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*The New York Yankees were removed to make this map possible.
April 24, 2014 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Up Close on Baseball's Borders is a detailed, zoomable interactive map which uses data from Facebook to present the team preferences of baseball fandom in the United States. Around the end of March, Facebook had released a map using the same data which despite being touted as most accurate ever, had significant problems. The most notable of these issues was a colorshift introduced as the main graphic went viral, rendering the map illegible.

I had thought the prior map had recieved its' own post but was unable to dig it up in ten seconds of searching.
posted by mwhybark (183 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hah, I was just about to post this under the title "Giants ... Still Giants." Great maps, fun stuff, go Giants!
posted by chavenet at 8:23 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Where the fuck are the Mets?
posted by jonmc at 8:28 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


Where the fuck are the Mets?

They're in a parallel universe with the Athletics and White Sox, apparently.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:32 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


It's interesting that there are little patches of Red Sox fandom spread over the map - the Yankees are understandable, with their long-term record of success. Perhaps people need to associate with an underdog that still wins from time to time? That, or the Rhode Island snow-birds are bringing it down south with them. (RI humor - Largest Rhode Island Cities: Providence, Newport, Orlando.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:33 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


They're in a parallel universe with the Athletics and White Sox, apparently.
The White Sox are the grey blob in Chicago.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 8:34 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


It seems to be a limitation of the map's design that by showing the "dominant" team in each geographic area, the second-most popular teams in two-team city areas are swallowed whole.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:34 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


You see that grey area between the Reds, Cubs, and Cardinals. Yeah, that's where my dad's family is from. Thanksgiving usually involved a lot of jokes about how large German's heads are and how one of the three teams kicked the crap out of the other two (and then choked in the case that the Cubs were the ones on top).
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:35 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


The White Sox are the grey blob in Chicago.

No they're not. That's the darkest, most concentrated area of Cubs fandom, ie, the Chicagoland area. Most of the team fan areas have a similar extra dark area.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:36 AM on April 24


It's interesting that there are little patches of Red Sox fandom spread over the map

Bandwagoners.

Three World Series championships in 10 seasons takes you well out of underdog status.
posted by NoMich at 8:38 AM on April 24 [9 favorites]


No they're not. That's the darkest, most concentrated area of Cubs fandom, ie, the Chicagoland area. All of the team fan areas have a similar extra dark area.

I think you might be joking but there's a distinct grey area that says "WHITE SOX" in chicago proper. The area around is Cubs.
http://i.imgur.com/VOw4Z9D.jpg
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 8:39 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Er, maybe not. Maybe that is the White Sox area. Okay, but where are the Mets and A's?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:39 AM on April 24


Now that I do not know.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 8:39 AM on April 24


Okay, but where are the Mets and A's

In the article it says the area around where the Mets play is still mostly Yankee fans, just not as much as the rest of NY.
posted by bongo_x at 8:40 AM on April 24


I am a Reds fan in the Indianapolis area. I think the fan base is split 50/50 between the Reds and the Cubs here. As you move north the Cubs are more liked and as you move south the Reds are more liked.
posted by Hoosier Prospector at 8:41 AM on April 24


I just took my son to his first Cub game a few Sundays ago. It's never too early to start teaching your kids about disappointment.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:42 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


South and West however, Hoosier Prospector, and you get Cards fans. It's not pretty.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:43 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Where the fuck are the Mets?

Well, you see, this is a map of fans and, uh...
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:44 AM on April 24 [12 favorites]


I knew there were a lot of Yankee and Red Sox fans out there, but didn’t realize the numbers. One of my friends is from NY and a Yankee fan, and he always says any non New Yorker who becomes a Yankee fan is just kind of being an asshole. By this he means that the Yankees are just sort of obnoxious, but if you’re from there you have an excuse.
posted by bongo_x at 8:44 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


I'm not even sure Bankees fans from NY have an excuse they are just slightly harder to dismiss as bandwagoneers.
posted by vuron at 8:47 AM on April 24


Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for small pox.

I have said this before. I will say it again, because it will still be true.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:48 AM on April 24 [35 favorites]


I am one zip code north of Giants territory, in Oregon. Thanks be!
posted by Danf at 8:48 AM on April 24


I do a lot of complaining about bad maps and obviously facebook likes are an inherently flawed unit, that's a dead horse I'm going to beat forever, but using zip codes* instead of states is so much better for this type of data display. Zip codes at least consider population, where states are pretty much just borders. I don't like that the Blue Jays don't seem to be included, but I understand why not.

I met one of the NYT graphics guys at a map conference the other week and just the fact that they sent one of their graphics guys to a map conference shows that they do care about (and have confidence in) their cartography, instead of just taking the easy, simple path. It's heartening.

*probably zip code tabulation areas actually, but that's neither here nor there
posted by troika at 8:51 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


Damn, that's just cold:
There’s no other way to put it: The Yankees are the preferred team everywhere in New York City, and nearly everywhere in the U.S. over the Mets (in more than 98 percent of ZIP codes nationwide). One small Mets bright spot, if you want to call it that, is that in the area in Queens surrounding Citi Field, where the Mets play, Facebook users had the courtesy to prefer what some call the Evil Empire at a slightly reduced rate relative to its advantage elsewhere in New York.

For fuck's sake.

