that pitcher Chris Sale destroyed the throwbacks prior to their scheduled appearance in 2016. Veeck would later oversee the infamous Disco Demolition Night fiasco, which was organized by his son Mike (promotions manager for the team) and shock jock Steve Dahl. Veeck sold the team again in 1981, this time to an ownership group featuring Jerry Reinsdorf, who would later purchase the Chicago Bulls. Under the new ownership, the Sox held a design-the-uniform fan contest to replace the Veeck-era pullovers, a move worthy of Veeck himself as it helped draw interest back to the team, and one that has not been duplicated by any other major-league teamnote . These pullover uniforms, featuring a wide stripe across the chest, lasted from 1982 to 1986, and have been a more popular throwback in recent years than the Veeck jerseys. The White Sox under Reinsdorf would hold the first official Turn Back the Clock game in 1990, wearing proper throwback uniforms based on the 1917 World Series championship team, before switching to their current black and silver look at the end of that season.
- The Cleveland Indians, a charter member of the American League, are the Cubs of the AL, only with a modern stadium.note No one really remembers how they got their name (popular belief asserts that it came from an early Native American-descended player named Louis Sockalexis, but this is wrong... he played for the Spidersnote , which had also used the Indians nickname), but some agree it's politically incorrect. They've won just two World Series championships in their history, the most recent of which was in 1948. Their previous stadium was cold, windy, and in general a horrible place to play.note Their new stadium is still cold and windy, but it's at least pretty despite the occasional swarm of insects (which actually helped the Indians win a key playoff game in 2007) and, in 2009, seagulls. They lost a game in 1974 when their fans, drunk on cheap beer, began to attack the opposing players. They were perennial last-place finishers in the '80s, which led up to the movie Major League, in which a fictional version of the Indians overcomes their idiosyncrasies and ineptitude to win the pennant. Incredibly, a few years after the release of the movie, the franchise turned its fortunes completely around and became one of the most consistently successful teams in the American League for several years. After coming up one win short of the American League pennant in 2007, they fell into mediocrity for the next several years, but an improved farm system and some promising young players restored them to contention, culminating in an AL pennant in 2016 and a World Series matchup against the MLB's other "black sheep": the Cubs, which ended with them choking a 3-games-to-1 lead to give the Cubs their first WS title in over a century and take over as the team with the longest active championship drought in the majors. (To be fair, the Indians were missing their best hitter all season and had two starting pitchers injured before even coming into the playoffs.) The team clinched AL Central titles in 2017 and 2018 but lost the ALDS both years, ensuring that their championship drought would extend to 70 years and counting.
- Recent team iconography policy has resulted in controversy. Chief Wahoo, one of their logos, is a caricature of a Native American who was first made in the 1946 and whose current version was drawn in 1951. He hasn't aged too well, so the Indians have been quietly phasing him out in favor of a rather bland block letter "C", all while denying that this is the case. Indians fans who see Wahoo as something whose time has passed have taken to boycotting merch that depicts him or remove him from their jerseys and hats. note The team removed Wahoo from the uniforms in 2019, but still produces a limited amount of commemorative Wahoo merchandise in order to keep its trademark.
- The Detroit Tigers are one of the charter American League teams.note Historically, they've alternated between periods of brilliance and long dry spells of non-contention. After enduring one such dry spell for over two decades following their 1984 World Series championship (which included losing 119 games in 2003, one shy of tying the Major League record for losses in 162 games), the Tigers came out of nowhere in 2006 to reach the Fall Classic again (only to get unexpectedly and swiftly defeated by the Cardinals). However, high expectations in ensuing seasons failed to bear fruit; in 2009, they suffered one of the worst September collapses in baseball history, becoming the first team ever to blow a three-game division lead with only four games to play. They turned things back around in 2011, reaching the ALCS with an excellent offense and one of the best pitching rotations in AL history (headed by Justin Verlander, with Jose "Papa Grande" Valverde serving as an absolute top-notch closer). The Tigers made the Fall Classic again in 2012, sweeping the Yankees in the ALCS (this time, the removal of Valverde, who'd started to choke badly in the ALDS, is given a great deal of weight; strange how this happens...) before suffering the indignity of getting swept themselves by the Giants in the Series. In 2013, they made it to the ALCS but were defeated by the Red Sox, who went on to win the World Series; in 2014, they were swept by Baltimore in the ALDS. These days they're probably best known for first baseman Miguel Cabrera, their star hitter and arguably one of the best right-handed ones in the history of the game; in 2012 he became the first hitting Triple Crown winner since the 1960s. After dealing Verlander to the Astros in 2017, among other moves, the Tigers are in the midst of a rebuilding period; time will tell whether or not this marks the start of another long down period.
- The Tigers have boasted several Hall of Famers in their history, including Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford in the 1900s and '10s, Hank Greenberg (the majors' first Jewish-American star) and Charlie Gehringer in the '30s and '40s, Al Kaline in the '50s and '60s, and Jack Morris and Alan Trammell in the late '70s and through the '80s. Another Tigers Hall of Famer is late manager Sparky Anderson, who after leading the Cincinnati Reds to two World Series crowns in the 70s spent 17 seasons managing the Tigers, leading them to their last World Series title to date in 1984.note And the late radio/TV broadcaster Ernie Harwell, who called the team's games for over 40 years, is a recipient of the Hall's Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence. (Although broadcasters are not eligible for Hall of Fame membership, fans usually call Frick Award recipients "Hall of Fame broadcasters".)
- The Tigers also have an interesting pattern in their ownership history: they have the distinction of having been owned by the founders of Domino's Pizza (Tom Monaghan) and Little Caesars Pizza (Mike Ilitch). Both are from the Detroit area and life-long Tigers fans (Ilitch was a Detroit sports fan in general, and also owned the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League until his death in 2017).
