“You don’t love me. You love the idea of me.”

It’s become almost a cliche phrase at this point that gets dropped in over-emotional high school breakups or drama movies and TV programming. The line gets dropped because the potential of what the ideal scenario could become in a relationship is merely imaginary and unfortunately never came to fruition.

It’s time for us to break up with these baseball teams that give us that feeling. The teams that have potential that we talk ourselves into that we love the idea of. We’re almost to the All-Star Break and these teams have done nothing but get our hopes up with their potential only for us to be let down time after time. Let’s have a moment of catharsis and accept that this is who they really are and break it off.

Miami Marlins (38-40)

The Marlins WOULD be so much fun if they were competitive based off of their roster on paper. Oh, the personalities! They’ve got Jazz Chisholm Jr. as the budding 24 year-old star shortstop with blue hair, electric energy, and incredible power for his size, two mammoth human beings that hit massive homers in Jesus Aguilar and Jorge Soler, and a rotation full of promising young pitching talent in Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, Trevor Rogers, and the injured Sixto Sanchez and Jesus Lazardo. All of the stars are so young and full of promise that you see what they’re building and you completely talk yourself into a high-ceiling with the way their roster has been competently constructed.

That isn’t the reality of this Marlins team just yet, unfortunately.

They’re 4th place in a loaded NL East, and they’re about in the middle of the pack in almost every statistical category. They just simply haven’t done anything well yet or put everything together as a young team that’s still learning, and now with Chisholm likely out with an injury until the All-Star Break, the National League is too loaded for them to recover. It’s time to break up.

Seattle Mariners (40-42)

The Mariners captured lightning in a bottle and our hearts last year when they nearly went on a run to make the postseason despite their little scoring. They have the single longest postseason drought in the four major sports, so after an incredibly active offseason in which they signed a Cy Young Winner, traded for Jesse Winker, Eugenio Suarez, Adam Frazier, and called up top prospect Julio Rodriguez to pair Jarred Kelenic, Kyle Lewis, and Logan Gilbert as their young core, they were the darlings that looked poised to make a run in the AL West with the Astros. 

After a slow start to the year, we came up with excuses after excuses. Kelenic got sent down after an abysmal start to figure things out. We thought Jesse Winker and Eugenio just needed to get adjusted to hitting in a pitcher’s ballpark to get hot; the runs would eventually come. The train has officially left the station for this team’s season it would appear; while they hovered around or under .500 all season, when they faced off against the division rival Angels in a tough spot, it felt like Mike Trout single-handedly slit their throats to propel them into the grave as they were both fighting for their lives. Trout hit 5 homers in those 5 games, and the Mariners are now 40-42 and allowing a bottom-5 ERA in baseball. With their only major win streaks coming against teams like the A’s or the Orioles, it just feels as if they’ve never been able to achieve real momentum.

Los Angeles Angels (37-44)

Speaking of disappointing AL West teams…

It’s a tale that has become as old as time: the Angels have a combination of some of the biggest superstars in baseball and somehow meltdown and find a way to waste another season of loaded talent. This one in particular, however, might be their magnum opus: Shohei Ohtani was coming off his MVP season, Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon were both back and healthy, and they addressed their desperate need for pitching this offseason by adding Noah Syndergaard and spent every single draft pick they had at that position. It appeared to be working, too! They started off leading the AL West at 27-17 with Ohtani, Trout, AND Taylor Ward all looking like viable AL MVP candidates with a solid pitching staff behind them. They had the stars and looked like a legitimate playoff team! We finally were going to get Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani playing meaningful games in October!

Until everything fell apart.

They then went on a 14-game losing streak in which manager Joe Maddon had shaved his head into a mohawk to rally his team only to find out that very day he was getting fired. In third place in the division, they now have an interim manager that caused a bench-clearing brawl, Anthony Rendon needed surgery and is done for the year, and Shohei and Mike Trout will have immaculate games in which they’ll knock in multiple homers with 8 RBI only to still fall and have their hearts ripped out. It feels like there are countless moments where you will see a highlight clip on Twitter with a caption along the lines of “Shohei Ohtani just cranked a mammoth 456 foot solo shot to right field!” only to check back in later to see “FINAL: Houston Astros 8, Los Angeles Angels 1.”