If you click on the image, you get a little interactive map. Mouse-over to see fan percentage breakdowns. People who live around Citi Field? Yankee fans.
posted by zarq at 8:53 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


You know what might help that? If the Mets were good at baseball.

KIDDING
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:55 AM on April 24 [10 favorites]


New York Mets Fans are the New York Mets of baseball fandom.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 8:56 AM on April 24 [25 favorites]


Among all the second-favorite teams — including the Mets, the A’s and the White Sox — the Angels have done perhaps the best job of carving out a niche of fans. But despite the inroads made by the Angels, the Dodgers are still the clear favorite in Southern California

I'm probably biased and sensitive as an Angels fan, but I feel like the writer sort of gives the Angels short shrift here. For over a decade now the Angels have consistently ranked as one of MLB's top five teams in overall attendance, at worst falling to a still highly respectable number seven (out of thirty) a couple of times during a pair of absolutely soul-crushingly disappointing seasons. While not doubting the assertion that the Dodgers are the more popular team in the region, I would think this would indicate a level of popularity far beyond "niche".
posted by The Gooch at 8:56 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Let's not get crazy here.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:56 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I'm not a fan of the Mets, but I am a fan of Mr. Met.
posted by troika at 8:56 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


DirtyOldTown: "You know what might help that? If the Mets were good at baseball."

I WILL GIVE YOU A FAVORITE FOR BEING RIGHT EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE REDUCED ME TO A HEAP OF INCOHERENT RAGE, FISTS SHAKING AT THE SKY, TEETH-GNASHING AND WEEPING.
posted by zarq at 8:57 AM on April 24 [18 favorites]


Strange that the Nationals can't drum up more than 36% support in the neighborhoods in and around where their park is located.

Also I'm really disappointed they couldn't include Canadian postal codes. The shifting patterns as you get closer to Detroit or other border cities would be quite interesting.
posted by rocket88 at 8:58 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


I love the illustration of the Nutmeg curtain in Connecticut.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:59 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


I WILL GIVE YOU A FAVORITE FOR BEING RIGHT EVEN THOUGH YOU REDUCED ME TO A HEAP OF INCOHERENT RAGE, TEETH-GNASHING AND WEEPING.

Peace offering: Yo La Tengo plays "Meet the Mets"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:59 AM on April 24 [7 favorites]


LOL
posted by zarq at 8:59 AM on April 24


If you click on the image, you get a little interactive map. Mouse-over to see fan percentage breakdowns. People who live around Citi Field? Yankee fans.

Couple of the zip codes right around Yankee Stadium, there are actually more Red Sox fans than Mets fans. Ouch.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:03 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Strange that the Nationals can't drum up more than 36% support in the neighborhoods in and around where their park is located.

They get up to 40% in Springfield, VA, which is the highest I see for the Nats. Of course, this problem could be solved by putting Yankee and Red Sox fans in reeducation camps like we should have done all along.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:04 AM on April 24 [9 favorites]


And they said money can't buy love!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:05 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Strange that the Nationals can't drum up more than 36% support in the neighborhoods in and around where their park is located.

It's DC. There's a huge proportion of people here who (a) moved here for professional reasons in adulthood; and (b) did so specifically because they have a job that requires living in/near this particular city, rather out of any deep-seated urge to reside in the District of Columbia (whereas people who move to NYC generally have some burning desire to live in NYC). So most of us bring our fandoms with us. (Go Phillies!)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:06 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


Also, the Nationals aren't even ten years old yet, so they haven't exactly been cultivating their fanbase very long. Twenty years from now, there will be parents who are sentimental about Harper and Strasburg taking their kids to see Nats games. Today, it's all still kinda new.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:07 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


mstokes650: " Couple of the zip codes right around Yankee Stadium, there are actually more Red Sox fans than Mets fans. Ouch."

While you're at it, why don't you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it?
posted by zarq at 9:08 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


I'm surprised at how much of Michigan's Upper Peninsula is Tigers fans as opposed to Brewers fans -- on a similar map of football fandom, the Yoopers are all Packer fans once you got out of sight of the bridge. I guess it has to do with relative success.
posted by Etrigan at 9:09 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


I've seen a bunch of this type of map recently, and they somehow always manage to get the Red Sox/Yankees boundary basically right, no matter the methodology. This one just finds the closet stadium, and bam, the Yankees-Red Sox boundary is there, right where it should be. It's like it's an essential feature of the universe or something.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:10 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


In the article, the team solicits suggestions for new visualizations via comments, FB, or Twitter. they are at @UpshotNYT.

I suggested overlaying MLB blackout territories.

As someone developing some relationships in Virginia I am amused to see it's Yankees terrain.
posted by mwhybark at 9:10 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


he always says any non New Yorker who becomes a Yankee fan is just kind of being an asshole.

I grew up going to Tampa Yankees games, the Rays are a bunch of upstarts on the wrong side of the Bay.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:12 AM on April 24


In my experience, just as in early presidential election politics, Iowa is the ultimate battleground state. In Iowa people must choose between the Twins, Cardinals, or Cubs. Historically the Cubs have been Iowa's team, but there were times in the 80's when the Twins were really popular, and the success of the Cardinals of late seems to bring them more fans than in the past.
posted by cell divide at 9:13 AM on April 24


I wonder how fan allegiance in Puerto Rico breaks down. Random? Based on locations of MLB academies? Skewed by hometowns of great Puerto Rican players?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:13 AM on April 24


So, these Yankee fans in NYC...