- The Kansas City Royals are the American League's equivalent of the Pirates, albeit without most of the history and with a management team that seems to give a crap. The franchise did enjoy some glory years in the late 1970s and early '80s (winning several division titles, two AL pennants in 1980 and 1985, and the 1985 World Series, and boasting eventual Hall of Famer George Brett at third base) before sliding into perennial non-contention in the ensuing decades. Their stadium, which features a fountain just beyond the center field fence, is regarded as one of the nicest in baseball. (And just to clarify, they play in Missouri, not Kansas.) In The New '10s, baseball analysts thought that the Royals might finally be due for a turnaround in the next few seasons; years of losing enabled the team to stockpile quite a few high-ceiling prospects, and some of those prospects appeared to be on the verge of breaking through. The analysts were proven right in 2014, when the Royals made the wild-card game, won it, and then made the World Series, where they came within a single victory of winning it all (and probably would have won had it not been for the heroics of Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner). They responded to the heartbreak by playing even better the next season, winning not just their division and the AL pennant, but their second World Series championship.
- The Minnesota Twins: Originally the Washington Senatorsnote and one of the original eight American League teams, the Twins (who had lost a World Series in 1965) won the World Series in 1987 and 1991 before entering a bad stretch that saw them nearly be disbanded (along with the Montreal Expos). The only thing that kept them from being contracted was the lease they had with the city of Minneapolis. Then, go figure, they started winning, and were a perennial threat in the AL Central during the 2000s, and an off-and-on threat at the end of the 2010s. However, success in the playoffs has been much harder to come bythey haven't won a postseason series since 2002, and haven't even won a postseason game since 2004. After the Yankees swept them out of the 2019 Division Series, the Twins' postseason losing streak is now at a record 16 games, with the Yankees being responsible for 13 of them. A common compliment said about the Twins is their seemingly bottomless farm system, which has allowed them to remain reasonably competitive even as star players leave town for big city riches. They are also often called "scrappy", with a habit of climbing back into things when least expected that led White Sox manager Ozzie Guillén to call them "The Piranhas," as their team at the time did not have one single "slugger" but a lot of "little" players chipping away at the edges.note
"All those piranhas — blooper here, blooper here, beat out a ground ball, hit a home run, they're up by four. They get up by four with that bullpen? See you at the national anthem tomorrow. When I sit down and look at the lineup, give me the New York Yankees. Give me those guys because they've got holes. You can pitch around them, you can pitch to them. These little guys? Castillo and all of them? People worry about the catcher, what's his name, Mauer? Fine, yeah, a good hitter, but worry about the little [guys], they're on base all the time."
- This was for a long time a driving philosophy of theirs in the organizational level—former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who started his career with the Twins, noted that he was only able to become the power hitter he was after he'd left them. It is therefore perhaps ironic that in 2019, the Twins set a new major league record for team home runs in a season with 307, narrowly holding off the Yankees who would finish the season with 306. note
- The Houston Astros (originally the Colt .45snote ): Began play in 1962, after owners unable to obtain expansion teams decided to form their own league, the Continental League. The league was intended solely to bluff MLB into awarding their cities MLB franchises; the Astros were awarded in response along with the Washington Senators (now Texas Rangers), Los Angeles Angels, and New York Mets. They are the world record holders for the ugliest uniforms (worn from 1975 through 1986), often referred to by fans as the Tequila Sunrise or Rainbow Guts jersey - a look that has become popular through the Nostalgia Filter, and is often imitated by teams at other levels of play. A National League team for their first half-century of existence, the Astros are responsible for both the domed stadium (the Astrodome) and, because grass doesn't grow indoors,note for artificial turf, better known as AstroTurf. The team often contends, but just as often fizzles out, with their most notable streak of success coming in the late 1990s and early 2000s (which includes their first World Series appearance in 2005, where they got swept by the Chicago White Sox). While they were the worst team in all of baseball from 2011 to 2013 (losing an average of 108 games per season during those years), by 2015 they had reestablished themselves as a force to be reckoned with; in 2017, they not only had over 100 wins, but went on to finally win their first World Series (and becoming the first and only team to go to the World Series as both an AL team and an NL team), also winning the pennant in 2019 (losing to the Nationals)... but by 2020, it was discovered that these victories were partly because the Astros used technology to guess the opposing team's next pitch, which led to numerous sanctions and made them the most hated team in baseball. Yes, even more hated than the Yankees. If you're any kind of player and have a last name starting with B, join the Astros and you're the next Killer B, a reference to a period when the team had several very good players whose last names all began with the letter B (Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Lance Berkman, and several lesser names). Moved into Enron Field in 2000, just in time for Enron to have a major Enron-killing scandal; the stadium was quickly rebranded into Minute Maid Park two years later. In 2011, Jim Crane officially decided to buy the team, in exchange for their move into the AL West (Pacific) division in 2013 and the expansion of interleague play to a year-round schedule; this makes them the second team to have switched leagues in the modern era.
- The Los Angeles Angels: The other team in the Greater Los Angeles area. Originally playing at LA's Wrigley Field and then at Dodger Stadium (referred to as Chavez Ravine during Angels games), they changed their name to the California Angels in 1965, and moved to a new stadium in Anaheim in 1966. They spent most of their history living in the shadow of the more popular and successful Dodgers and being a place where past-their-prime players spent their final years. From the team's inception in 1961 until his death in 1998, the team was owned by Gene Autry, a famous Western film actor and singer who had become even wealthier with radio, TV, and real estate investments. In the late '90s, the team was bought by Disney (which had begun to pour money into the club earlier in the decade, starting with the production of a remake of Angels in the Outfield focused on the Angels instead of the Pirates). Upon the company's acquisition of the franchise, they changed the name to the Anaheim Angels and made the team one of the Dominant teams in the American League West, eventually winning their first (and so far only) World Series title in 2002. In 2004 Disney would eventually sell the team. The new owners decided to rename the team the Los Angeles Angels for marketing purposes, but because the team's contract with Anaheim contained a stipulation that "Anaheim" had to be part of the team name, this led to the rather cumbersome moniker "The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim"; much to Anaheim's (and the city the team borrowed without domicile, Los Angeles') dismay, there isn't a rule about two cities being used in a team's name, and the new name obeyed the Exact Words of the contract. As a Bilingual Bonus, Los Angeles means 'The Angels' in Spanish, so the name was effectively "The The Angels Angels of Anaheim." The stipulation was dropped following the 2015 season, so the team reverted to its original name sometime around then. Angels fans are noted for using Thunder Sticks, and being generally loud and enthusiastic (although the "leave early to beat traffic" thing still does occur every once and awhile). The team's mascot is the Rally Monkey (a capuchin monkey dressed in team apparel whose appearances are usually on videotape) who made his debut during the 2002 title run. Their biggest rivals are the Oakland Athletics, though they also have a strong inter-league rivalry with the Dodgers.
