Regardless of your thoughts on the roots of Thanksgiving (I personally am against the holiday as it was originally formed but have come to like what it represents in modern society), it is that time of year. In that respect, I figured it was a good time for a more lighthearted article about the teams I am thankful to cheer on every season. I don’t have a favorite team in every league, but I do have a favorite team in a bunch of leagues. I understand lots of writers try and divorce themselves from fandom, but for me, fandom is a major driving force in enjoying baseball at a deeper level.
Here are my teams, with a few quick words about why they’re my team,
American Association – St. Paul Saints
I can recall a project I was working on where I was compiling regular season and playoff records together. I was going year by year and league by league. That project stalled out long ago, but it caused me to do a lot of reading on the Saints teams of old and when I found out the team still existed in the AA they became my team.
Australian Baseball League – Brisbane Bandits (?)
I’ll be honest, I became a Bandits fan for two reasons, 1) the gold uniforms and 2) Ryan Searle. The uniforms are awesome, and Searle is a complete hoss of a dude who is fun to watch pitch. Unfortunately, the Bandits recently announced a partnership with the Milwaukee Brewers and I’m not sure I can support any team that is associated with the Brewers that closely.
Chinese Professional Baseball League – Rakuten Monkeys
Before they were Rakuten, they were the Lamigo Monkeys. The Lamigo version of the team had an amazing mascot Victor the Space Ape. As soon as I saw that giant lug working the crowd I knew I had my team. Add in the star power of Wang Po-Jung and there was no looking back.
Korea Baseball Organization – Hanwha Eagles
I spent most of my adult life loving a team that never wins, and of all my unaffiliated teams it is the Eagles who come close to that team to be named later. They are very rarely good, but when they are it feels special and almost unexpected. I know it’s silly to want that feeling from a baseball team, but every once in awhile the Eagles deliver a season that makes me happy, that’s been good enough for me so far.
Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana – Estrellas Orientales
My reason for liking Orientales is quite simple, their uniforms are amazing. Green is my favorite color and there’s something about the green color scheme that the Orientales use that greatly appeals to me. They’re fun to watch, and I’m deeply invested in them now, but man, that green.
Liga de Béisbol Profesional Nacional – Leones de León
One day I turned on an LBPN game and the Leones were playing. I had no reason to like them more than the other team, but I decided they were my team and it’s been that way ever since. Sometimes fandom is that rudimentary.
Liga Mexicana de Béisbol – Guerreros de Oaxaca
It took me a while to choose an LMB team, but I settled on the Guerreros because they had cool uniforms and at the time I started watching played a loose and wide-open style that I loved, or in simpler terms, they stole bases all the time. They don’t steal as much anymore, but the fandom has stuck.
Liga Mexicana del Pacífico – Yaquis de Obregón
Leave it to me to pick a team whose games don’t start until 9:30-10:00 PM Central Correct Time. Alas, pick the Yaquis I did. Their uniforms are a boss flavor of blue, Yaquis Stadium is gorgeous, and my first year watching LMP they went deep into the playoffs with plenty of razor-close games. That’s a recipe for me liking your team.
Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional – Caribes de Anzoátegui
I’ll make this one easy for anyone reading along: Willians Astudillo.
National League – Chicago Cubs
I grew up a Cubs fan, pushed towards the team by a Grandmother who I adored. Cubs fandom has been in my blood and in my family for as long as I have been alive. I was hooked before my first trip to Wrigley Field, but the team’s stadium being a cathedral of baseball doesn’t hurt.
Pacific League – Hokkaido Nippon-ham Fighters
I started watching in 2016 when Shohei Ohtani was at the height of his fame in Japan. As soon as I saw what he could do the Fighters were my team. All you need in fandom is Ohtani, we all know that.
Serie Nacional de Béisbol – Leñadores de Las Tunas
This was actually the toughest of all the leagues to hammer down. There are so many teams in SNB that would be worthy of someone’s fandom and a lot of them appeal to me for different reasons. Las Tunas has that special combo of a uniform color scheme that I love, playing in a stadium that looks great, and making it to Serie del Caribe the first time I was able to watch that series.
That’s my fandom, though I’m sure more teams will be added as I dig deeper into other leagues. These teams don’t always treat me well and I can be hyper-critical of them at times. However, they emotionally attach me to every league in a way that is very important to me. Without an emotional connection, I’m not sure baseball serves a purpose. These teams offer that connection and for that I am thankful.
Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – Unknown