MLB.tv is in its 12th season of existence, a wonderful service and piece of technology that allows fans to watch their favorite team no matter their geographic location.
That is what and how MLB.tv should primarily be used – to follow your favorite team. So do that, watch them with hope in your heart.
But it also enables hardcore baseball fans to watch all the other, out-of-market games. They can track their fantasy players or watch their second favorite team, provided their parents did a poor enough job raising them to allow for such trite weakness.
While MLB.tv allows for a mosaic mode to watch multiple games at once, this is for degenerates or crazy people only.
Most people want to pick one game and watch it. Enjoy it. Get into it. But which game?
That’s a matter of personal preference. If you need some guidance, allow this list to determine the ten teams you most want to AVOID on your MLB.tv surfing, starting with the least desirable option in baseball right now.
1. Minnesota Twins
The Big Ticket: Joe Mauer. This is both a blessing and a curse.
TV Ballpark Aesthetics: Despite the overall beauty of the new ground in Minnesota, this park lacks much punch in broadcast. The cardboard background and camera perch on top of a mountain in the Yukon makes watching Twins’ games a slog.
The Skinny: The Twins will be good soon but they’re bad now. Pretty, pretty bad. And more than bad, they’re boring. All their good prospects are still a little way from the big leagues, so it’s the Kevin Corriea Experience and not much else until Alex Meyer and friends arrive. To say nothing of Byron Buxton…
For Fans Of: the Minnesota Twins, barely
2. Houston Astros
The Big Ticket: lol
TV Ballpark Aesthetics: Not bad, all things being equal. Like many parks with retractable roofs, the lighting at Minute Maid Park gets a little bit morgueish when the trap is shut. Plus, the hill in center field is infuriating, WHY IS THERE A HILL IN CENTERFIELD?!?
The Skinny: While there is nothing admirable about the way the Astros have gone about their business, it is nothing if not interesting. Their farm system should start bearing fruit any time now, so maybe watching George Springer quickens your pulse? Jared Cosart is something to consider as well.
FFO: The Process. Podcasts. Masochism. The Philadelphia 76ers.
3. Toronto Blue Jays
TV Ballpark Aesthetics: Not the worst in their own division, but close to as bad as it gets. To you like blue chairs? Have all the blue chairs IN THE WORLD.
The Skinny: The Blue Jays could be good or they could be very, very bad. This makes for compelling viewing, ordinarily. But outside of a quickie Buehrle start, things in Blue Jays land feel a little grim, even if reality suggests otherwise.
FFO: Cultural signifiers, slo-mo knuckleballs, sporadic outbursts of home run power.
4. Chicago White Sox
TV Ballpark Aesthetics: Nothing out of the ordinary, but you MUST AT ALL TIMES select the away broadcast. YOU MUST.
The Skinny: The White Sox are rebuilding in their very Pale Hosian way. They have some intriguing pieces that don’t exactly jump off the page but they’ll still end up winning more games than any of us realize.
FFO: Angles, elbows, Hawk-based misery
5. San Diego Padres
TV Ballpark Aesthetics: beautiful if laconic and/or comatose.
The Skinny: The Padres might be good one day. They might not be great but they could easily win more games than they lose…eventually. There aren’t a lot of sexy prospects or superstars in their mix which takes away from their MLB.tv bumpability.
FFO: Falling asleep to the strains of Dick Enberg, solid-average prospects with low ceilings, using specialty coffees to describe colors.
6. Tampa Bay Rays
TV Ballpark Aesthetics: Miserable. A bad spot with bad atmosphere.
The Skinny: The Rays are a good team. Very good. But watching a televised game at the Trop is not fit for man or beast.
An underrated downside of watching the Rays? Pitching changes. Pitching changes with a frequency you could not possibly imagine. Another downside: there is probably a valuable contributor on the Rays that your favorite team cast aside for nothing. That burns real good.
FFO: Tactics, cowbells, mood lighting, victories.
7. Milwaukee Brewers
The Big Ticket: Ryan Braun and the cycle of self-righteousness that follows him around.
TV Ballpark Aesthetics: A mixed bag. Again a convertible stadium that suffers when the roof is shut, giving off a “are they playing underwater” vibe. But Bernie Brewer’s slide and bandboxery of the facility make for a good time.
The Skinny: The Brewers are the National League White Sox. Good or bad? Heaven forbid they end up in the middle, as that is what lands them on this list. Watching Braun get booed on the road might sate those lusting for blood but this list isn’t about hate-watching.
FFO: Moral indignation, grown men on slides, bratwurst.
8. Oakland Athletics
The Big Ticket: They made a movie about this team, you know.
TV Ballpark Aesthetic: Tomb-like but only with the sound off. A’s fans more than pull their weight in overcoming the obvious deficiencies of the ballpark. It can be hard to tell where outfield fences end and home run territory begins, leading to confusion.
The Skinny: As an East Coaster, West Coast games are the most MLB.tv friendly. Many baseball junkies can watch their favorite team and then dial up a Western division club for a nightcap. The A’s simply don’t move the needle like some others in their time zone. Sad but true.
They’re good, of course. Watch them and try to figure out how they pull it off. Then let me know.
FFO: platoons, sewage, civil disobedience.
9. Los Angeles Angels
The Big Ticket: Ummm…
TV Ballpark Aesthetics: Not bad, really. The Big A actually looks quite nice on TV. The Angels’ home whites are crisp and the crowd never disappoints.
The Skinny: The Angels are not a telenovella so tuning in specifically to have your heart broken is not ideal. But watching Mike Trout and the non-Trouts will do just that. It is not good for the soul.
FFO: Stars and scrubs, Scioscialism, eating your feelings.
10. New York Mets
TV Ballpark Aesthetics: Not bad, mind the floating plastic bags and empty seats as the entire ballpark waits in line at Shake Shack.
The Skinny: Rather than watching a team for its starting pitching, watch the Mets for their bullpen. If you see the Mets in a close game late, you better dial up the Mets because something SPECTACULAR is about to happen.
You probably know about David Wright. You likely recognize him as a good player and then he will retire and six years after that, he’ll end up in the Hall of Fame and you’ll think “really?”
Then you’ll look at his numbers are realize you missed out on a great, great player. So watch David Wright when you get the chance.
FFO: Power pitchers, tire fires, rubbernecking, squandered greatness.