With the end of another baseball season and the hour has come: It's time for my tri-annual Tortured Fan Base Rankings. I do ones for the NBA and NFL, as well as MLB (and our own our own Joe DeLessio takes care of the NHL). Here are the MLB rankings from 2013 , 2014, 2015 and 2016. A recap of the process, if you're not familiar with it already:

It's my ranking of every team's fan base, from most to least spoiled when it comes to winning. Lots of factors are involved: fan loyalty, historical success, particularly painful eras, near-miss title chances, current roster, any ineffable notion that just occurs to me while I'm putting this list together.

I've done my best to take into account reader comments, changes in circumstances over the past year, specious assessments from the past and everything else in this year's rankings, but this is an ongoing process, a march toward perfect. If there's any major change I've made from last year's rankings, it's not to overrate a recent-ish title. A lot can go wrong between now and then. Anything you don't like or believe I have wrong, email me at leitch@sportsonearth.com.

So here we go:

30. Houston Astros

Last title: 2017
World Series appearances: 2

Championships: 1
Last year's ranking: 11

You win the title, you drop to last place in these rankings, at least for one year. There isn't much less tortured than an Astros fan right now. It was a long time coming, but Houston has done it. Enjoy every second of this, Astros fans. There's nothing in the world like it.

29. New York Yankees

Last title: 2009
World Series appearances: 40
Championships: 27
Last year's ranking: 28

Well, lookee here, the Yankees are awesome again. They're not just awesome, they're also young, exciting and even likable. That won't last -- it can't last -- but Yankees fans have it so good that even their rebuilding periods never end with a losing season. They lose some karma points for firing Joe Girardi, but the Yankees are back. Seems like they never went away.

28. Boston Red Sox

Last title: 2013
World Series appearances: 12

Championships: 8
Last year's ranking: 27

They have a ton of young talent still, but they've depleted the farm system a bit in the Dave Dombrowski win-now period. We're still going to be watching them and the Yanks go at each other, again, for the next half-decade more.

27. San Francisco Giants

Last title: 2014
World Series appearances: 20

Championships: 8
Last year's ranking: 29

Well, the wheels fell off this year, and while they're surely try to write it off as a blip, the Giants' core looks a bit rickety. The Giants are still the Giants and thus won't vanish entirely, but now that the three titles in five years are three years in the rearview mirror, those newly minted fans are appreciating just how rare and lucky that little stretch was. (That really was pretty insane.)

26. St. Louis Cardinals

Last title: 2011
World Series appearances: 19

Championships: 11
Last year's ranking: 26

The Cardinals missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season, and every St. Louis fan will tell you the past two years have been the most frustrating for the fan base in recent memory. And even with that, the Cardinals had a winning record each year. There's a ton of urgency this offseason -- there will be a larger roster turnover than you are expecting -- and, in the wake of the Red Sox, Nationals and Yankees changing managers despite making the playoffs, there will be increased scrutiny on the Cardinals' dugout situation next year.

25. Kansas City Royals

Last title: 2015
World Series appearances: 4
Titles: 2
Last year's ranking: 25

The party is finally over in Kansas City, with that core all headed off to various free agency destinations and the Royals starting over with a new rebuild. It would have been downright tragic if the Royals had their golden generation of players and never did anything with them … but hey, they did! That championship is going to have to last them a while. Fortunately, that championship was the best.

24. Miami Marlins

Last title: 2003
World Series appearances: 2
Championships: 2

Last year's ranking: 16

They took a big leap forward after the death of Jose Fernandez last year, but historically, this is probably where they should be, with the two titles and not much else, which is still more than most people have. We'll see what Jeter and company have in store for them.

23. Chicago Cubs

Last title: 2016
World Series appearances: 11

Titles: 3
Last year's ranking: 30

Cubs fan had a lovely little honeymoon in 2017, in which a year that the team was actually sort of disappointing was no big deal, thanks to the happy hangover from 2016. (And even with that, they still made the NLCS for the third straight year.) The problem will be if this Cubs core, which looks a little thinner than it did a year ago, ends up with only one title. Then they go from a dynasty to the 1985 Bears: A great team, but a one-off.

