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A Thin Line

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A Thin Line

Posted by Sarah Sphar and tagged with beer, Cleveland, Indians, sports; 12:00am, April 30th 2010

Not content to let us wallow in our misery, the world heaped further ignominy on Cleveland earlier this week when we learned that the Cleveland Indians are the most hated team in baseball.

According to WSJ.com, an Internet algorithm developed by Nielsen Co. can analyze how people feel about certain things by using keywords to determine positive, negative or neutral reactions to brands and products. Far be it from me to accuse Nielsen of developing a faulty algorithm, but clearly the most hated team in baseball is the New York Yankees.

Everyone knows this, and it can be easily proven by consulting a few easily available statistics. How many World Series championships have the Yankees won? 400? Eighty some? Okay, it's 27, but still: A lot. Very many. In pursuit of these titles, the Yankees have defeated 10 different teams, so it stands to reason that the fans of those teams must  hate the Yankees. So that right there is a lot of people, way more people than could possibly hate the Indians for winning a measly two world championships. Dodger fans alone (if we count both the Brooklyn and Los Angeles iterations) should really hate the Yankees: the Dodgers have lost the World Series to the Bronx Bombers a whopping eight times.

Nielsen's algorithm starts to look even shakier when you consider Cleveland's losses in the Fall Classic. The Indians have lost three World Series, so it's only logical to assume that fans of the old New York Giants, Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins (wow...that one still really hurts) should actually love the Cleveland Indians.

Another reason that none of this makes sense is that Nielsen's algorithm rates the Yankees as the fifth most-hated team. This is ludicrous, because the Yankees would never settle for being fifth at anything, particularly if they found themselves with some extra cash prior to the trade deadline. If the Yankees knew they were in fifth place, rest assured they'd be able to make an extremely lucrative offer to anyone who could get them to that coveted "most hated" spot - the Devil, say, or Bernie Madoff. Perhaps they'd even let Lucifer announce his own comeback from the owner's box in Yankee Stadium, during the seventh inning stretch. Just an example I thought of! Not at all based on past events!

In the WSJ article, Ed Carroll of DeepLeftField.com proposed that perhaps the Indians are the most hated team in baseball because the team "does a lot to alienate its fans." On his blog, Carroll points out that his remarks were taken a bit out of context, offering up the trades of Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez and CC Sabathia as evidence of team management's missteps. This particular kind of hate is rooted in love, however, and no one would care about the Indians' more boneheaded trades if it didn't hurt so much to see our favorite players (and perhaps our post-season prospects) ride off into the sunset.

Maybe some people hate the Indians because of the Chief Wahoo logo, which draws protesters and sparks discussion with the opening of each new season. Or maybe they hate them because a large beer costs $7.75 at Progressive Field, though that's hardly unique to the Indians. (Still hate-worthy, though.) Or it could be that decades of frustration simply manifests itself as hate when in fact, it's just envy. Envy of teams that win multiple World Series titles, giving their fans renewable bragging rights.

Teams like the Yankees, who everyone hates. Mathematical fact.

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