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Little did I know on Dec. 18, 1997, as a 19-year-old Indiana University student, the reverberations that were coming when I sat down to watch my favorite show. That would be "Seinfeld" and the episode is titled "The Strike." Colloquially, it has come to be known as the Festivus episode. 

We'll skip the deep background dive here and just point out -- in case anyone is unaware -- that a character named Frank Costanza (played superbly by the late, great Jerry Stiller) invented a winter holiday called "Festivus" (Dec. 23). It has elements such as the feats of strength, but, most importantly, the airing of the grievances. That is, you tell everyone all the ways they have disappointed you over the course of the previous year. 

We actually do this at one of my family Christmases (I have 12 grievances on my running list right now, which I keep throughout the year on my phone's Notepad app), but it can work anywhere. Let's take it to my job! 

It is time for the airing of the grievances, MLB style. I'll do one for every team, as no one should be spared during our fictional Festivus Dinner. Each grievance will be me thundering away on something as I channel my inner Frank. Just to make it easier to follow, I'll identify a target under each team, rather than a roster-wide grievance.

The teams are listed alphabetically. 

The Airing of Grievances
Target: Madison Bumgarner. Grievance: In case you somehow missed it, the Diamondbacks ended up an unlikely NL champion in 2023. They were, however, short on starting pitching in the playoffs and ended up having to use a bullpen game as, essentially, their fourth starter. Remember Bumgarner? He was the D-backs' highest-paid player this season at $23 million, even though he was cut after four awful starts. His refusal to adapt as he aged was one of the biggest reasons he was an abject failure with the ballclub. Had he been more open and learned how to pitch better at a more advanced age, it's possible the Diamondbacks would have won the World Series.
Target: Playoff shrinkage and deflection Grievance: The Braves won 104 games in the regular season and were an absolute juggernaut in doing so. They lost three of four playoff games -- and the one win was a late comeback in which they nearly lost -- while hitting .186/.255/.264 as a team. We had to hear about how it was the media's fault after the "atta boy Harper" incident and then the excuses about the playoff format from fans and some local media flowed like water. Kudos to the players like Spencer Strider who owned the team failures instead of whining about something external. Everyone else, I got a lot of problems with you people.
Target: Mike Elias Grievance: Take the next step away from rebuilding -- the rebuild was amazing, by the way, but it's over -- and go for the championship(s). Stop prospect hugging! You don't even have a place to play everyone once they are all big-league ready! 
Target: The Alex Verdugo defenders Grievance: Verdugo was the main component of the Mookie Betts trade, so when he got off to a hot start to 2023 season while Betts struggled early, there was a decent-sized contingent of Red Sox fans taking victory laps on social media (notably by using that side-by-side share tool with stats from In all-too-predictable fashion, this totally blew up in their faces. You know who you are. Be better moving forward, please. 
Target: The September choke Grievance: After Sept. 6, the Cubs were 12 games over .500, sitting comfortable in a wild card spot, only 1.5 games back in the NL Central and had an over 90% chance to make the playoffs. They went 7-15 the rest of the way, including 1-6 against the Diamondbacks. They finished one game behind Arizona. Total gag job. For shame. 
Target: The organization as a whole Grievance: Remember when the White Sox traded Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, José Quintana and others and, as a result, had that loaded farm system? All that build was for a Wild Card loss in 2020, a 93-win season in 2021 that ended with a 3-1 ALDS loss and then 81 wins in 2022. Now they are one of the worst teams in baseball and have a long road ahead to turn things around. They haven't won a playoff series since 2005. What a sad state of affairs. 
Target: Ineptitude vs. Brewers Grievance: Reds, you were a great story in 2023, but you could have been better if you weren't absolutely owned by the Brewers. The Reds put up a 3-10 record against the eventual NL Central champs. Had that record been 8-7, the Reds would've won the division. What you're seeing right now is my disappointed face. 
Target: Torture of the fan base Grievance: The direction of the franchise right now says they aren't winning the World Series any time soon. Terry Francona has retired. Shane Bieber and Emmanuel Clase are rumored to be on the trade block. A decent portion of the fan base convinced themselves that the Francisco Lindor trade was amazing and 2023 didn't help the aging process on that one. The window that included a pennant, a 102-win season with a ridiculous winning streak and four AL Central titles seems to be closing and they still haven't won it all since 1948. Oh, and Guardians isn't a cool name. They easily could have gone with Spiders. Banner work all around (please note dripping sarcasm), Cleveland. 
Target: Kris Bryant Grievance: Two years into the seven-year deal, Bryant has managed to make his way into just 122 game, putting up 15 home runs with a .259/.335/.404 line. He only has seven home runs in Coors Field. Whatever is going on, this just plain sucks. He won the MVP and World Series in his second year as a pro and had the type of personality to embrace being one of the faces of baseball. Though age 25, he was most statistically similar to Jim Thome. Through age 31? Jason Bay. It's a shame. 
Target: The demise of Javier Báez Grievance: I'm a lot more sad than angry. 