- The Oakland Athletics are one of the league's oldest teams (being descended from earlier franchises in Philadelphia and Kansas City) and also one of the current sufferers of "small-market syndrome". However, their stretch of unexpectedly strong teams with tiny payrolls in the early 2000s led to writer Michael Lewis writing the book Moneyball on Oakland general manager Billy Beane. Beane's "Moneyball" approach to the game emphasized new statistics, computerized analysis, and unconventional means of analyzing players. And for a while, it worked, proving that baseball really is the Game of Nerds. Many other teams, most notably the Red Sox, then began adopting Moneyball-style strategies, relegating Oakland to the back end again, though the A's have still managed to scrounge several winning seasons thanks to "Moneyball 2.0" strategies. The franchise as a whole has won nine World Series, tied for the third most in baseball with the Red Sox and trailing the Yankees and the Cardinals (although only one of those titles has come in the last 40 years, in the 1989 World Series that was infamously interrupted by the Loma Prieta earthquake which occurred prior to the originally scheduled Game 3 in San Francisco).
- In Philadelphia, they were managed (and either partially or wholly owned) by Cornelius McGillicuddy, better known as Connie Mack, for their first fifty years. Mack led the Phillies to five World Series titles in that time, and Shibe Park was renamed Connie Mack Stadium in his honor during its later years. Age forced Mack to step down as manager following the 1950 season, and he sold the team in 1954, leading to their relocation to Kansas City. Infamously, during this time, the Athletics became a de facto farm team for the Yankees. New A's owner Arnold Johnson was a close friend of the Yankees owners of that era, and repeatedly made bad trades to give his best young players to the Yankees in exchange for older veterans whose skills had declined, as well as providing a convenient place for promising young Yankees prospects to stay in game shape until roster space opened for them. When Johnson suddenly died in 1960, the eccentric Charles O. Finley bought the team from his estate, put an immediate end to the "special relationship" between the A's and Yankees, and soon changed the team colors from blue and red to his favorite color scheme, green and gold. Finley didn't have much interest in keeping the team in Kansas City, however, and moved them to Oakland once the other AL owners let him. He did build a winning team, though, as the Oakland A's won three straight World Series in 1972, 1973, and 1974.
- Their current stadium, the Oakland Coliseum (also known by several corporate names), was also home to the Oakland Raiders NFL team through 2019, making the A's the last team with this arrangement. This fact coupled with some disrepair at the Coliseum has the ownership wanting to get a new stadium built specifically for them, preferably in nearby San Jose. San Jose wants the team and has land available for that purpose, but Byzantine league rules with regard to team relocation coupled with Oakland's competing efforts to build a new stadium in Oakland have those plans in Development Hell. note
- The Seattle Mariners have a reputation as a consistently mediocre team with a high number of Japanese fans (thanks to the number of NPB players they've acquired over the years). They are the only team who has never played in the World Series, with the team's only real run of success coming from 1995-2001, when they made the playoffs four times and advanced to the League Championship Series in three of those four occasions (though they never got any further); in 2001, they had the best regular season record in baseball history. To add insult to injury, the four aforementioned playoff appearances remain the sum total of the Mariners' postseason history; an ill-fated attempt to spend their way into the playoffs in the mid-2000s ended with them becoming the first $100 million+ payroll team to lose at least 100 games. The club has had a few stars in its history, most notably Edgar Martínez, Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Ichiro Suzuki, and Félix Hernández (who pitched the first perfect game in team history). The M's first retired number (other than Robinson's) was that of Griffey, which the team retired before the 2016 season (the ceremony was held in midseason)not just for the Mariners themselves, but also for all their minor-league affiliates. Martínez' number was retired the following season. Johnson, Ichiro, and Hernández are major candidates for the honor as well. Johnson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014, but was inducted as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, with whom he won a World Series and had debatably greater success than with the Mariners.note Griffey was elected the next year, breaking the record for highest percentage of votes (99.3%)note and was the first player to enter the Hall as a Mariner. Martínez was elected in 2019 on his 10th and final chance in regular voting, with the main obstacle to his induction having been that he was mostly a DH. Ichiro, who retired just after the start of the 2019 season, is generally expected to make the Hall in 2025. Alex Rodriguez also began his career with the Mariners before moving on to greater fame with the Rangers and Yankees. An interesting note is that the Mariners were owned by Nintendo from 1992 to 2016. It explains how Ken Griffey Jr. got a couple of video games on some of Nintendo's consoles.
- The Texas Rangers are best known as the team that George W. Bush owned before his political career and producing a number of sluggers (Rafael Palmeiro, Juan González, Iván "Pudge" Rodríguez, among others) who may or may not have been chemically enhanced. They are descended from the Washington Senators, but not the old Senators team from the first half of the 20th century; rather, they are descended from the new expansion Senators that began play in 1961. The old Senators are now the Minnesota Twins. For years, the club was known for big bats, terrible pitching, and not much else. Until 2010, they were the only team in baseball who had never won a postseason series. They finally accomplished this in 2010 after nearly 50 years of trying, making it all the way to their first ever World Series before finally losing to the San Francisco Giants. In 2011, they lost ace pitcher Cliff Lee to free agency, but managed to have an even better year than before, reaching their second consecutive World Series before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals. Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan pitched his last two no-hitters and earned his 5,000th strikeout and 300th win with the team. His plaque in Cooperstown bears a Rangers cap,note and he served as part-owner and Team President until late in the 2013 season, when he was pushed out of the front office after a dispute with the majority owners and ended up selling his stake in the team. His guidance, especially with regard to how to handle pitchers, is considered the biggest factor in the team's turnaround. Despite sharing the same state with the Houston Astros, Rangers' fans seem to have traditionally seen the Los Angeles Angels as their main rival, especially after slugger Josh Hamilton left Texas for the Halos and made bashing remarks about Texas as a franchise on his way out (though the Angels ended up sending him back to the Rangers in 2015). The Rangers ended a 26-year run at Globe Life Park in 2019; they'll open the new Globe Life Field across the street for the 2020 season. The new ballpark will have a retractable roof, unlike the old one.