22. Philadelphia Phillies

Last title: 2008
World Series appearances: 7

Championships: 2
Last year's ranking: 24

For the first half of the season, it looked like the rebuild had stalled, or even regressed. But then Rhys Hoskins showed up and thrilled the whole town. Now Gabe Kapler has shown up, thinking the franchise is about ready to turn the corner again. Are they going to be big free agent players? It has now been a decade since that lone title with the Utley/Howard core. Those 10 years went fast.

21. Arizona Diamondbacks

Last title: 2001
World Series appearances: 1
Titles: 1

Last year's ranking: 20

A fantastic bounceback season shuffled away quickly in the NLDS, but the D-backs now have plenty to build on moving forward. The way that division is shaping up, they look like they're going to be the Dodgers' best competition for the next half-decade.

20. Los Angeles Angels

Last title: 2002
World Series appearances: 1
Titles: 1

Last year's ranked: 22

They showed they could survive, briefly anyway, with Mike Trout out. With three years left on his contract, that might be something they need to start getting used to. They have three years to get Trout his first postseason victory. If they don't make it, the Angels are going to soar up this list.

19. Chicago White Sox

Last title: 2005
World Series appearances: 5

Titles: 3
Last year's ranking: 18

The White Sox finally bit the bullet and traded all their stars away, and it couldn't have turned out better. The team looks stacked for years to come. If I told you this franchise wins its division from, say, 2020-23, that wouldn't surprise you one bit, would it?

18. Minnesota Twins

Last title: 1991
World Series appearances: 6

Titles: 3
Last year's ranking: 19

The playoff appearance, however brief it might have been, was a pleasant surprise, but for all the talk that this is a young team on the rise, they're still behind the Indians, and the White Sox are coming. Their window is tighter than you think.

17. Tampa Bay Rays

Last title: Never
World Series appearances: 1

Last year's ranking: 21

The highest-ranking (or lowest, depending on how you look at it) team among the seven who still haven't won a World Series, the hill's about to become even steeper with the Red Sox and Yankees muscling up.

16. San Diego Padres

Last title: Never
World Series appearances: 2

Last year's ranking: 17

This has been a sleepy franchise for more than a decade, save for that one odd A.J. Preller blip of crazy trades. Of the seven teams that have never won a title, the Padres feel further away than all of them.

15. Cincinnati Reds

Last title: 1990
World Series appearances: 9

Titles: 5
Last year's ranking: 15

The Reds showed some flashes late, but you can make an argument that they are perhaps the only franchise in the sport that could keep Joey Votto hidden as well as they have over the last 10 years.

14. Oakland A's

Last title: 1989
World Series appearances: 14

Titles: 9
Last year's ranking: 14

The whole Billy Beane savior narrative takes a dent while he's been in charge of this disappointing period in the franchise's existence. Even watching "Moneyball" seems silly now, doesn't it? I mean, what's the point of that movie if this is how this all turns out?

13. Colorado Rockies

Last title: Never
World Series appearances: 1

Last year's ranking: 23

It sure was a bummer that the breakthrough season Rockies fans have been waiting to happen for a decade ended with a disappointing playoff road loss. But this team has dynamic stars and could be back in 2018.

12. Atlanta Braves

Last title: 1995
World Series appearances: 9

Titles: 3
Last year's ranking: 13

Legitimate question: Will Atlanta (and Georgia) sports fans feel less cursed if the Georgia Bulldogs win the championship this year? What gets this whole region off the hook? After the Falcons' Super Bowl loss, the whole area is in a fog. With the Braves' front office in flux right now that makes one wonder how quickly this turnaround is going to happen.