I was a New Yorker for most of the 2000s and also last year. I've got a ton of friends there. I don't recall any die-hard Yankees fans being among them. but I know plenty of long-suffering Mets fans.

But I'm a Cubs fan, so I laugh at their pain.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:14 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


No one actually likes the Braves - they are just on TBS all. the. fucking. time.

Same with the Cubs and WGN. Except people actually like the Cubs. Or feel sorry for them.

"Bandwagoners." If by that you mean "hates the Yankees" because they consistantly uderachieve despite their obscene payroll then please let me hop on that bandwagon - if there is any room to spare.
posted by vapidave at 9:16 AM on April 24


The importance of the three "superstations" (WWOR-NY, WGN-Chicago, TBS-Atlanta) in creating Yankees, Cubs, and Braves fans all over the US during the early days of cable cannot be overstated. I grew up in Kentucky and it wasn't like we had a hometown team. Those were the three teams you could watch. Period. It's different now, with regional sports networks and ESPN showing games. But in say, 1984, if I wanted to watch baseball it was the superstations or wait for the game of the week. There were no other choices.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:20 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


What I thought was interesting is that far western Massachusetts is Yankee territory, but the far eastern end of Long Island is Red Sox territory.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 9:20 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Is it me, or does it look like there's a business opportunity for someone to put a franchise in the North Carolina/Southern Virginia area? They seem under-served, with all the allegiances going to Yankees/Braves/Red Sox.
posted by fings at 9:22 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


> I was a New Yorker for most of the 2000s and also last year. I've got a ton of friends there. I don't recall any die-hard Yankees fans being among them. but I know plenty of long-suffering Mets fans.

Yankees fans don't have anything to talk about except the status quo, which is boring. Mets fans can at least talk about how much they hate the Yankees.
posted by ardgedee at 9:22 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Was it on purpose that the author of the map in that second link used black to show Yankee country? It looks like a black plague overwhelming parts of the nation, including Alaska and Hawaii.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 9:25 AM on April 24


Topical ESPN question: "Do you have a problem with pitchers using pine tar to get a better grip on the ball?"

In NY and New Jersey, the answer is yes. In Connecticut it is 50-50. Other places, it is a NO, with the remainder of New England resoundingly no.

Big surprise.
posted by Danf at 9:26 AM on April 24


I think of the Yankees color as grey, the base map, the default color. Because sadly, most of the country seems to be Yankees fans unless they have a specific preference for a nearby team. Although the tiny burst of Red Sox red around Cape Canaveral is pleasing to the eye.

This visualization comes from The Upshot, the NYT's new feature. It's a data-driven journalism site. I expect we'll be seeing a lot of posts from it on Metafilter.

See also Jason Davies' Major League Baseball Voronoi if you want to see a map of just proximity to home stadium.
posted by Nelson at 9:27 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I was in a bar in rural far northern New Jersey a few years back. A real dive bar. And a few students with me had Red Sox caps. I worried. And then a local informed us "no problem...we hate the Yankees as much as you do". I guess we were in Mets territory. That was a learning experience.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 9:27 AM on April 24


The Yankees aren't boring to talk about, ardgedee. Lately they've been schadenfreudelicious, but they're always worth talking about. No one I knew in NYC really followed them as real fans of the sport. I actually do know a real Yankee fan now, but she's here in Providence with me. She's got PLENTY to say. I actually kinda want to run into her today to ask her about Pineda.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:29 AM on April 24


The importance of the three "superstations" (WWOR-NY, WGN-Chicago, TBS-Atlanta) had in creating Yankees, Cubs, and Braves fans all over the US during the early days of cable cannot be overstated.

Among pro wrestling fans, I am positive this phenomenon created a nationwide legion of Atlanta Braves haters (myself included) since their games would frequently interfere with TBS's regular airing of World Championship Wrestling on Saturday afternoons.
posted by The Gooch at 9:34 AM on April 24


Mets aside, does that hoagie line seem way off to anyone else?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 9:36 AM on April 24


For over a decade now the Angels have consistently ranked as one of MLB's top five teams in overall attendance, at worst falling to a still highly respectable number seven (out of thirty) a couple of times during a pair of absolutely soul-crushingly disappointing seasons.

I think the general point still stands though. If you jump back to 2001 (the earliest available year on that page), Anaheim is down at #20. 2002, #16. Then in 2003, after the World Series win, it hops up to #5. They've done a great job expanding their base in the last 11 years. In fact, I can thank their defeat of the Giants in 2002 for my rekindled baseball love after losing it post-childhood.

That said: Go Dodgers.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:46 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Couple of the zip codes right around Yankee Stadium, there are actually more Red Sox fans than Mets fans.

There have always been a small pocket of Red Sox fans here in New York City. We are small, we suffered oppression in the 20th Century, but we are mighty and we are faithful. One of the best memories I have of the aftermath of the 2004 World Series is suddenly seeing a lot of people walking around wearing Red Sox garb, which I could tell had been kept secret before that point.

The article's description of the "Munson/Nixon line" has confirmed my personal theory that Eastern Connecticut exists to be a demilitarized zone between Red Sox and Yankee territory.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:48 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


the far eastern end of Long Island is Red Sox territory

Carl Yastrzemski is from eastern LI, and you can listen to the Red Sox games on the radio out there.
posted by plastic_animals at 9:55 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Mets aside, does that hoagie line seem way off to anyone else?