- The Atlanta Braves are, along with the Cubs, one of the two franchises that have existed since the beginning of the National League, and the only team to have continued operation since 1871, though they were originally based in Boston and later Milwaukee. Actually, they're even older than that; they were formed when the first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, folded and their manager and key players migrated to Boston. They are the oldest continuously existing sports franchise in America. Historically, they've had flashes of success interspersed with long periods of losses. For an example of the first, there's the team of Hank Aaron, who broke Babe Ruth's career home run record despite receiving numerous death threats. After Aaron, they went from mediocre to horrible in the mid-to-late 1980s. In 1991, they went worst-to-first, went on an absolute tear in the second half of the season, defeated the Pirates on a controversial call in the NL Championship Series, and lost in the World Series. Then, in 1992, they basically did the same thing all over again. From then until 2005, they made the playoffs every year, won one World Series, and were best known for their outstanding starting pitching rotation. From 2005 to 2017, they deteriorated into an also-ran that could at best only field low-rung playoff teams, forcing them into a full-on rebuilding mode in 2015 that finally started to pay off in 2018 when they won their division. They are one of two teams (the other one being, again, the Cubs) that has had nationwide television coverage thanks to Ted Turner's WTBS "superstation" (now Atlanta-only), and, therefore, one of the Majors' biggest fan bases, to the point of dubbing themselves "America's Team" for a number of years. The Braves have played the most seasons out of any professional sports franchise, due to the Cubs losing two seasons over the Great Chicago Fire. In 1997, the Braves moved from Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium to neighboring Turner Field, which had been built to serve as the main venue for the 1996 Summer Olympics (as Centennial Olympic Stadium) before being permanently configured for baseball. Desiring a better neighborhood, though, for the 2017 season, the Braves moved into a new ballpark just outside the Atlanta city limits (but still with an Atlanta mailing address), Truist Park, while Turner Field was reconfigured into a football stadium for the Georgia State Panthers. The wall where Aaron hit his record-breaking home run is preserved in Georgia State Stadium's parking lot, which sits on the footprint of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium; however, the university plans to build a new baseball park on the site, incorporating said wall.
- The Miami Marlins: Formerly known as the Florida Marlins. Came into the league in 1993. Until 2012, they played their games in a giant football stadium intended for the NFL's Miami Dolphins to minuscule audiences that would make even a smaller stadium appear empty. Announced attendances were small enough already, usually hovering around 10,000, but the crowd actually in the stadium had a tendency to go into triple digits from time to time, to the point where hecklers who would never be heard in a regular game setting were thrown out of the game as the umpire could hear them very well, and player chatter was easily heard in the stands without amplification. In a stadium with a capacity over 75,000. This comes partly as a result of Miami being a football town (although this comes off as a rather Lame Excuse as teams from other football townssuch as Los Angeles, which has two NFL teams plus two wildly popular college teamshave no attendance problems) and most notably the distance to the stadium from population areas (suburban stadiums distant from a city are fine for football games and concerts, but nobody wants to make that drive up to 81 times a year for baseball), but more as a result of poor ownership. Weather is also a factor; games in Miami were extremely prone to being rained out before they moved into a stadium with a retractable roof, eliminating that problem (though the Marlins still do occasionally have to cancel a game due to a hurricane). The Marlins have won two World Series championships in 1997 and 2003, but both titles, and several other seasons besides, were immediately followed by releasing or trading virtually every breakout player on them. They made frequent threats to move the team if a new stadium was not built, which they finally got; they moved into it in 2012, it has both a retractable roof and a backstop featuring an aquarium with real fish (which is protected with multiple layers of Lexan). As a side effect, the team changed its name to the Miami Marlins upon its move, a condition of the new stadium deal. Former owner Jeffrey Loria was arguably one of the most hated owners in baseball behind Baltimore's Angelos and New York's Steinbrenner. He's been accused of deliberately putting an inferior product on the field simply to save money, and has on two separate occasions fired a well-liked, well-respected manager for failing to win with such a cash-strapped lineup.
- As a point of interest, the Marlins have never lost a postseason series, the only club in baseball this can be said of; the only two times they made it to the postseason, they won it all. They were also the sole Wild Card of the NL during those two postseasons, meaning that they've won two World Championships but have never finished first in their own division. Either way, it's one of the only reasons they get any respect from anyone.
- After Loria's 2012 gutting of the team, he easily became the most hated owner in baseball. There was much rejoicing in 2017 when he finally agreed to sell to the team to a new ownership group headlined by incoming CEO Derek Jeter- which was soon followed by the revelation that the new ownership group had to go deeply into debt to actually buy the team and didn't really have the money to run it, so they embarked on yet another fire sale.
- The New York Mets: The Un-Favourite of the two New York baseball teams, the Mets (a shortened version of Metropolitans, the name of an old New York baseball team from the 19th century) have, for most their history, been the polar opposite of their more popular and older brother. They tend to go through cycles of brilliant play for five or six years followed by stretches where they're one of the worst teams in the league. They've won two World Series titles, both of which are the source of major Baseball mythology (the first one literally considered a miracle, the second one only happening because they were playing the Red Sox during their Curse of the Bambino stage (see: Bill Buckner). The Mets' first season (1962) featured only 40 wins in 160 games, and is considered the worst team in modern history. In the 1990s and early 2000s, they frequently sported one of the higher budgets in the majors, only to have an uncanny tendency to collapse in the season's final weeks (a condition that since the mid-2000s has been commonplace for NY sports teams in general); in 2007, they coughed up a 7-game lead with 17 to play, then did the same in 2008 with a 3½-game lead, both times losing the division race to their hated rival the Phillies. In 2009, a rash of injuries caused them to tumble to fourth place, sending them into rebuilding mode (which did help them to acquire a surplus of promising young pitching talent). Their situation hasn't been helped by their owners, the Wilpon family, losing millions of dollars in the Bernie Madoff scandal, forcing them to curb their spendthrift ways and creating the bizarre sight of a New York team being forced to take the field with a severely underfinanced roster. It looked like their fate was about to finally turn around in 2015, as the team's young talented pitching staff began to gel and the pickup for Yoenis Céspedes helped bring the offense to life, leading them to the Fall Classic, though they lost in 5 to the Kansas City Royals; however, the team's fortunes ended up quickly cratering in subsequent seasons, thanks in part to yet another rash of injuries. Despite their checkered on-field history, they have their fans (most notably Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, Lady Gaga, and Spider-Man). Everybody loves an underdog, right?