The Angels are not only a team to break up with, they’re one to run from because it’s an abusive relationship.


Philadelphia Phillies (42-38)

We’re now in year 3 and on manager 3 of the Philadelphia Phillies trying to cash in on 2x NL MVP Bryce Harper’s prime of his career ever since he signed his 13-year, $330 million deal to move to Philly and snap their postseason drought, the second-longest in baseball only to Seattle. Since that contract, two of their division rivals have won the World Series, they fired manager Gabe Kapler after just one season who then went on to manage the Giants to 107 wins last year and win NL Manager of the Year, and the pressure cooker to win now in a sports-crazed town like Philadelphia with one of the biggest superstars in the game has only gotten hotter. This caused the franchise to enter the luxury tax and spend more money than they ever have in the past on bats like Kyle Schwarber and Nicholas Castellanos (and sacrificing all defensive fielding credibility in the process) to load up on hitting in hopes that these boppers would be enough surrounding help for Harper to propel them to the playoffs.

They’re not completely dead yet, but it’s looking bleak.

While they did go on a 9-game winning streak immediately after firing Joe Girardi from his 22-29 start, they would need to get some serious production out of their role players now that Bryce Harper was hit by a pitch that required thumb surgery after he was already dealing with a shoulder issue, and his timetable to return is unknown. With no Bryce, an interim manager, and both the Braves and Mets now looking like two of the best teams in the National League in their own division, Philly is going to need some Nick Foles-level magic to happen for them to remain in the race despite the expanded playoff opening up a spot. Down the stretch they’ll have two series with the Cardinals, two series with the Blue Jays, 4 series with the Braves, and 2 more series with the Mets. While they’ll play the dead-in-the-water Nationals and Marlins frequently, they just don’t have the depth in comparison to the other competing NL teams with no Harper barring some trade movement. 

Chicago White Sox (38-40)

During preseason projection season, the White Sox were seen as potential World Series candidates due to the depth of their team in every capacity, returners in critical positions, and a schedule that featured the weakest division in baseball. They got hit with the injury bug to start the year harder than most- Lance Lynn, Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Luis Robert, Tim Anderson, Liam Hendriks, and Yasmani Grandal have all missed significant time at certain points during the year, and Garrett Crochet needed Tommy John surgery. We gave them a pass for a while saying they would get it together- they’re far too deep and the Twins and Guardians’ runs aren’t sustainable in comparison to their lineup depth and postseason experience! We’re all just waiting for them to get healthy and hot and to get it together.

We’re still waiting.

They now sit 5.5 games behind the Twins, the Guardians have so much swagger as the youngest team in the majors and look to only be getting better, and Chicago has never had that same head of steam where

Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

they’ve gotten hot and looked like they were winning and having fun that we saw last year. They’ve been in Texas Rangers territory as opposed to Houston Astros territory by comparison. Lucas Giolito is supposed to be a rising ace and just had two starts in which he allowed 7 and 8 runs, and on the other side of the ball, they’re one of the worst-slugging teams in the majors that’s bottom 10 in homers and bottom 5 in RBI. Their team leader in homers is Jose Abreu. He has 9 total home runs on the year!

The White Sox will hopefully continue to get healthy, but the reality is that EVERYONE is dealing with injuries right now. They’ll have an upcoming stretch of 19 games against the teams they’re gunning for in the Twins and the Guardians, and they’ll also have a load of games against their other anemic division rivals in the Royals and Tigers who will likely boost their numbers. That will decide their season. However, the “FIRE TONY!” chants calling for Tony La Russa’s head certainly don’t feel like something that will inspire him to give a speech to rally the team together.

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