Next week marks the start of another baseball season. Just about anything could happen. There is another new season approaching: HBO's hit series Game of Thrones will be premiering its second season on April 1. As it happens, I like baseball, and I also like Game of Thrones. I thought, "Why not preview the baseball season by comparing the baseball teams to noble houses from Game of Thrones?" When I start down the nerd path, I cannot stop myself. You are stuck with this.
The Game of Thrones TV series is based on books by George R. R. Martin. They are fantasy, which may evoke to you nerds doing nerdy things, but what shows up in the show is a feudal society inspired by the War of the Roses where there's a metric ton of violence, profanity and sex. What does that have to do with baseball? Do you really need to ask?
Let's get started by looking at our divisional rivals. Assorted images have been found across the entirety of the Internet, and ultimately belong to HBO, which, I am sure, reserves all rights.
New York Yankees - HOUSE LANNISTER
The Lannisters are the richest house in the realm, and they make sure that you know it at all times. They are full of insufferable, generally loathsome people whom no one would actually like if they were not being paid money to do so. Much like no one would root for the Yankees unless that person was not in possession of a soul, or any kind of humanity whatsoever, no one roots for the Lannisters in Westeros. They buy all the best mercenaries, the unscrupled who work only for money, and they attract bandwagoning lickspittles like you wouldn't believe.
As a bonus, the Lannisters feature a pair of twins who are so narcissistic that they have an incestuous relationship because nobody else could possibly be as great as they are. Sounds a little bit like someone else we know, doesn't it? (Note: the preceding sentence is not intended as a factual statement.) Also in House Lannister is a funny-looking short guy who has sex with a lot of women, but they only want to have sex with him because he's rich; though every now and again he manages to convince himself that someone loves him, everyone knows that if he was in any other house, no one would give him a second thought.
Double bonus: don't you want to slap the hell out of that smug-looking, spoiled, entitled face of the franchise? Me too!
Boston Red Sox - THE NIGHT'S WATCH
The enemy of the Lannisters in the show is House Stark, so you might think that the Red Sox would be the Starks. I like House Stark, and I hate the Red Sox; therefore, the Red Sox are not the Starks.
The Night's Watch is an organization populated mostly with scoundrels, low-lifes, degenerate scum, and here and there a totally out-of-place fresh-faced young guy. Not to mention all the crazy bearded guys bundled up tight against the cold. They are much beloved in the North, but whenever they go into the south, all the natives hate them, though they feel entitled to honor due to some distant events that no one anywhere else really cares about.
Tampa Bay Rays - HOUSE TARGARYEN
I am not really sure who on the Rays is the equivalent to the attractive pale-haired woman shown above; I just wanted to post the picture. I will fight you for her.
The Rays, much like Daenerys Targaryen, are so far removed, geographically speaking, from the struggles of the other houses that they may as well be on another continent altogether. The Yankees (and Lannisters) might forget about the Rays (and Targaryens) until they are invaded by a surplus of young, fire-breathing hurlers who will roast everything in their path. Daenerys has dragons, but the Rays have David Price and Matt Moore. They are all only going to grow more powerful as time passes, and then watch out.
Toronto Blue Jays - HOUSE TULLY
Face of the franchise: (they don't matter enough to have a face of the franchise)
You know how in the real world, Poland has a problem? The problem is that every time some whacko to the east decides to invade the west, they're gonna cross through Poland, and every time some whacko to the west decides to invade the east, they're gonna cross through Poland. Well, that's House Tully's problem. They're in the middle of the War of the Five Kings, and pretty much everyone who wants to invade anyone is going to be crossing their land sooner or later.
The Blue Jays, of course, are stuck in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox, and Rays, so they're similarly screwed. House Tully has surplus daughters to marry off and get some peace to the north and east, but the Blue Jays have no such recourse. They must triumph by arms and bats, and possibly a man in a white shirt.
Baltimore Orioles - GARED
The Orioles suck too much to be a noble house. Instead, they are Gared. The character of Gared is noteworthy because he is savagely decapitated by a blue-eyed ice zombie in the first seven minutes the first episode of last season, in a fight where he had absolutely no chance of victory.
In Game of Thrones, the houses fight for control of the Iron Throne; in baseball, the teams compete for the World Series. This Game of Thrones season has yet to start, but Gared, by virtue of being dead last season, is already out of contention for the throne. The baseball season has yet to start, but the Orioles, by virtue of being the Orioles, are already out of contention for the World Series.
OTHER AMERICAN LEAGUE TEAMS
Kansas City Royals - HOUSE MARTELL
House Martell will not be appearing in the second season of Game of Thrones. Its lord is withdrawn into his own realm, where he has plans and processes always in motion, supremely long-term plans that may come to fruition one day, after he is dead. The Royals are stocked with young players and then there's the Process... you get the idea.
Texas Rangers - HOUSE GREYJOY
The thing that distinguishes the Greyjoys from the rest of Westeros is that they just want to be left alone and be their own country. They think they are more important than they are; they think that they could go it alone and survive, them against the world. They probably could not do this, but everyone lets them have the illusion of freedom, though every now and again they chafe against this and there's an armed insurrection. That is Texas in a nutshell.
THE NATIONAL LEAGUE
Philadelphia Phillies - HOUSE TYRELL
Another fairly rich house, Tyrell is one that you like when they first appear, because they are not the Lannisters, and all right-thinking people hate the Lannisters. Only it turns out that the more you get to know the Tyrells, the less you like them. They aren't nearly as bad as the Lannisters, but you'd rather root for someone else than these guys, pretty much.
Also, the Phillies, much like the Tyrells, are run by an idiot who enjoys credit for a years-ago victory that was probably in spite of his poor decisions rather than because of his good ones. Additionally, the heir of Tyrell (who may not be appearing this season) is crippled.
St. Louis Cardinals - HOUSE BARATHEON
In a technical sense, these guys are the defending champions, but since they last won the throne/World Series, they've lost the services of both their most puissant warrior and their drunken leader (to Baratheon, these two were the same person). The target is on their backs. They are under attack from all sides. Their claim to the throne is currently suspect, and, in the present world climate, Might Makes Right, so they will have to fight to hold on.
Chicago Cubs - HARRENHAL
The sad-sack losers that are the Cubs are as unworthy of a noble house as the Orioles are. However, they instead can be compared to Harrenhal, the cursed castle that visits its doom upon all those brazen enough to attempt to tame it. Legend says that the very day that Harren the Black completed his mighty fortress, dragons landed on the shores of Westeros, and he was ultimately cooked inside of his own castle, where, some say, his ghost still lingers. Enter at your own peril, and for gods' sake, watch out for the Goat.
New York Mets - HOUSE BAELISH
Baelish is run by a charming, Ponzi-scheming douchebag who will cross anyone and anything if it means further self-enrichment. He is so good at what he does that he gets the government to pay for his capital improvement projects. The Mets... yeah.
I already know who's going to win the War of the Five Kings, as does anyone who's read the books on which the TV series is based. The baseball season, though, is not so predetermined. Meager hopes may spring up in spite of everything, and this is the place to be when even those small dreams are inevitably dashed by the crushing reality of the Orioles' ongoing failure.