It also seems pretty ethno-centric too. Maybe they should do a map of the blurred lines between Jamaican meat-pies, Dosa, Samosa, pasties, perogies... etc for their "food stuffed into a bread-product for ease of consumption" data set in that region.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:58 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


One of the best memories I have of the aftermath of the 2004 World Series is suddenly seeing a lot of people walking around wearing Red Sox garb, which I could tell had been kept secret before that point.

I used to get a fair ration of shit from the greater Yankee fandom. I (somehow, inexplicably) watched game 3 (the 19-8 shellacking) from some really ridiculous meathead sports bar in, like, Sheepshead Bay or something and my friends and I were basically run out on a rail. I remember one fellow's look of furious contempt and pity when I was telling him, my words stronger than my feelings, that we could still come back and win the series. One of the main disappointments of my life is not being able to rub it in that guys face.

But yeah. A typical exchange from pre-2004:
guy (gesturing to my Red Sox hat): "Hey buddy - you got some shit on your hat"
me (pointing to the front of my hat with my middle finger): "What, here?"
posted by dirtdirt at 10:02 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Hipsters and indie rockers everywhere can rest easy knowing that their Mets fandom is now documented as being safe from the mainstream.
posted by grumpybear69 at 10:03 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Oh, and: I don't know what to say about it, but this made me wet my pants.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:04 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


One of the best memories I have of the aftermath of the 2004 World Series is suddenly seeing a lot of people walking around wearing Red Sox garb, which I could tell had been kept secret before that point.

In a situation like this, how does one differentiate between "long suffering fans of a team finally coming out of the closet" and "bandwagoners"?
posted by The Gooch at 10:06 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I visited Madison last year. I was walking down the street, close to campus, wearing my Orioles shirt. A cabbie drove by and yelled "Go O's!".

I have no idea if he was from Baltimore or a fan, but that made my trip.
posted by spaltavian at 10:06 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


I'm sort of interested that Minneapolis and St. Paul are split between Red Sox and Yankees as "followup team."

Also, that Providence is 70%/21% for Red Sox/Yankees. I would think that would usher in civil disturbance, but, no....
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:07 AM on April 24


The article's description of the "Munson/Nixon line" has confirmed my personal theory that Eastern Connecticut exists to be a demilitarized zone between Red Sox and Yankee territory.

...That is as compelling a justification for the existence of eastern Connecticut as anything else I've ever seen or heard.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:08 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


In a situation like this, how does one differentiate between "long suffering fans of a team finally coming out of the closet" and "bandwagoners"?

Hmm...that is a pickle. I think you just have to ask. I am a total bandwagoner. I went to one Red Sox game last season. I watched only one Red Sox game last season. That was the same game.....a World Series Game at Fenway. That makes me one of the worst fair weather fans ever. I totally admit it. I don't care much about baseball. I am only interested in the drama.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 10:10 AM on April 24


the far eastern end of Long Island is Red Sox territory

I found out last year that Rhode Island's only Boy Scout summer camp, Yawgoog, attracts a lot of Long Island kids who take the ferry over with all their camping gear. I guess expediency outweighs loyalty (since they are in another council or service area or whatever we call them now), but it still surprised me.

My own Scout Camp, Tomahawk in rural Wisconsin, is like three times the size of Yawgoog -- so big that they don't even use a lot of the land yet.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:11 AM on April 24


I'm surprised at how much of Michigan's Upper Peninsula is Tigers fans as opposed to Brewers fans -- on a similar map of football fandom, the Yoopers are all Packer fans once you got out of sight of the bridge. I guess it has to do with relative success.

Your last sentence explains your first sentence.

Why is there no tiny li'l, red Kings XI Punjab dot covering my zip code?
posted by NoMich at 10:12 AM on April 24


In a situation like this, how does one differentiate between "long suffering fans of a team finally coming out of the closet" and "bandwagoners"?

How new/worn their gear looks is a good first gloss.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:14 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I just love the Phillies vs. Mets map, with the "Mets fans who eat hoagies" corridor in Trenton.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:16 AM on April 24


Despite renaming themselves as the "Los Angeles" Angels (which my relatives in Irvine tell me was a marketing move to try to attract more Hispanic fans), that "Reagan/Nixon" line is just the Orange County/Los Angeles County border. (Except for Los Alamitos, which, I can tell you from growing up on the border marches in Cypress, was never exactly "orange", if you know what I mean.)
posted by benito.strauss at 10:16 AM on April 24


you can listen to the Red Sox games on the radio out there.

Joe Castiglione is what a real baseball announcer sounds like. You can picture him in a pork-pie hat with a skinny tie half-undone hanging onto a giant lollypop microphone.

John Sterling is like corn syrup and chromed plastic. You can picture him being distilled from a vat before every game.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:17 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I'm sort of interested that Minneapolis and St. Paul are split between Red Sox and Yankees as "followup team."

Well, you know, the Great Principle (which outlanders call "Minnesota nice") dictates that we find the most contentious parties to a dispute and then bind to them in equal parts so as to smother the disharmony.

I mean, after cheering for Those Beloved Underdogs, the Twinkies.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:19 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


How new/worn their gear looks is a good first gloss.

