As we write this, we're four days into the baseball season and we already have teams canceling games due to COVID-19. Off to a bad start.
While the season is going to be strange for all teams involved, there's something revolutionary happening in the National League—the arrival of the Designated Hitter. Gone are the days of having to watch a pitcher swing helplessly at three straight pitches. But also gone are the days of double switches and lineup manipulation, the head games that National League managers are forced to play with a pitcher hitting. Some people are really upset about the DH rule, others, like myself, are just happy that both leagues will be doing the same thing. If the American League got rid of the DH, I'd feel the same way. It just seems dumb that there is a discrepancy between the two leagues, and for this season, there won't be. I consider that a win.
On Friday we looked at tattoos from the American League, so now we're looking at the National League. Enjoy.
National League East
When I was growing up, I watched more Braves games than any other team. This may seem odd coming from a Boston Red Sox fan born in San Francisco, but through the magic of cable TV, every single Braves game was on TBS. And, for a lot of that time, they sucked. Hard. But they were the only team on national TV all the time, so I watched. This is why I know names like Jeff Blauser, Zane Smith and Oddibe McDowell. This knowledge has yet to benefit me.
Born in 1993 as the Florida Marlins, the Miami Marlins have won the World Series twice, and been god-awful almost every other year. This year will not be one of those few World Series years, I can guarantee that. Basically the entire team currently has COVID-19. They're stranded in Philadelphia and unable to return back to Miami to play today. This is not a good start to a season.
New York Mets
Mr. Met rules. I'm not a huge mascot guy, but there's something special about the simplicity behind Mr. Met. He's just a dude in a Mets jersey with an enormous baseball for a head. That's it. Simple. Beautiful. Long live, Mr. Met.
While we praise Mr. Met, allow us to throw some shade to the Phanatic. He's got that weird tongue that shoots out, he rides an ATV, he nearly killed Tommy Lasorda. Simply put, he tries too hard! Not cool, Phanatic. Not cool.
The Nats are the reigning World Series champions. They seemed to be getting things together for the last couple of years, but last year they finally did it. It's always fun to see a franchise win for the first time, particularly in a city that has rarely experienced joy stemming from a baseball team. They deserve to spend some time relaxing.
National League Central
Here's a bit of unsolicited advice: don't live a block away from Wrigley Field unless you want drunk Cubs fans pissing on your garbage cans 81 times a year. I used to really like the Cubs, then I moved in about a block down Waveland from Wrigley. The influx of bozos that came with every single home game was a nightmare. I knew it would be bad, but I truly no idea how bad it would be. That being said, Wrigley Field used to be a very beautiful place to watch a game, back before the bleacher expansion and the gaudy video screens were put in. Everything that made Wrigley special was commodified or destroyed. But I'm just a bitter old man, so here's a cool Cubs tattoo featuring Harry Caray.
The Big Red Machine was one of the most fearsome teams to ever be put together, not to mention one of the most easily hated teams. I wasn't even born when they were winning titles, but damn to I hate them. Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench... just a bunch of players that you love when they're on your team, and despise when they aren't.
All uniforms were better in the '80s, this is a known fact. And no '80s uniform was better than that of the Milwaukee Brewers. The logo is simply perfect. It's a glove with a ball. No wait, it's an M and a B. Oh shit, it's in the shape of the state of Wisconsin. If you are ever in Milwaukee, go to a Brewers game and tailgate in the parking lot for hours beforehand. It's one of life's greatest pleasures.
When we started this with the American League tattoos, I swore that I wasn't going to include any tattoos that were a mixture of different teams. Then I got to the Pirates, and it seems like if you have a sports tattoo in Pittsburgh there is a mandate that you must also include the Steelers and Penguins. There are so many of these! We need more Roberto Clemente or Dave Parker wearing a mask tattoos.
St. Louis Cardinals
Did you know that the Cardinals had the best fans in baseball? I haven't been able to verify this information, but I have been told it ad nauseam by broadcasters for the last 30+ years, so it must be true. It seems pretty suspect to me. It's a known fact that Busch Beer is the worst beer, so shouldn't a team that plays in Busch Stadium also be the worst? That seems correct.
National League West
The Arizona Diamondbacks have a pool inside their stadium. As in, you can go swimming while watching a baseball game. If this is what you need to do in order to create buzz around a baseball team, then rest assured, the team is probably pretty crappy.
Everything I know about how altitude affects the flight of objects I learned because of the Colorado Rockies. I've delved into all the science behind why the ball flies out of the park in Denver, not to mention looking into all of the ways that science could be used to keep the ball in the stadium, like storing the balls in a humidor. I've spent a lot of time marveling at the lengths the team has gone to in order to try to limit the number of home runs they'll give up at home. It really makes you wonder if the altitude is the main reason why the team has never had a very good pitcher, or if they're just bad at putting together a baseball team. It's probably a little of both.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Manny Ramirez did not spend a lot of time with the Dodgers—only 223 games—but he made a huge impression on the team from the minute he showed up in L.A. He hit .522 in the 2008 playoffs, forever endearing himself to Dodger fans. Mannywood may have only lasted a couple of years, but they were wonderful times that are well deserving of a tattoo tribute.
San Diego Padres
San Diego, as Ron Burgundy has told us, was discovered by Germans in 1904. 'm not going to tell you where the name comes from, you already know that. The Padres were founded in 1969 and in that time they have won only a single World Series game. They've actually only been to the World Series twice. They are... not great.
San Francisco Giants
Getting a tattoo featuring the name of a stadium is a pretty risky move these days. Corporate sponsorship never stays consistent. Since moving into Pacific Bell Park in 2000, the Giants' home has been called SBC Park, AT&T Park and now Oracle Park. It's a gorgeous stadium with one of the coolest features of any ballpark, McCovey Cove, but it does have an identity crisis. Although maybe that's for the best, Candlestick Park stuck to one name and consistently sucked.
That's it! We did it! Enjoy the already incredibly strange 2020 baseball season while you can, who knows how much longer it will last.