- The Philadelphia Phillies: Played their first season in 1883 after replacing the Worcester Worcesters, making them one of the oldest franchises in baseball, if not all of modern professional sports. With two World Series championships as of this edit, their victory in the 2008 Series is particularly notable for ending a 25-year streak of Philadelphia not winning a championship in any major sport. Though they were the best team in the National League in the late 2000s, they are historically the losingest baseball franchise ever (and in terms of number of losses, the losingest team in all of professional sports). They were also the last of the 16 original Major League teams to win a championship, their first title not coming until 1980. Like all Philadelphia sports teams, their fans are usually appear to be generally good-hearted working-class folk, but they can get really dangerous if drunk or if their team wins a championship (rioting is a popular Philly pastime), or if you are wearing a Mets uniform, a Mets cap, or anything related to the Mets (or New York, really). Then you are just asking for it. The late great Harry Kalas The Voice of NFL Films after John Facenda died was their radio announcer until his death during the 2009 season. From 2007-2011, the team basically became the Yankees of the National League, procuring superstar players (mostly pitchers) at any price to make World Series runs. However, they went straight back to their losing ways in 2012, and were forced to commence a full-blown rebuild in 2015 that lasted until their fortunes finally started turning around in 2018. By the way, the team's somewhat uncreative nickname is an artifact of history; in the early days of baseball media would often refer to teams by simply pluralizing a city name. Also the home of the Phillie Phanatic, one of the goofiest and most-beloved mascots in sports.
- The Washington Nationals: Founded in 1969 as the Montreal Expos, they are arguably The Chew Toy of Major League Baseball. Sure, both the Phillies and the Braves have accumulated more than 10,000 losses, the Cubs had a nearly eleven decade-long championship drought and have since joined the Phillies and Braves in the 10,000 loss club, the Red Sox spent decades always losing to their hated rival, the Pirates went 20 years without a winning season, the Rangers didn't win a playoff series for 50 years, and the Mets have to share a city with the Yankees, but all those teams have bright spots in their history as well. The Expos almost had one; they were leading their division in August 1994 and were considered a legitimate threat to win it all that year, only for the season to be cancelled by a strike (itself a Dork Age), leading to the first year without a World Series since 1904. Their owner spent the rest of the decade trading their stars for much cheaper players. This eventually resulted in the team being bought by the league, nearly eliminated altogether, and eventually sold and moved to Washington D.C. The old owner went on to do pretty much the same thing to his new team, the Florida/Miami Marlins (see their paragraph above). Oh, and don't confuse them with the Washington Senatorslocal politicians vow to oppose that name as long as Washington, D.C. has no vote in Congress, and on top of that the previous Senators baseball club still owns the rights to the name even though they became the Texas Rangers in 1972. As a result of their team's suckage, Washington D.C. became subject to the old chestnut "First in war, first in peace, and last in the National League" (which was true of both Senators teams except with "American" instead of "National"). However, the Nationals have managed to turn things around by following the Rays' and Athletics' method of stockpiling high draft picks (the two most prominent being pitcher Stephen Strasburg and catcher-turned-outfielder Bryce Harper), and supplementing a strong farm system with savvy trades and good free agent signings. And unlike the A's and Rays, the Nats have a budget which should allow them to hang on to their stars. They finished with the best record in the National League in both 2012 and 2014, and won their division again in 2016 and 2017, but lost in the Division Series all four times. While Harper skedaddled to the Phillies in free agency after the 2018 season, the Nats made the 2019 playoffs as a wild card and finally got past the Division Series. They went on to sweep the Cardinals in the NLCS and reach the World Series for the first time in franchise history, beating the Houston Astros in a dramatic seven-game series, bringing a MLB championship to DC for the first time in 95 years.
- The Chicago Cubsnote : The oldest professional team in America's big four leagues that is still in existencenote ; they had previously not won the World Series since 1908, and hadn't even reached it with a National League Championship since 1945. note Superstitious Cubs fans claim that the team's lack of postseason success was the result of the "Curse of the Billy Goat" (don't ask), although this mostly had been the result of a series of misfortunes led by perpetual money shortages, including a succession of owners (one of them previously owned a Federal League team), a lot of losing seasons (barely hovering over .500 in their winning seasonsnote ), Chicago's traditionally bad luck in sports until recent years (though of course the Cubs haven't benefited too much from the rising tide yet [and neither the Sox for that matter, despite their 2005 championship note ). Even when they do play well, it pretty much always ends in heartbreak; they've had some agonizingly close calls (most prominently 1984 and 2003), and when they actually got into the NLCS in 2015 after five straight losing seasons, they ended up being swept by the Mets... on the same day some flick predicted they would sweep the World Series (fans rejoiced anyways since they beat the hated Cardinals in the Division Series for the first time). However, they were done justice by going all the way, taking the World Series in seven games over the Indians in 2016. This was a fitting conclusion of their deliberately painful rebuild under the oversight of Theo Epstein (the same man who helped end the Red Sox's own championship drought), and has turned the Cubs into a talented young team with a seemingly bright future ahead of them. They play in Wrigley Field, the oldest park in the National League (1914, originally used by the Federal League Whales), and second oldest in all of baseball, behind only Boston's Fenway Park, and, also like Fenway Park, among the most well-known and loved Major League stadiums. It's famous for countless quirks such as ivy-covered outfield walls, fans sitting on nearby rooftops to watch the game, and the fact that night games were not allowed there until 1988. They are also well known for now-deceased broadcaster Harry Caray, known for his 7th inning renditions of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" as well as his unique approach to color commentary.
- Irony: The Cubs have made history in the World Series in over a half-dozen ways: (beginning with their crosstown loss to the White Sox in the 1906 World Series). They went 2-2 in the World Series over a five year span from 1906-1910 (not appearing in 1909).