Ugh. I've been a Red Sox fan my whole life (essentially) and recently had to retire my 20 year old cap. When I get that brandy new one, eventually, I am going to be pretty self conscious about it for a while. Again we are shown that judging books by their covers is a lousy strategy. If someone gives me the pink hat stink eye I'll start complaining about Calvin Schiraldi, I guess.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:19 AM on April 24


Seymour Zamboni: I am a total bandwagoner. I went to one Red Sox game last season. I watched only one Red Sox game last season. That was the same game.....a World Series Game at Fenway. That makes me one of the worst fair weather fans ever. I totally admit it. I don't care much about baseball. I am only interested in the drama.

"So, uh…what part of New York or California are you from, then, sir?"
posted by wenestvedt at 10:21 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


DirtyOldTown: "They're in a parallel universe with the Athletics and White Sox, apparently."

In Illinois when someone admits to being a White Sox fan, Cubs and Cards fans like to snipe, "Oh, you mean Illinois's THIRD most-popular baseball team?"

I live right on that downstate Cubs/Cards line -- we fly a Cubs flag as fifth- and sixth-generation Cubs fans, and my next-door neighbors fly a Cards flag, as enemies of all that is good and right in the world -- and BOY ARE OPINIONS HEATED. We have to quit going to our favorite bar during baseball season, as it is a Cards bar, and drunk Cardinals fans are pretty much worse than Satan, especially once the Cubs are out of contention.

When people ask my non-native husband who his baseball team is, like when office Cubs/Cards debates get heated, he says apologetically, "I married into Cubs fandom."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:23 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Despite renaming themselves as the "Los Angeles" Angels

Worse than that, thanks to the franchise's long-standing agreement, the city's name had to be in the team's name, which resulted in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The loud and well-deserved derision that resulted is still very much in evidence, including a blue T-shirt with "The Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles."
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:24 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


"So, uh…what part of New York or California are you from, then, sir?"

Well.......born and raised in suburban Boston. Currently live on the south coast of MA....so I am a horrible very bad fan. But I lived in Mpls for 7 years and watched the Twins win the World Series in a dive bar on the west bank back in 1987.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 10:27 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


In a situation like this, how does one differentiate between "long suffering fans of a team finally coming out of the closet" and "bandwagoners"?

Celcius has it - the apparent age of the garb is one giveaway. That, and the gleeful "hail, comrade!" look they got on their face when they saw me with my own cap.

But this is reminding me of a moment during the 2004 league playoffs - I stopped in at a coffeeshop on my way to a rehearsal, and while the kid behind the counter was making my coffee I noticed that the tip jar had been labeled "The Yankees Suck Fund" with a small handwritten sign. "So, you're all Red Sox fans in this place?" I asked the kid, pointing at the sign.

He beamed and opened his jacket to show me a Red Sox t-shirt he'd made himself with a plain shirt and fabric paint. "You got it."

"Okay," I told him, "I want you to watch me." And then I pulled a five-dollar bill out of my wallet, showed him the denomination, and then stuffed it into the jar.

He went BERSERK. "You ROCK!" he crowed, slapping me a high-five. "You know what, your coffee is FREE! Boston ROCKS! Yankees SUCK! You ROCK!"

I meant to look for him when we won the series altogether, but it slipped my mind. I hope he's doing well.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:29 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


If anyone ever wanted to know the dividing line between North Jersey and South Jersey, the Yankee / Phillies border is helpful. Yes, Monmouth County is, and will always be, a part of North Jersey.
posted by otto42 at 10:29 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Where the fuck are the Mets?

We've gone into hiding until the Wilpons go quietly into the night. I'm not holding my breath.

One of the best memories I have of the aftermath of the 2004 World Series is suddenly seeing a lot of people walking around wearing Red Sox garb, which I could tell had been kept secret before that point.


There's a lot of Red Sox fans in NYC because there's a lot of Boston/New England transplants. That said, nearly every Mets fan I know (myself included) jumped hardcore onto the Red Sox bandwagon in '04 - mostly to spite the Yankees, of course - so a good bit of that enthusiasm you saw might've been "fuck the Yankees" enthusiasm from Mets fans, rather than any particular affinity for the Red Sox.

Now I've basically come understand that the Red Sox are the Little Evil Empire. I still don't hate them, though.
posted by breakin' the law at 10:32 AM on April 24


The only two places I lived that had MLB teams were the South Side of Chicago and Washington, DC; the Cardinals-Cubs rivalry is a real "the Earth opened up and swallowed all of them, nothing of value was lost" thing for me.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:33 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I am a product of a mixed marriage, in that my mother is a die hard Mets fan, and my father was a Yankees fan from birth. I always dreaded a subway series would result in divorce.* Having been brought up in this unlikely scenario, I am a fan of both the Yankees and the Mets. I am sure this means I am hated by both sides.


*kidding -- They were deeply in love, and baseball is what brought them together in the first place.
posted by blurker at 10:34 AM on April 24


I visited Madison last year. I was walking down the street, close to campus, wearing my Orioles shirt. A cabbie drove by and yelled "Go O's!"

