The 2020 MLB Season almost didn’t happen. That’s a fact. So straight out the gate let’s just be glad that we had baseball in any form during the pandemic. Did it go off without a hitch? No, but the league pushed through and in the end, we had a champion. More importantly, we had a champion that felt deserving, leaving with a ring that felt earned, after a series that was hard-fought. That alone is enough to be thankful for.
However, in the name of Thanksgiving we’re going back for seconds. Rather than look at the overall picture and just be thankful for the season, we thought today would be a good time to reflect upon one thing for each MLB team to be thankful for.
I know it doesn’t feel like the most cheery of days, with so many of us separated from loved ones. So let’s take a moment to be thankful for the small things.
The New York Yankees
For a brief moment, you can be thankful for your 27 World Series rings, even if you weren’t alive to see them won. Now that you’ve gotten that out of the system, let’s talk about your something to be thankful for: Gerrit Cole.
Not only was Gerrit Cole on the Yankees in 2020, he was great. So great in fact, that he only missed out on being an AL Cy Young finalist by one single vote. Not that he would have won, but still, that’s an accomplishment.
And even better for all you Yankee fans, you’re gonna have Gerrit Cole on your team for a very long time. While the rest of your rotation might be a mess, you can count on your Ace for the next few years.
The Pittsburgh Pirates
While you can certainly be thankful that another season is over for the Pirates, Bucs fans actually have something to be thankful for: Ke’Bryan Hayes.
Sure Hayes only played in 24 games in 2020, but still. The kid showed flashes of brilliance and will only continue to get better. I mean, the kid out-hit Gregory Polanco, which isn’t saying much in 2020, but that’s still saying something.
And sure, one player does not a playoff team make, but after this string of awful summers in the hot sun on the Allegheny, Hayes is the light at the end of the tunnel.
The Baltimore Orioles
The Baltimore Sun recently ran an article with this title:
“After ‘extremely frustrating year,’ Orioles’ Chris Davis open to mechanical changes to salvage end of tenure”
That means two things, Chris Davis knows he has hit rock bottom and is open to change and the Chris Davis contract is coming to an end. Both of those things are excellent.
The Miami Marlins
Well now, that was some 2020 season, right? I mean, let’s be real, none of us thought the Fish would make it to the postseason, let alone the NLDS. And now look at them! If there was ever an indication that an organization was heading in the right direction this is it. And now with the naming of your new General Manager, the sky’s the limit in Miami!
The Boston Red Sox
Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it’s over.
The New York Mets
The Wilpons are gone and that’s the best news anyone could have expected from the Mets in 2020. Seriously. The Wilpons have been absolutely terrible for this organization over the last decade.
But now we’ve got Uncle Steve, and he’s going to bring us to the Promised Land. That’s not a prediction, that’s a fact. It’s going to happen.
The Baseball Team in Cleveland
When Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer were traded, things began to feel pretty bleak. I mean, how is this team going to end their World Series drought without their two pitching studs, right? Well, Shane Bieber’s not going anywhere anytime soon. The BBWAA Awards are normally filled with heated debate and lots of speculation as to who’ll take home the year’s top awards.
In 2020, no one was going to take the AL Cy Young from Shane Bieber. No way. The kid was LIGHTS OUT.
The Atlanta Braves
You were so close. SO CLOSE. An NLCS appearance is nothing to shake a stick at. That’s a success, and one that’s been in the making for many years now. And this Braves team is YOUNG. With a rotation led by Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Charlie Morton and Ian Anderson, this Braves team is poised to terrorize the NL East for a long time.
That statement is true even before you start talking about their lineup. That’s how good they are.
The Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim)
Mike Trout. It will always be Mike Trout. On a nightly basis, the greatest baseball player of this generation wears your uniform, plays in your ballpark and is the face of your franchise. What more could you want? That sounds pretty perfect to me.
The Washington Nationals
While 2020 wasn’t the title defense you had hoped for, 2021 offers new and exciting opportunities for the Nationals to get back on the horse. I mean, Juan Soto is aging like a fine wine that’s too expensive to order. Strasberg and Scherzer are still dominant. Things are looking up ahead of next season!
The Minnesota Twins
Sure, losing your billionth consecutive playoff game sucks eggs, but in the words of the Little Giants, “that still leaves one time.” And the 1991 World Series might have been the greatest one of them all. In fact, their 2009 Game 163 might not have been a playoff game, but it was still an instant classic. So while the present might not be what you hoped for, the past can provide some serotonin to get you through the winter.
The Arizona Diamondbacks
Teal and Purple throwbacks. That’s it. They are incredible and should always remain in the rotation.
The Kansas City Royals
We all knew 2020 wasn’t going to be the year. That writing was on the wall early on. But what 2020 gave to Royals fans, was the chance to give Alex Gordon a hero’s farewell. Looking back at the 2014 World Series appearance and their World Series win in 2015, it’s impossible to refute the fact that Alex Gordon was a key component to both series.
If Alex Gordon doesn’t hit a home run in Game 1 to tie the ballgame late, the 2015 World Series looks a lot different. And it was Alex Gordon who was 90 feet away from sending Game 7 of the 2014 World Series to extra innings. Alex Gordon was there for all the big moments, and he got the sendoff he deserved.