- First Team with multiple World Series Appearances (Two, Three, Four)
- First Team with Consecutive World Series Appearances (Two, Three)
- First Team with multiple World Series wins (Two)
- First Team with consecutive World Series win (Two)
- First Team to win a World Series without a loss (4-0-1 in 1907 against the Detroit Tigers)
- First Team To Play an extra innings Game (12 innings in a Game 1 Tie in 1907)
- First Team to win two World Series against the same opponent (1907 & 1908 vs. Detroit Tigers)
- First Team to win an extra-inning World Series game (Game 4 in 10 innings in 1910 [for their lone victory] against the Athletics)
- First Team to win an extra-inning World Series game 7 on the road (in 10 innings in 2016)
- First leadoff home run in a World Series game 7 (2016, Dexter Fowlernote )
- Oldest player to hit a home run in a World Series game (2016, David Ross (39), Game 7in his final at-bat as a player, no less)
- The Cincinnati Reds: Cincy was the first city to have a professional team (the Cincinnati Red Stockings), so the Reds are generally considered the oldest club in the league (even though, in the words of Joel Luckhaupt, "the line from the Reds back to that 1869 squad isn't a straight one"). Before TV ratings became important, it was custom that the first major league game of every season take place in Cincy, and even today the Reds Home Opener is quite a big deal. The glory days of the Reds were the '70s, when they were called the Big Red Machine. Longtime ESPN broadcaster Joe Morgan was a member of the Big Red Machine, and he would never let you forget it. Another bright spot came in 1990, when the Reds swept the World Series against the heavily-favored A's. Owned for a while by the totally insane Marge Schott, famous for her racist tirades, collection of Nazi memorabilia, and devotion to her Saint Bernard, Schottzie. The Reds have eight players in the Hall of Fame, and would undoubtedly have a ninth if longtime player (and later manager) Pete Rose hadn't been expelled from MLB for life in 1989 due to betting on games.note Since their 1990 championship however, the Reds have mostly seen teams with lots of hitting but terrible pitching. After being swept by the Braves in the 1995 NLCS, it would be 15 years before they would taste the postseason again...only to be swept by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2010 NLDS, being no-hit by Roy Halladay in game 1. This is also where Ken Griffey Jr. played most of his later, more injury-prone years. After years of mediocrity, they made the playoffs 3 times in 4 years from 2010-2013 with a nucleus of cerebral first baseman Joey Votto, second baseman Brandon Phillips (known for making flashy plays with the glove) plus streaky-hitting outfielder Jay Bruce, plus young pitchers Homer Bailey (who threw 2 no-hitters for the Reds) and Johnny Cueto (2008-2015). Despite this, the Reds playoff luck seemed to match their next door neighbors the Bengals: being swept in the 2010 NLDS, leading 2 games to none in the 2012 NLDS vs. the Giants, winning both games in San Francisco before losing three straight at home, and losing 6 of their last 8 games (including dropping their final five) in 2013, dropping them to the NL's second wild card spot and having to play the wild card game in Pittsburgh against a Pirates team making the postseason for the first time in 21 years. The Reds started Johnny Cueto, who was so shaken he at one point dropped the ball on the mound amidst a thunderous crowd tauntingly chanting "CUE-TO! CUE-TO!" The Reds lost 6-2. By 2014 their championship window was closing, but ownership remained steadfast on contending one last time in 2015 because their home Great American Ball Park was hosting the All-Star Game. At the trade deadline, they traded the aforementioned Cueto (to Kansas City, where he was part fo their World Series championship team) and starting pitcher Mike Leake (to San Francisco). From 2016-18, the Reds were an afterthought, never winning more than 68 games, with some of the worst pitching in major league history. They seemed to be coming out of the slump in 2019 (a season which featured two bench-clearing brawls with the Pirates), winning 8 more games than the previous season, with the acquisition of pitcher Sonny Gray from the New York Yankees and the breakout season of third baseman Eugenio Suarez (whose 49 home runs are the most ever by a Venezuelan player). Before the MLB season was delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Reds were on track to field a contender in 2020 (after breaking the franchise record for free-agent spending), with the acquisitions of outfielder Nick Castellanos, infielder Mike Moustakas, and pitcher Wade Miley, among others.
- The Milwaukee Brewers are descended from Seattle's original team, the Pilots, who were a complete disaster that only lasted one season. Then they were bought by a Milwaukee car salesman, Bud Selig, who somehow worked his way up to commissioner of MLB. The Brewers are best known for playing at Miller Park, considered by many to be the best modern ballpark, and for their odd traditions such as the 6th inning "sausage races" and the mascot, Bernie Brewer, who formerly slid into various containers of liquid but now just slides down a waterpark-sponsored slide as a cute mascot marketed towards children can't dive into an over-sized mug of beer these days. Brewers fans are also considered to have introduced tailgating to baseball back when the team played at County Stadium. Bob Uecker, better known outside of Wisconsin for his appearances in Miller Lite beer commercials, Mr. Belvedere, and the Major League movies (not to mention being choked by André the Giant at WrestleMania IV), has been the team's radio announcer since 1971. The Brewers had their glory days in the early '80s, nearly winning the 1982 World Series. They are the first of the currently existing MLB teams to have switched leagues, as they were American until 1998. Despite being a small market team with an overall mediocre record, the Brewers nonetheless have a passionately devoted fanbase who steadfastly support the team in both good and bad years. In many ways, they're considered a Spiritual Successor to the Milwaukee Braves, having retired Hank Aaron's jersey and erected a statue of him outside of Miller Park despite having only spent two uneventful seasons with the Brewers. The Brewers are also the fourth team to have the name; the first two were short-lived (as in one season) teams in the also short-lived American Association and Union Association, and the third is now the Baltimore Orioles. For a long time, they were the only team to switch leagues, but since the Astros switched leagues in time for the 2013 season, this is no longer the case.