Are you sure that wasn't me? Because I yell that each and every one of the three times a year I see an Oriole logo here in Madison. Pretty sure an analysis of FB postings would show I am Madison, Wisconsin's #1 Oriole Superfan.
posted by escabeche at 10:35 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


PS: As a Montgomery County, MD native the statistics for the good old 20854 are killing me, killing me. That the Nationals are more popular than the Orioles now, OK, I accept it. But that the Orioles are THIRD, behind the YANKEES? That is like a knife to my heart. You're dead to me, Bethesda. Eat shit, Rockville. Et tu, Gaithersburg?
posted by escabeche at 10:37 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


I don't understand how people can change allegiances once their team starts sucking. Until probably 2010 I imagine the Astros still dominated the state of Texas. I can understand attending fewer games and buying less merchandise, because I've done that recently, but to go and support the fucking Rangers? I subscribe to the Nick Hornby philosophy that loyalty to a team is less a brave or moral choice and more something you're stuck with, like herpes, but I would seriously question the sanity of anyone who did that.
posted by IanMorr at 10:37 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


In a situation like this, how does one differentiate between "long suffering fans of a team finally coming out of the closet" and "bandwagoners"?

How new/worn their gear looks is a good first gloss.


In the few seasons after the Hurricanes won the Cup, I proudly wore my Starter brand red Hurricanes jersey out 'n about. That way, the other diehards in town would know that I got mine during the dark Greensboro days. (I still proudly wear it about town, but other jersey gets usage as well.)
posted by NoMich at 10:39 AM on April 24


Worse than that, thanks to the franchise's long-standing agreement, the city's name had to be in the team's name, which resulted in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Longstanding? They were the Anaheim Angels from 1996 to 2005 -- it took longer for Rowling to put out all the Harry Potter novels than it took for that team to go from the California Angels to the Los Angeles Angels.
posted by Etrigan at 10:40 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


As a fair weather drama-seeking Red Sox fan, I do have an affinity for the Cardinals. This is based on what happened back in 2004 when the Sox won the series in St. Louis. When the Cards fans realized that all was lost in that last game, many of their fans who were sitting behind the Red Sox dugout got up from their seats and moved back so that Red Sox fans in attendance could occupy those seats and be close to their team for the victory. I thought that was one of the classiest things I ever saw from a fan base. And for that reason, I root for the Cardinals (unless they are playing the Red Sox).
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 10:41 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


I don't understand how people can change allegiances once their team starts sucking. Until probably 2010 I imagine the Astros still dominated the state of Texas.

Yeah, that map was surprising. I had no idea the Rangers were that popular. It’s the Texas Rangers, right, the baseball team?
posted by bongo_x at 10:43 AM on April 24


Yes, but consider the alternative.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:46 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Longstanding? They were the Anaheim Angels from 1996 to 2005 -- it took longer for Rowling to put out all the Harry Potter novels than it took for that team to go from the California Angels to the Los Angeles Angels.

This is Southern California. Anything over 10 years old might as well be from Ye Olde Historie Tymes.

However, you are right -- the agreement was from the pre-Arte Moreno days of 1996, and he pushed the name change for "marketing" purposes in 2005. I should have said "pre-existing" rather than "long-standing."
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:48 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


What about the Canadian teams? Is the national divide just too great for fan bases to bleed over the border. I was searching the Buffalo/Niagara area for Blue Jays fans, and there are apparently none. And I wonder if back in the day areas of far northern New York and Vermont were home to some Expos fans.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 10:48 AM on April 24


And I wonder if back in the day areas of far northern New York and Vermont were home to some Expos fans.

I know a guy who's a Red Sox fan, but was also a pretty big Expos fan just because it was cheaper for his family to drive to Montreal, see a game, and spend the night, than it was to see a game at Fenway. I think he was living in New Hampshire at the time.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:50 AM on April 24


The Angels are on the map so they did manage to get something in exchange for the Pujols and Hamilton contracts. How can people watch the Cubs? That team is just awful. At least the White Sox are (currently) at .500.

Also there isn't an America's team like the Dallas Cowboys.
posted by bukvich at 10:54 AM on April 24


The Yankees are the exact equivalent of the Cowboys, except without the 15-year streak of consistent, hilarious failure.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:55 AM on April 24


Also there isn't an America's team like the Dallas Cowboys.

Flagged as offensive.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:55 AM on April 24 [13 favorites]


Flagged as offensive.

Which I found completely cryptic. I like how they get the weird divide up the middle of Vermont as far as Yankees/Sox loyalties go.
posted by jessamyn at 10:58 AM on April 24


What's up with all of the Yankees fans in the Carolinas? That's some kind or irony there. It's like Yankees fandom is part of the background radiation of the universe.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 11:00 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I've heard that back in the day, you could get Yankees games on the radio in North Carolina, but no one else. I wouldn't be surprised if you're still seeing people who are fans because their father or grandfather would listen to Yankees games on the radio. Of course, I lived there for 18 years and I don't think I ever met a single baseball fan, it's just not a huge part of the life there anymore.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:02 AM on April 24


What's up with all of the Yankees fans in the Carolinas?

Yes...actually a large swath of Virginia and North Carolina is just a vague mixture of Yankees, Red Sox, and Braves fans. And what was also interesting is that when you go right into DC the %Nationals doesn't spike to like 70-80% like it does for other teams near their urban centers. Perhaps that is because they are relatively new?
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 11:03 AM on April 24


I wonder how closely the Yankees spread follows the migration of NYers away from their home state.
posted by blurker at 11:08 AM on April 24


bukvich: "How can people watch the Cubs? That team is just awful."

You are watching baseball wrong. Drink more beer. Keep drinking beer until you enjoy watching the Cubs. That's the right amount of beer.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:11 AM on April 24 [13 favorites]


I wonder how closely the Yankees spread follows the migration of NYers away from their home state.

