Friday, April 30, 2010

Only Second?

Interesting story in the Wall Street Journal the other day about how the Boston Red Sox are the second-most hated team in baseball.

Contrary to popular belief, the Yankees are only the fifth-most despised team in the majors, according to an Internet algorithm built by Nielsen Co. that analyzes how people feel about certain things. This service typically uses various keywords to find out whether people have positive, negative or neutral reactions to different brands and products. No team registered a negative mark on Nielsen's "sentiment scale," which ranges from -5 to 5, but the Yankees (1.8) were one of only six teams to score lower than 2. The Mets finished four spots higher, making them the ninth most-hated team.

The good news for the Yankees is that their low score is better than the only team that really matters: The rival Boston Red Sox, who are the second most-despised team.
Now, I find this last sentence interesting. I would think that Yankee fans would be pissed they aren't dislike more than the Red Sox.

It's the top dog that is hated. The success story. The guy who gets on top and stays there. This country makes a habit out of building up heroes and them cutting them off at the shins. If I was a Yankee fan...well, it'd be hard to write this at all considering my state of constant mental impairment. But I'd be pissed that people didn't hate me the most, and that the Red Sox were even more notorious. Hey, if I watched Boston win a pair of titles in six years and become a model franchise while my team couldn't do anything, I'd hate them too.* Which means maybe more people see Boston as a successful franchise in recent years than the Yankees?

All that said, what makes no sense at all is that the most hated team on this scale is the ... Cleveland Indians.

Really? Who hates the Indians besides fans of the Indians? They're just sad. Their ownership constantly trades off their best talent to keep the team in perpetual rebuilding mode. For the rest of America, we just feel bad for Cleveland.

So the Sox are the Black Hats of the major leagues. I'm comfortable with that. I always liked how the Yankees played the "Imperial March" from Star Wars when introducing the Boston lineup.


* I am referring to fans from lesser franchises like the Jays and Royals looking at the Sox, not the Yankee fans. Let's hold off on the "We've won 27 rings!!" spiel until you really need it.

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