11. Toronto Blue Jays

Last title: 1993
World Series appearances: 2

Titles: 2
Last year's ranking: 12

What do the Blue Jays do now? They've fallen behind the Yankees and Red Sox, and the Rays are closing. It's sad to say, but a year removed from consecutive ALCS appearances, the Blue Jays are as far away from a title as they have ever been.

10. Los Angeles Dodgers

Last title: 1988
World Series appearances: 19

Titles: 6
Last year's ranking: 8

It certainly hurt to come that close to a title and fall just short, but getting to the World Series is no small feat, particularly when you're as talented as the Dodgers and the early favorites to get back there next year. Maybe it's a step-by-step process. They finally broke through to the World Series this year. Now it's time for the next step.

9. New York Mets

Last title: 1986
World Series appearances: 5

Titles: 2
Last year's ranking: 10

I always get yelled at for not having the Mets in the top three on this list, but they're still the team in the top 10 with the most recent championship, and they have made the World Series twice in the 2000s. I know it doesn't feel that way to Mets fans, but hey, just because you live in New York doesn't make your pain any more acute than anybody else's. It just makes it more expensive and crowded.

8. Milwaukee Brewers

Last title: Never
World Series appearances: 1
Last year's ranking: 6

The Brewers were successful enough this year to take a step back in the rankings, and you can see them as a legitimate playoff team in 2018. They'll need to make that movement forward, because the Brewers are a perpetually underrated tortured franchise. They missed with the Braun/Fielder core; let's see how they do with the Santana/Broxton/Davies one.

7. Detroit Tigers

Last title: 1984
World Series appearances: 11

Titles: 4
Last year's ranking: 7

The Tigers look like they're about a decade away from contending again, which makes sense, because they'll be paying Miguel Cabrera about that long. They didn't make it. They never got over the top. A shame.

6. Washington Nationals

Last year: Never
World Series appearances: None

Last year's ranking: 9

The Nationals keep finding ways to zoom up this list. They have an open ticket to the postseason again in 2018, but it won't mean a lick if they don't get past the NLDS. And they've got one year left of Bryce Harper, if they don't sign him. There are more tortured fan bases on this list -- though the Nats are catching up! -- but no team has more on the line in 2018 than the Nats. Check that: No team has more on the line in October 2018 than the Nationals.

5. Baltimore Orioles

Last title: 1983
World Series appearances: 6

Titles: 3
Last year's ranking: 5

The Orioles had the collapse analytic folks had been predicting for them for a while, and now they just look old, still pitching-free and, oh yeah, about to lose their franchise player in Manny Machado. When do you start wondering why Buck Showalter is still hanging around? The Orioles have had their chance in the AL East. It has passed. It just gets worse from here.

4. Pittsburgh Pirates

Last title: 1979
World Series appearances: 7

Titles: 5
Last year's ranking: 3

The Pirates are in danger of being passed by the Brewers, and that glorious postseason of 2013, when PNC Park was the loudest place on the planet, is further and further away every year. This once felt like one of the more up-and-coming teams in baseball. But with the NL Central so competitive, it's been a challenge for them to make a move.

3. Texas Rangers

Last title: Never
World Series appearances: 2
Last year's ranking: 4

Not only did the Rangers lose two World Series in a row -- including that one where they had their opponents down to their last strike twice -- now they have to watch their hated in-state rivals beat them to a World Series title. Nolan Ryan now has two World Series: With the Mets and with the Astros. That is downright cruel.

2. Seattle Mariners

Last title: Never
World Series appearances: None

Last year's ranking: 2

The Mariners are one of two teams never to reach the World Series and have the longest postseason drought in the sport. That's quite the double whammy. It's not getting easier either. Poor Felix.

1. Cleveland Indians

Last title: 1948
World Series appearances: 6

Titles: 2
Last year's ranking: 1

This was supposed to be the year. It was all built up to be this year. Why wasn't it this year? And then for them to lose to the freaking Yankees. Ouch. The Indians will be a serious contender again next year. Though that might just make the pain worse, if they don't make it all the way.


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