That’s what I assumed before, but there can’t be that many of them.

I’m surprised there aren’t more Cubs fans in AZ, especially southern AZ. Growing up there 30 years ago they were everywhere and it seemed one out of every four people was from Chicago.
posted by bongo_x at 11:16 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I wonder how closely the Yankees spread follows the migration of NYers away from their home state.

Oh! I love it when FPPs turn out to be about Epidemiology!
posted by wenestvedt at 11:21 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


I'm an Orioles fan, Baltimore being the first place I lived in when I moved to the USA (I could open up the back door of my rowhouse and hear the crowd at Camden Yards... how could I *not* be a baseball fan?) but now we live in Queens and my daughter is being raised as a Mets fan, because how could we support the Yankees?

Most of her kindergarten classmates are Mets fans as well. I actually had an involved and (plausibly but not really) serious conversation with a dad from the class about whether choosing Mets fandom would promote resilience or whether being underdogs would set them up for some sort of learned helplessness scenario in later life :). Wondered whether we would have been better off raising Yankees fans, with the win at all (literal) cost mentality, even with the smug entitlement that would (obviously! duh!) ensue.
posted by gaspode at 11:23 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Amazing where some of the patches of Red Sox Nation are. When you zoom and look at the county stats, most Idaho counties are split between Yankees and Red Sox. And the Sox run second or third in just about every major market.
posted by beagle at 11:25 AM on April 24


I grew up in New Hampshire as the child of a Kansas City native and a Brooklyn native. When I started paying attention to baseball in 1996, I could either choose obscurity (KC Royals), lifelong disappointment and loss of the love of half of my family (Red Sox) or awesomeness (Yankees vanquishing the Braves in the World Series). Since all 8 year old girls are a little mercenary, I obviously chose to become a Yankees fan. Let me tell you, growing up a Yankees fan in the heart of Red Sox Nation makes you KNOW your baseball. I spent a significant portion of my childhood memorizing stats and players and staying up to date on everything to do with the Yankees so nobody would accuse me of being on the bandwagon. I still wear my Scott Brosius and Chuck Knoblauch jerseys with pride, latter-day Yankees be damned.
posted by ChuraChura at 11:31 AM on April 24


I’m surprised there aren’t more Cubs fans in AZ, especially southern AZ. Growing up there 30 years ago they were everywhere and it seemed one out of every four people was from Chicago.

Anecdata: My father was born and raised in Chicago back when baseball was the only sport worth mentioning, and he maintained his Cubs fandom for thirty years after leaving town. He moved to Phoenix in the '90s and settled in Mesa specifically because that's where Cubs spring training was. When the Diamondbacks started up, he was ecstatic. And then he just gave up because it's just too goddamn hot to go to a Diamondbacks game during the actual baseball season (even just going to the game is too goddamn hot, even when the stadium AC is working), and if you can't go to a game that's actually happening right there in your own metropolitan area, what the hell's the point.
posted by Etrigan at 11:37 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


bukvich: "How can people watch the Cubs? That team is just awful. At least the White Sox are (currently) at .500."

That's not how fandom works. As a Pirate fan coming off of our (now ended) streak of TWENTY FREAKING STRAIGHT LOSING SEASONS, I never once thought about rooting for any other team. I certainly turned off a lot more games with a sigh, once we were trailing 8-3 in the 4th inning, but still, it's Buccos For Life.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:40 AM on April 24 [8 favorites]


I grew up in Sarnia, Ontario, which is sort of halfway between Toronto and Detroit. I don't know what it's like these days, but when I was there most people pledged allegiance to one city's teams or the other. I grew up in a Detroit house, which explains why I still have some residual affection for the poor ol' Lions.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:50 AM on April 24


That said, nearly every Mets fan I know (myself included) jumped hardcore onto the Red Sox bandwagon in '04 - mostly to spite the Yankees, of course - so a good bit of that enthusiasm you saw might've been "fuck the Yankees" enthusiasm from Mets fans, rather than any particular affinity for the Red Sox.

I'm a NYer, and a Mets fan. I was living in Boston at the time, and yes, I spent more on beer and nachos during that playoff / World Series run than the GDP of many small nations. I wasn't a bandwagon-jumper, per se--my Red Sox cap was well-worn by that point--but the good, old-fashioned Yankee-hate was the icing on the cake.

(That cap, by the way, is filthy and tattered and stinks to high heaven, but I can't wash it because it's got Fenway warning track dirt on it.)
posted by uncleozzy at 11:56 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


I actually got a lot of love in NYC from Boston fans who noticed my Cubs hat in 2004.
posted by ursus_comiter at 12:05 PM on April 24


And then he just gave up because it's just too goddamn hot to go to a Diamondbacks game during the actual baseball season (even just going to the game is too goddamn hot, even when the stadium AC is working), and if you can't go to a game that's actually happening right there in your own metropolitan area, what the hell's the point.

But if that’s the case then it’s too damn hot to go to the grocery store or anything else for that matter. It’s freakin hot there. The stadium is pretty nice though.
posted by bongo_x at 12:06 PM on April 24


And come on, Braves games in the summer? It’s not even air conditioned.
posted by bongo_x at 12:08 PM on April 24


There is no concentrated group of Diamondback fans not even in Arizona. Gila county (50k pop) is the highest at 42%. And the by far the largest county, Maricopa, where the team plays is only 36% (Redsox 8% and yankees 8%). Even both Florida teams have multiple counties over 50%.

