Richard Nixon certainly got some things wrong. But one thing he got really, really right was having an Enemies List. Regardless of whether the right people were on it (no politics!), the idea is genius. Across so many dimensions of my life, I try to be level-headed, but baseball is the perfect outlet for my id to go wild. The stakes are low enough that I can be like Betty Draper:
For several years, I’ve been keeping a Baseball Enemies List, and I highly encourage everyone to do the same. In the spirit of spreading the idea, I asked Eric to cede FPF to me this week so that I could share my 2022 changes. Before we start, I want to make one thing clear though. The Baseball Enemies List is purely for pettiness. This is for people I love to hate, not for people I have actual objections to. For example, you won’t see Phil Nevin or Yuli Gurriel on my List. The racists, the DV guys, the beanballers—that’s something different.
So without further ado, here are the 2022 changes to my Baseball Enemies List.
Addition: Tom Hallion
Offense: Making the Mariners play through a storm
This one’s a little sad because for years, I loved Tom Hallion. You probably remember him telling Terry Collins that his ass was in the jackpot. And his emphatic strike-three call was delicious.
But, as ever, the Mariners had to take a tour of the roofless midwestern stadiums in April this year. (MLB’s schedulers are original members of the Baseball Enemies List.) And on April 13, Tom Hallion refused to call this game.
The Mariners and White Sox are playing through a monsoon tonight pic.twitter.com/pAUeL9q0wg— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) April 14, 2022
It was almost worth it for how good John’s recap was, but this was ridiculous. I firmly believe that the Mariners lost this game because of the rain.
Something not likely pictured on television... the Chicago grounds crew working like mad in between innings when White Sox coming out to the field, but for the Mariners... standing water, meh... hang with 'em.— Angie Mentink (@AngieMentink) April 14, 2022
Tom Hallion retired this year, so I don’t even get to yell at my TV when he’s officiating anymore. One year earlier, and I would have toasted your career, but instead, you’re on The List.
Addition: Sheldon Neuse
Offense: Breaking Ty France
Ty’s wRC+ before this? 157. After coming back from the ensuing IL stint? 95.
Addition: Yordan Álvarez
Offense: He knows what he did
Addition: Trevor Story
Offense: Getting right against the Mariners
Trevor Story was the last free-agent shortstop to sign in the 2021-22 offseason, and thus the biggest tease and final stab through my heart. So he was already teetering in my esteem. But what got him on the list was this: before facing the Mariners, he was really struggling, with his 72 wRC+ making it seem like maybe the Mariners had dodged a bullet in not signing him. And then he went six for 18 with five home runs against Seattle from May 19-22, and he ended the year with 2.4 fWAR. I had to recap the game where he hit three of those homers. It was a brutal night.
Addition: José Urquidy
Offense: Concussing Kyle Lewis
I should love José Urquidy—he’s one of the only Astros pitchers that the Mariners have had consistent success against, last year giving up a .324/.384/.566 line against our boys. But this, though unintentional, was unforgiveable.
Lewis was out for about a month with a concussion after this errant pitch. We love Kyle Lewis, and he’s been through enough. Touch him and you’ll be a permanent enemy. (By the way, this is why intentional beanballers get my actual hatred. This pitch was only 77 mph—-it doesn’t take much to ruin someone’s life because your ass got red.)
Addition: Manuel Margot
Offense: Stealing Jarred Kelenic’s thunder
Jarred Kelenic was struggling (evergreen statement, I know). But then, during a nationally televised game, he had a huge moment, with a pinch-hit, eighth-inning home run to reverse the score from 5-4 Rays to 6-5 Mariners. On the terrific Apple TV broadcast, Katie Nolan captured my feelings, saying, “A moment like that doesn’t solve all your problems, but it feels like it could for a night.”
But then Manuel Margot hit a three-run shot in the top of the ninth, and I’ll hate him forever for it.
Removal: Justin Verlander(!)
Redemption: Moving to the NL East
No one’s more surprised about this than me. Verlander was a classic Baseball Enemies List member—constantly beating up on the Mariners and being smarmy about it. But the truth is he’s the best pitcher since Pedro, and I don’t enjoy hating him. Now that he’s no longer going to be a pest for the Mariners, and by his own choice no less, I can root for him in peace. Two additional mitigating facts weigh in favor of his removal. First, his worst offense was his smug tweet about Robinson Canó’s 2018 PED pop.
Aaaand excuse coming in 3..... 2...... 1......— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) May 15, 2018
And while it’s rich for a member of the 2017 Astros to have this take, subsequent events have vindicated the merits of his anti-Canó stance. Second, even though ALDS Game 1 ended the way it did, it helps that my last memory of the Mariners facing Astro Verlander was them beating him into submission in the highest stakes game they ever faced him.
Who’s your biggest enemy among my 2022 additions?
This poll is closed
Does Justin Verlander deserve clemency?
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Now please, let your inner Nixon sing. I’m dying to hear—who’s on your Baseball Enemies List?