It's a tradition unlike any other.
Oh wait, I probably can't lift that one, even if I work for the same network.
Anyway, it's my own personal tradition. That is, my first power rankings of the new season (in this case, the pre-preseason rankings) always include an immediate discussion as to why I'm not ranking last season's champion first.
It should be pretty simple. These aren't the 2014 postseason power rankings. If they were, the Giants would be first, Royals second and we would filter back through the playoffs from there (Orioles third, Cardinals fourth -- or vice versa -- etc.).
But these are the power rankings for the upcoming season. And yet, every single season, there's an uproar that I have to put the defending champion first. Why? This is a new season.
Could the Giants win it all again? Are you kidding me? Of course they could. After three titles in five seasons, I would never bet against this group.
In objectively looking at the teams around baseball, though, I don't think the Giants have the best team on paper. They lost Pablo Sandoval and replaced him with Casey McGehee. The left-field situation -- though Norichika Aoki is a quality player -- still isn't overly enticing and there are some obvious health and age concerns. This from a team that was 88-74 and the second wild card last season before going all even-year-voodoo in the playoffs.
I don't think this is a bad team by any stretch, as you'll see in a bit. It's just not the best team on paper for the 2015 season*. That's how we do it here. The award for the 2014 World Series championship was the 2014 World Series championship. That's now in the past. I'm not required to give the champs a ceremonial top ranking.
*Sure, games aren't played on paper and things can and do unfold differently through the course of any given season, but the only thing we have right now is what's "on paper" (and given that this is the Internet in 2015, shouldn't we come up with a better thing to say than "on paper"? I'm open to suggestions).
Please feel free to contact me with comments either on Twitter (@MattSnyderCBS) or via email: email@example.com. Just remember that if we disagree it's because one of us is either biased or stupid. Probably both, actually. That's it. There's no other way. Seriously, though, if you have questions, ask me. You don't have to stalk my Linkedin account (you know who you are).