Silent No More: A Declaration for the Forgotten MLB Teams

Chris Murphy@@SeeMurphsTweetsAnalyst IDecember 14, 2009

CHICAGO - APRIL 04: General Manager Ken Williams of the Chicago White Sox shows off his World Series Championship ring during ceremonies prior to the start of a game against the Cleveland Indians on April 4, 2006 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I try to keep it to myself.  I try to just let it slide.  I try to just move on and say, "They will do better next time."

Unfortunately, they never do better. 

I'm tired of the larger sports media outlets simply getting things wrong when publishing "top" lists. 

When I say "wrong," I mean completely ridiculous and not even arguable.  It is one thing to post an opinion that is arguable, but it is another thing to post it when it is just plain wrong and conveniently focused on one part of the country. 

You can say Led Zeppelin is the best rock band in the world, and, although I can argue against that, it is extremely understandable why you have that opinion.  You can't say KISS is the best rock band in the world because that is just plain wrong, and no amount of makeup or fire can make up for their lack of musical skill.  

Attendance does not take the place of logic.   

The fact of the matter is, most of these "top" lists are opinion, but in publishing them in Sports Illustrated or ESPN , they somehow become fact. 

Opinion breeds belief, which blooms fact.  

If a powerful news outlet continues to say something, then it becomes fact, and instead of arguing with it, the viewer just accepts it.  Rival news outlets then feel the need to continue talking about it, due to needing ratings instead of squashing it for the idiotic garbage it actually is.

You may be wondering what has struck me so harshly to vent this way. 

Well, I'd like to thank Sports Illustrated for not only making their championship predictions in every sport laughable, but also for producing the "Top Ten MLB Games of the 2000s" list, which was equally hilarious.  

As sports fans, we all go into a list with examples of the team we cheer for in mind and how they should be/hopefully will be represented. I don't deny this. 

I understand as human beings we all have built-in biases that pop out in one way or another.  But, when your job is to inform the public, your biases must take a backseat to the facts. 

They teach that at collegiate journalism schools, but apparently a degree in journalism is not the road to working in the media anymore. 

News shows would rather see their ratings climb the charts by focusing on only side of a story and jamming their beliefs down the viewer's throats, rather than have logical people tell the audience what is actually happening along with facts and quotes by professionals.  

The point being I don't deny we all have biases, and my viewpoint going into this list of the best MLB games of this decade was that there would be some kind of White Sox representation, considering in this decade they won three division championships, one of which in an exciting 1-0 163rd game, and the 2005 World Series, where every game was decided by one or two runs.  

Although I put the game ahead of the team I cheer for, I am a White Sox fan.  However, you don't have to be stubborn and stupid to be a fan.  It is possible to be logical at the same time.

I assure you, one day logic and fandom will live in harmony instead of impossibility.

Going into this list, I knew I was going to get a mouth-full of 2004, along with the New York Yankees.  It's understandable.  The 2004 ALCS was an amazing series, and the Yankees were in the playoffs nine years of the decade.

I wasn't asking for my team to be the greatest team or have the greatest player, play, or game ever in the history of baseball.  In a decade where the team I cheer for won a World Series, I was simply asking for one game and a little recognition.

I felt some clarity when I saw that the "10th Best MLB Game in the 2000s" was Game Three of the 2001 ALDS between the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees, where one of Derek Jeter's most overrated plays of all-time occurred thanks to the fat, non-roided Giambi's lack of a slide.  

I felt clarity because I knew if the well-paid and respected workers at Sports Illustrated picked a Game Three ALDS game as one of the best games in the entire decade, then surely a Game Two World Series game that involved a go-ahead, two-out, seventh-inning grand-slam along with a walk-off home run in the ninth by a man who had zero home runs the entire season, due to a comeback by the visiting team in the ninth inning with two outs would be on this list.  

Or perhaps the longest World Series game in length of time (five hours and 41 minutes) and innings (14) would be amongst the greatest of these last 10 years.

Or maybe even a 1-0 163rd game between two division rivals where the heroes were two future Hall-of-Famers, who had never won a World Series in the forms of Ken Griffey, Jr., and Jim Thome would crack the list.

Certainly, the writers at Sports Illustrated did not solely pick one of the top MLB GAMES based on the fact one player made one play.  Imagine if an Oakland Athletic shortstop made that play.  Do you think that game would be included in one of the best games ever in a decade?

As I continued through the list seeing the Bartman game for the Cubs and six games involving New York, I realized these lists are not picked with the idea of the game of baseball in mind or even logic, but rather by who is playing or what the story is.

They do not care about the actual baseball involved, but rather the name on the front and back of the jersey along with the history of it. 

Do you think if a Marlins' fan instead of a Cubs' fan had interfered with a play hurting the Marlins' chances at a trip to the World Series, that game would have been listed?  That game was a great game, but if you take away the Bartman and Cubs factor involved, it was simply a good comeback mixed with awful coaching and an error. 

One of the best games of the decade, however?  Probably not.

Had David Ortiz hit the two-out, seventh-inning, go-ahead grand-slam or Derek Jeter hit the ninth-inning walk-off home run in Game Two of the 2005 World Series, then that game would have certainly been included. 

Instead, Paul Konerko and Scott Podsednik did and here we are forgetting a great baseball game—not a great team, a great player making one play, but a great game.

Had the Yankees or Red Sox been playing in the longest World Series game by length in Game Three of the 2005 World Series, then that certainly would have made the list. 

Instead, the White Sox played in it, and it's forgotten.

Had Derek Jeter, not Juan Uribe, made a diving catch into the crowd in the ninth inning of the clinching game of the 2005 World Series, you better believe it would make every list imaginable. 

Instead, due to the jersey Uribe wears, Derek Jeter making a catch, then tripping into the stands against the Red Sox in a July game is not only all over the Internet outside of the Yankees' Web site, but all over top play lists and even in plaque form.

It is unfortunate for the other 26 teams and their fans that they do not have a shot at making opinionated lists of the greatest plays, hits, catches, or games no matter what they do.

There is no reveling in the wins of the unnoticed teams, but rather just the small smirk that comes from the fan who remembers them happening. 

The fans of the Rays, Orioles, Blue Jays, White Sox, Tigers, Twins, Royals, Indians, Angels, Athletics, Rangers, Mariners, Nationals, Braves, Marlins, Phillies, Cardinals, Pirates, Brewers, Astros, Reds, Rockies, Giants, Padres, and Diamondbacks have proof great moments happened involving their teams, thanks to their own two eyes, and do not need ESPN or Sports Illustrated to list them or jam them down viewers' throats.

A great play is a great play no matter who is making it. A great game is a great game no matter who is playing in it.  Juan Uribe can make a better play in a bigger situation than Derek Jeter. The White Sox can play in a more exciting, meaningful game than the New York Yankees.

Baseball is about any player on any team coming up in a big spot at any time. 

Do not let media outlets judge what team was better or what spot was bigger by some list or some fake awards show.    

Keep trying, Sports Illustrated and ESPN.  Maybe one day you'll understand and get it right.            


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