Target: Their inability to win at home. Grievance: The "mighty" Astros were 39-42 at home in the regular season and then 1-5 in the playoffs. They managed to win every single ALCS game in Arlington and still lose the series. They even tried to "fix" the batter's eye in September and it still didn't make a difference. Tsk, tsk.
Target: The return to extended futility Grievance: That quick window of Royals winning was fun, huh? It also already seems like a distant memory. The Royals have lost at least 103 games six times in franchise history and three of those six times have happened in the last six years. The 106 losses in 2023 tied a franchise record. 
Target: The franchise in general Grievance: Mike Trout is one of the greatest outfielders we've ever seen. Shohei Ohtani is putting on a two-way act that we haven't seen since integration, at least, if ever. Not only have they not made the playoffs since 2014, but they haven't even really come close. Pitiful and embarrassing. And now Ohtani is gone.
Target: The playoff "performance" Grievance: A 100-win team was thoroughly embarrassed by an 84-win team. Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts were zeroes. Clayton Kershaw was laughable. Lance Lynn gave up four solo homers in an inning.  
Target: Luis Arráez Grievance: Flirting with .400, huh? I see a .292 average after Aug. 1, .314 in the second half and .310 after June 23. HOW DARE YOU! 
Target: The low home run total Grievance: Look, guys, you are supposed to look like a slow-pitch softball team on offense. The Brewers are the franchise of Geoff Jenkins, Jeromy Burnitz, Russell Branyan, Chris Carter, Ben Oglivie, Gorman Thomas, Richie Sexson and Prince Fielder. And ROB DEER. The 2022 Brewers hit 219 bombs, ranking second in the NL. That dropped to 165 this past year. Even the Marlins and A's hit more bombs than the Beermakers. This is unacceptable and I will not stand for it. 
Target: The Royce Lewis injuries Grievance: The absolute last thing we need here is another Byron Buxton. Please, Baseball Gods, do not tease us with his talent and let him keep getting injured. 
Target: The people who went after the WBC due to the Edwin Díaz injury Grievance: Not only is losing one of the best closers in baseball before the season starts a total bummer, but it inspired a remarkable amount of nonsense regarding the supposed added injury risk posed by the World Baseball Classic. Remember, both Gavin Lux and Rhys Hoskins suffered season-ending knee injuries in spring training, yet there was no great fanfare to cancel spring training games. Díaz suffered a freak accident while hopping on two feet after a game. Hopping! Yes, person arguing, blame the WBC since you already didn't like it. Just know there's no logic at all behind said argument. 
Target: The 2023 Yankees' offense, non-Judge edition Grievance: The Yankees ranked 25th in runs scored and 22nd in slugging percentage in 2023 and this was with Aaron Judge hitting 37 homers in 106 games. The Bronx Bombers? What a joke. 
Target: The owner Grievance: Having parents who founded The Gap isn't a skill.
Target: The offensive disappearing act in Games 6 and 7 Grievance: Citizens Bank Park was Vibe Central in the playoffs through six games. The Phillies were 4-0 in the first two rounds of the playoffs there and then outscored the Diamondbacks 15-3 in Games 1 and 2 of the NLCS. They only needed to win one of a possible two games when they returned home with a 3-2 lead. Instead, they would score just three runs while leaving 14 men on base in Games 6 and 7. That just isn't acceptable. 
Target: The Oneil Cruz injury Grievance: Curse the Baseball Gods for this one. Oneil Cruz is truly one of the most exciting players in baseball to watch on any given day. His power-speed combo would've played huge in 2023, but we were only treated to nine games of him before he broke his leg. Curses! 
Target: The 2023 Padres Grievance: You know what you did. You crushed the dreams of an entire fan base. Pathetic year. 
Target: Boredom Grievance: The Giants have become an aggressively boring team. I just almost fell asleep thinking about them. 
Target: Jerry Dipoto Grievance: The general manager stated in public that his goal is to win 54% of the Mariners' games. That's 87 wins in a 162-game season. Keep in mind this was after they finally snapped their playoff drought in 2022 and had an incredibly quiet ensuing winter, only to miss the playoffs in 2023. Just an absolutely terrible look. He should have much better self-awareness than this -- and also want more for his team.
Target: The Willson Contreras situation early in the season Grievance: How could the Cardinals be so sure of Contreras' ability to catch that they offered him a five-year deal, only to turn around and announce he's done catching for the year just 34 games into the contract? And then he was back behind the plate less than two weeks after the public announcement? So was it just to publicly embarrass him? The whole episode was a black eye for the organization. 
Target: All the pitcher injuries Grievance: Why are so many good pitchers' arms blowing up when they're with the Rays? Maybe this is a Rays' approach thing or maybe it's directed at the Baseball Gods. Regardless, it's incredibly annoying and maddening.
Target: None Grievance: The World Series champs are spared from a grievance. The season wasn't perfect, but I'd never change anything leading up to a title.
Target: Playoff shrinkage, again Grievance: The Jays have now lost seven straight playoff games and 10 of their last 11. In their two losses this year, they scored just one run and had only one extra-base hit. Pathetic. 
Target: Patrick Corbin's contract Grievance: Look, I don't feel sorry for ownership at all. They can definitely afford it and Corbin was great help in winning the 2019 World Series. I'm just tired of dealing with this thing being on the books at this point. There's still one year left. He's led the league in losses three straight years!