The Cincinnati Reds
Trevor Bauer just won the Cy Young, and while he might not be on the roster come Spring Training, he’ll still be the first Reds pitcher to win the award. Don’t let that accomplishment slip away as he flirts with other teams in free agency. Relish in it. You were there for all of it. A Reds pitcher won the Cy Young. That’s a fact.
The Toronto Blue Jays
Cavan Biggio. Bo Bichette. Vlad Guerrero, Jr.
Need I say more? Fine, I’ll go around the horn one more time.
Cavan Biggio. Bo Bichette. Vlad Guerrero, Jr.
The San Diego Padres
On this day, surrounded by a bounty of blessings and some good food on the table, remember this. On June 4, 2016, the San Diego Padres traded James Shields and cash to the Chicago White Sox for Erik Johnson and Fernando Tatis, Jr. That wasn’t a dream. That actually happened. The Padres turned a guy who serves up dingers, into a guy who hits 3-0 Grand Slams.
The Texas Rangers
It super sucks that Globe Life Park wasn’t able to have the inaugural season you might have hoped for. However, a World Series was won within its walls in 2020, so that’s a pretty good omen for next year, right? Right.
The Colorado Rockies
Larry Walker was a Hall of Famer in 2020, and while he might not have gotten his ceremony, he’s still going to get a plaque. That’s fantastic. The Rockies will be represented in Cooperstown. That may seem like an insignificant fact, but remember, Vlad Guerrero was the first Angel to enter the Hall, and he got in within the last three years. This kind of accomplishment shouldn’t go uncelebrated.
The Houston Astros
Look, most of these things you can be thankful for are generally happy and heartfelt things. Except this one. The Astros didn’t have to deal with the immediate blowback from the Sign Stealing Scandal. For a year they were spared the boos from millions of fans across the country.
The Chicago Cubs
Javy. Baez. Tags.
The Seattle Mariners
Kyle Lewis is going to be big, but I don’t need to tell you that. However, it should be noted that the last time the Mariners began a decade with a Rookie of the Year win, they followed it up with one of the greatest seasons of all-time and another Rookie of the Year winner. Can the Mariners repeat history? Who knows?
Also, Jon Bois did an incredible series on your franchise, and that’s the real 2020 win.
The Milwaukee Brewers
That Devin Williams is something, huh? Just completely nasty. Simply disgusting. The guy was absolutely lights out. In his 22 appearances in 2020, Williams finished with a 0.33 ERA, 0.630 WHIP, 17.7 K/9, and an utterly preposterous 1375 ERA+. Now, all of those numbers are already enough to make a Rookie of the Year case for Williams, but we’re going smaller. Let’s talk about one earned run.
Now if you think we’re talking about a specific at-bat or blown lead, we’re not. Devin Williams only gave up one run in his 27 innings. That’s simply astounding. There’s no other way to look at that number than to just shake your head and laugh. It’s insane.
Even more insane is the fact that he gave up that run in his second appearance of the season on July 27th. That means that Devin Williams held opposing teams scoreless for two full months. That’s total dominance. That’s criminal levels of suffocation right there.
The Chicago White Sox
The future is here, y’all. The future. Is here. With Eloy Jimenez being joined by Nick Madrigal and Luis Robert, the young bats of the White Sox farm system have arrived in style. Their young arms aren’t too bad either, with Lucas Giolito tossing a no-hitter this past season. That’s good stuff. That’s GOOD STUFF.
The Philadelphia Phillies
The bullpen can’t hurt you in the offseason. The bullpen can’t hurt you in the offseason.
The Oakland Athletics
Sure the offseason was a bit of a disappointment. You always want to knock out a division rival in ALDS, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. However, the A’s did it without Matt Chapman, who was a big part of their offense in the regular season. So, there’s still a lot that this team can do next year. You got out of the Wild Card round this year. Baby steps. Next year, you try to go further.
The St. Louis Cardinals
While some might be partial to the Phillies throwbacks, the powder blue crown belongs to the St. Louis Cardinals. There is simply nothing like it. and thankfully for all of us the Kings of the Powder Blue alternates reigned once more in 2020.
The Detroit Tigers
We got to see Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize pitch in the Big Leagues. We have yet to see Matt Manning make his debut. The Tigers might be in the basement of the league, but that’s going to change sooner rather than later. The Motor City Kitties are on the rise!
The San Francisco Giants
Joey Bart is up and behind the plate, which is good. Mike Yastrzemski is turning into a franchise player. Kevin Gausman just got a big one-year deal. Mauricio Dubon is working out in centerfield. This team was not supposed to threaten the NL for a postseason spot. And yet, they almost made it. That’s good. The Giants rebuild might take less time than we all thought.
The Tampa Bay Rays
World Series appearance? Check. Chance to repeat as AL East Champs? Check. The Tampa Bay Rays have all the momentum in the world. Hopefully, they can spin that into some support for a new ballpark in Tampa.
The Los Angeles Dodgers
After a wild, back-and-forth World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers erased a 32 year World Series Championship drought, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2020 World Series.
It was not the longest World Series drought in baseball history, but given the recent history of this team, it felt the heaviest. Having failed to win rings in their previous two trips, the Dodgers came into the 2020 season looking to do something they hadn’t done since 1988: win the last game of the season.
In 2020, they did. And that’s something to be thankful for.
From all of us at The Turf, stay safe, and have a great Thanksgiving!
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