Ranking the most likable and least likable teams

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Brisbee does it over at SB Nation, and it’s hard to quibble with the least likable part of his list. People love to hate the successful teams, the rich teams and especially the rich and successful teams. And I think he is right on the money when it comes to the general vibe of the fandom having an impact too. Check out his comment about the Cardinals alleged Best Fans in Baseball. Had me nodding.

I don’t know if the teams on the other end of the spectrum are best described as “most likable,” though. I think teams fall into three categories: (1) your team; (2) teams you hate; and (3) teams you rarely if ever think about. The Mariners never hit my radar screen and are probably the least offensive to me at all, but that doesn’t make me like them even a little bit.

Anyway, the list is still a good one. As long as everyone who reads it realizes and acknowledges that my rooting interests are superior to yours. And as long as you all feel the same way in turn.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.