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates: Another storied franchise with a long history that includes 5 World Series titles, most recently in 1979 (during which year they famously adopted "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge as their theme; the '79 Pirates were also the first World Series team with a majority of ballplayers of color). The team of Roberto Clemente, a very highly regarded right fielder who collected his 3000th hit in 1972, and then tragically died in a plane crash delivering supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. (He was posthumously enshrined in the Hall of Fame, setting the precedent that deceased players need not have been retired for a minimum of five years.) Also the original team of the preternaturally talented and equally hated Barry Bonds. However, for almost a generation they were better known for their seemingly-endless streak of losing seasons that lasted for twenty years from 1993 to 2012, the longest such streak in American professional sports history. They finally began showing real promise again in 2011 (including having legitimate superstar players on the roster again, like Pedro Álvarez and Andrew McCutchen), but in both that year and the next managed to pull off improbable and painful late-season collapses that kept the futility streak going. They finally shook off the "losers" label in 2013, securing not only a winning season, but a postseason berth as a Wild Card team. They then proved it wasn't a fluke by doing it again in 2014 and 2015, though every time they were eventually eliminated from play before reaching the World Series. Prior to that, their last postseason success was three straight division titles from 1990 to 1992, but lost the NL Championship Series all three times: the first to the Reds, in six games, the next two to the Braves, both in 7 games, and both in heartbreaking fashion. In 1991, they held a three games to two lead, but were shut out in each of the final two games (including 1-0 in Game 6, with the winning run scoring in the ninth inning). Then in 1992, the Bucs were a single out away from winning the series when Francisco Cabrera, an obscure utility player, singled in two runs to win the series for the Braves, with former Pirate Sid Bream (not known for his speed, to put it mildly) eluding the tag of Pirates catcher Mike LaValliere and sliding across with the winning run. With 5 championships in only 7 World Series appearances, they boast the highest success rate of the original 16 teams (Miami and Toronto are both 2-for-2 and Arizona and the Angels are both 1-for-1), but in an inversion of Boston's quirk, they've lost at least 3 games in every World Series they've played in—most notably the 1960 World Series against the Yankees, in which their four wins were by a combined seven runs while their three losses were by at least 10 runs each; add in the fact that Game 7 was a high-scoring game on both sides and you get the Yankees setting a bunch of offensive records for a World Series that have yet to be broken nearly 60 years later even though they lost the Series.
- Interestingly, FiveThirtyEight called the 2018 Pirates the most average sports team in history.
- The St. Louis Cardinals: The most successful team in the National League during the World Series era (11 championships) and by far the most popular "small market" franchise, the Cardinals are noted for their highly-devoted fanbase (not surprising given that the Cards are by far the city's most consistently good sports team), their seemingly infinite well of minor league talent (their general manager from the 20s to early 40s, Branch Rickey, basically invented the modern farm system), their ability to consistently field solid teams (no back-to-back losing seasons since the end of 1959 [with the exception of strike-shortened 1994], by far the longest streak of its kind in all of MLB), and their rivalry with the Chicago Cubs (it is said that the only way you can get booed in Busch Stadium is if you are wearing a Chicago jersey - just ask Barack Obamanote ). Though their fanbase has a reputation for niceness and knowledgeability, there has been some understandable Hype Backlash from other fanbases towards this notion in recent years, who point that St. Louis has plenty of annoying racists and idiots too. Three Hall of Fame broadcasters were once employed by the Cardinals: Harry Caray (who spent 25 years in St. Louis before moving to Chicago), catcher-turned-announcer Joe Garagiola (who would later carve out a career in game shows, most notably To Tell the Truth and Strike It Rich), and Jack Buck (whose son Joe is the current main broadcaster of both MLB and the NFL for Fox.) The Cardinals are currently best-known for their insane comeback from being 10½ games (21 actual games) back from the Wild Card spot to winning the 2011 World Series, embracing most of the underdog-related sports tropes on this website. Game 6 alone brought them Down To The Last Strike twice and yet they pulled it out, proving to be both Truth in Television and Reality Is Unrealistic. Probably the highest-profile Cardinals fan today is Jon Hamm (a St. Louis native).
- The Arizona Diamondbacks are one of the two relatively newer teams in baseball, as they began play in 1998 along with Tampa Bay. It took them only four years to win their first World Series (2001), and their victory there is largely credited with forcing the perpetually annoying Yankees into hibernation for a few years. However, by the 2004 season they had completely fallen apart, and have been mostly mediocre since (though they did win their division in 2007 and 2011, and look to be returning to relevance after a surprisingly excellent 2017 season). For the time they were managed by Kirk Gibson (2010-14) they were more known for valuing gritty, hard-nosed play over success.
- An interesting thing to note is that despite only existing for 14 years, there's been only 4 years so far where a Diamondbacks player hasn't been nominated for the Cy Young Award, despite the fact that they play in a very hitter-friendly park. Of course, it helps that they had one of the very best one-two pitching tandems in Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling during their early years.
- The Colorado Rockies began play in 1993 along with Miami (then Florida). Based in Denver, which is by far the highest-altitude MLB city. This is important because the thin, dry air leads to balls flying out of the stadium regularly, leading to massively over-inflated offensive statistics and some very miserable pitchers. This has lessened somewhat in recent years as the local grounds crew began storing game balls in a special humidor in the stadium. Despite a well-earned reputation for on-field mediocrity (they have only three 90-or-more-win seasons and have never finished first in their own division)—although with the Rockies' recent success, in which they came out of nowhere to win the Wild Card twice, the latter time they almost won the division but lost in a tiebreaker to the Dodgers, this might be changing—the Rockies have a strong fan base, which is even more impressive considering that Denver has always been a football-first city (with every other sport at best a distant second); the Rockies actually have the second highest attendance figures in the city, even though the Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Nuggets have both enjoyed far more on-field success. That said, they did have an insane streak in 2007 that saw them win 21 out of 22 games (including a tiebreaker playoff and 7 postseason games in a row), a season that eventually resulted in them making it all the way to the World Series... only to be swept by the Boston Red Sox. The team still holds the all-time single season attendance record, drawing 4,483,350 fans in their inaugural 1993 season at Mile High Stadium.
- The Los Angeles Dodgers: Formerly of Brooklyn ("trolley dodgers", making their name an Artifact Title). In their Brooklyn days, they were one of the best teams in the National League, winning 12 NL pennants and being in contention practically every season, though they couldn't translate all those titles into success in the World Series (in those 12 trips, they only won once, prompting the well-remembered cry of "Wait 'til next year!"). They've been far more successful in LA, winning nine NL pennants and five World Series championships... though it's been three decades and counting since their most recent example of the latter. Noted for their TV/radio announcer Vin Scully (who was The Voice of many a great baseball moment from 1950starting back in Brooklynuntil retiring at the end of his 67th season in 2016), Spanish-language radio announcer Jaime Jarrín (another long runner, who completed his 61st season in 2019), former manager Tommy Lasorda, and Alyssa Milano. A running joke in baseball is that most Dodger fans are just there to be seen and will leave early to beat traffic (after arriving late because of traffic). The Dodgers were also the team of Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's unofficial "color barrier" and remains a revered figure. All Major League teams have retired the number 42 because of Robinson. Besides their ace Clayton Kershaw, their plethora of Cuban players and prospects, and their immense payroll (the highest in MLB since 2014), the Dodgers of the early 21st century are also known for their despised former owners the McCourts, who purchased the team in 2004 with loans against their Boston parking lot empire and used the franchise as a piggy bank, before the MLB commissioner took control away in 2011 during the McCourts' bickering divorce and bankruptcy. The team was finally sold in March 2012 for $2 billion to a consortium that included Earvin "Magic" Johnson, formerly of the Lakers. Their back-to-back World Series losses in 2017 and 2018 gave them the title of "most World Series lost", a title previously held by the Yankees (it was then discovered that both series were marred by sign-stealing).
- The San Diego Padres seemingly only receive national attention for being on the wrong side of history — they've surrendered several historical milestones (gave up Barry Bonds' record-tying 755th home run and Pete Rose's then-record-breakingnote 4,192nd base hit, were no-hit by pitcher Dock Ellis whilst the latter was high on LSD, and are one of only three teams to be no-hit twice by the same pitcher [that pitcher being Tim Lincecum of the Giants, with both no-hitters coming during otherwise poor seasons for him]), collapsed multiple times at the end of the regular season to allow division rivals to key up a Miracle Rally (notably to the Colorado Rockies in 2007 and San Francisco Giants in 2010 — both teams would eventually win the NL pennant, and the Giants won the World Series that year), had few players reach individual success (through the end of the 2018 season, San Diego remains the only team in baseball to have never had a player record a no-hitter, and they were the last team to have a player hit for the cycle as well), and in 2016 became the only team to begin a season by being shut out in their first three games (getting outscored 25-0 by the Los Angeles Dodgers at home). The Padres typically field OK-to-mediocre teams, and few players get much in the way of national attention due to the team's small market and offense-unfriendly stadium. However, they have had some real success in their history, most notably in 1984, when they came back down 2-0 against the notorious loser Cubs and won the NL pennant, and in 1998, when they went 98-64 to win the most games in franchise history, won the NL West, faced not one, but TWO 100-game winners in the postseason in the Astros and Braves and soundly beat them both, and put up an underrated fight against the dominant Yankees, who swept them in the World Series. The only players to really achieve superstardom with the Padres are Hall of Famers Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffmannote . Known for odd public address-related incidents; in the team's very first home game under owner Ray O. Kroc (the same as McDonald's) in 1974, Kroc grabbed the microphone and apologized to the befuddled crowd for the team's poor performance. Later, in 1990, they got Roseanne Arnold to sing the National Anthem for some reason, and she delivered a deliberately horrible rendition that briefly irritated the entire country. Their long-time radio announcer, the late Jerry Coleman, was well known for frequently saying things that just plain didn't make any sense ("It's a high sky out there, and that can get you in trouble if you get caught in the middle of it."), while late television broadcaster Dick Enberg was known to openly root for the opposing team during losing streaks. Also known for their former mascot, the San Diego Chicken, who is the reason most teams have annoying mascots today, and their distinctive uniforms: both the 1970's era brown-and-yellows and the modern camouflage uniforms — which are a tribute to San Diego being America's largest military town — are widely regarded as some of the ugliest ever, though even these have their defenders.
- Padres fans are generally regarded as knowledgeable and loyal, though one might say that's because the team has gone through such a rough time for most of its history that anyone remaining on the bandwagon has to be a fanatic.
- The San Francisco Giants: Another of the classic NL teams, with roots going back to 1883. Most of their first seven decades were spent in New York at the oddly-shaped Polo Grounds in Harlem, where they enjoyed a three-cornered rivalry with the (hated) Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees (whom they faced in six World Series). The team's luster began to fade in the mid-1950s due to mediocre play and a crumbling stadium, but as luck would have it the (hated) Dodgers were moving to sunny California and needed a travel buddy! And so in 1958 they relocated to San Francisco, where they've been ever since. From 1960 to 2000 they played in frigid, windy Candlestick Park, where (supposedly) a pitcher was blown off the mound during the 1961 All-Star Game, and (definitely) Game 3 of the 1989 World Series was interrupted by the Loma Prieta earthquake. After flirting with moves to Silicon Valley and St. Petersburg, Florida, they traded up to spiffy new Pacific Bell (later SBC, then AT&T, and now Oracle) Park in 2000 (with its infamous Triples Alley in right field and its constantly-changing name). The Giants have a proud pedigree of Hall of Fame players - including Carl Hubbell and Mel Ott from before the move, Willie Mays in both cities (but mostly in SF), and Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal after the move - but starting in The '90s, they became best known as the team of controversial superstar Barry Bonds, as he obliterated cherished baseball records at the cost of his reputation. Despite his dominance, the Giants still remained unable to bring a World Series title to San Francisco during the Bonds era. It took a stretch of irrelevance, during which the team hit big on several draft picks — pitchers Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner, third baseman Pablo Sandoval, and catcher Buster Posey — to launch the Giants to their first title since 1954. They won in 2010 by surrounding their homegrown stars with a roster of other teams' castoffs; then, working in more homegrown players and younger free agents. They did it again in 2012 and 2014, creating the Even Year Magic memenote and establishing themselves as one of the powerhouse teams of the first half of The New '10s. But even in disappointing odd-numbered years, the garlic fries are tasty, the park is beautiful, the broadcast teams (former players Kruk and Kuipnote on TV, Hall of Fame honoree Jon Miller and his partner Dave Flemming on radio) are among the league's best, and they can always try to ruin things for the (hated) Dodgers.
- The Giants also hold the distinction of having won more games (over 11,000 as of 2018) than any other MLB franchise, and likely the most games of any professional sports team in North America.