Arizona must be filled with avid readers and that cannot make time for baseball in between discussing art, politics, ethics, etc.
posted by Ommcc at 12:19 PM on April 24


And then he just gave up because it's just too goddamn hot to go to a Diamondbacks game during the actual baseball season (even just going to the game is too goddamn hot, even when the stadium AC is working), and if you can't go to a game that's actually happening right there in your own metropolitan area, what the hell's the point.

But if that’s the case then it’s too damn hot to go to the grocery store or anything else for that matter. It’s freakin hot there. The stadium is pretty nice though.


Grocery stores are pretty commonly open 24 hours there, and people do errands at absurd hours. The Diamondbacks don't play at 4 a.m.

Plus, he's 70 years old. If he were in his 30s, he'd probably be more willing to walk across a stadium parking lot when it's 108 in the shade.
posted by Etrigan at 12:19 PM on April 24


Phoenix is also a fair bit hotter than Atlanta. Average highs for July in Atlanta: 89.1. Average high for July in Phoenix: 106.1.* Sure humidity is a factor, but that's really fucking hot.

*This is per Wikipedia, but as an East Coaster, even one from the South, I have trouble imagining that that is real and that people live there. I now think Phoenix might be a mythical place.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:23 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


heh

double heh
posted by tonycpsu at 12:23 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Ommcc: "There is no concentrated group of Diamondback fans not even in Arizona. Gila county (50k pop) is the highest at 42%. And the by far the largest county, Maricopa, where the team plays is only 36% (Redsox 8% and yankees 8%). Even both Florida teams have multiple counties over 50%. "

Well, they *are* an expansion team, plus Arizona has a lot of people who moved there. Not a whole lot of people have grown up with them.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:28 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I wasn’t trying to disparage your dad, I can understand, it’s freakin hot.

People like to dismiss the humidity thing with "sure, it’s a dry heat!" but man does it make a difference. There is no doubt that it’s ungodly hot in PHX, but I was just in Tucson and was thinking "there is no way it’s in the low 90’s right now". It was nice. It’s miserable in Atlanta in the 90’s. People have visited me from AZ and say "how can you live in this heat?".

Many places just aren’t baseball crazy. One year I went to a Braves game, the last of the season that determined if they were getting into the playoffs. We walked up to the window and got good seats right before the start. Didn’t even have to go to scalpers. We were kind of worked up after the game and talking to some of the people on the train, almost every one of whose reaction was "yeah, sure, I’m not really that into baseball". And these are the people who had specifically taken the public transportation for the game.
posted by bongo_x at 12:31 PM on April 24


tonycpsu's links are from ZWR, if you Phillies fans want more.
posted by troika at 12:31 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Yeah, shame on me for forgetting to credit those links
posted by tonycpsu at 12:32 PM on April 24


Well, they *are* an expansion team, plus Arizona has a lot of people who moved there. Not a whole lot of people have grown up with them.

True. I’ve been in Phoenix in years past when the Suns were in a big game and there was no one on the streets. It was kind of eerie since I’m not a basketball fan and didn’t know what was going on.
posted by bongo_x at 12:34 PM on April 24


I like how they get the weird divide up the middle of Vermont as far as Yankees/Sox loyalties go.

If you look at the proximity to the NY border, the divide is not so weird. There's a kind of corruption that sloshes up the Thruway and over the border.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:01 PM on April 24


I'm a Red Sox fan. I don't own any gear and I'm not super into them, but I do remember a burning, deep hatred for Jose Canseco in the early 90s. And my faith was rewarded.

That said, Red Sox fans are assholes. The only thing worse than a Red Sox fan talking about baseball is a Yankees fan (in any context). Whenever I talk about baseball, even being a not terribly well informed fan, I feel the edge of assholishness creep up upon me. I suspect it's like driving in Boston. Do it for long enough and you become a Masshole.

Winning the World Series 3 times in the last 10 years? Anyone who still considers themselves a fan of the underdogs is starting to edge towards being in the same league as a Yankees fan.

I live in New York. Talking about baseball is the only time I really let myself be an asshole. Because while there are lots of fans of the Yankees here, and the Yankees tend to be very good, the team is rather hard to defend.

I have a friend who is a Mets fan. We all just kind of pity him.
posted by Hactar at 1:43 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Winning the World Series 3 times in the last 10 years? Anyone who still considers themselves a fan of the underdogs is starting to edge towards being in the same league as a Yankees fan.

Oh, gods, and last year, with their "Finally, we'll win it on our own field," like that's a fuckin' thing.
posted by Etrigan at 1:45 PM on April 24 [5 favorites]


The strangest thing here to me is that I am sure I have said over and over that outside of the Northeast no one cares about the Yankees and Red Sox. This map shows that to be false and I am not sure how to deal with that.
posted by mountmccabe at 1:53 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


The only thing good about the Red Sox was that they lost a lot, now that that's gone they are seriously challenging and may have surpassed the Yankees in having the worst, most obnoxious fans in baseball.

It boggles my mind how so many people can love a franchise that has pretty much always been considered the most racist professional sports team in America-- from being the very last team to integrate (12 long seasons after the Dodgers), to the half-hearted acknowledgement of their team's overtly racist past but no repudiation of the legendary owner who was an unabashed racist, to the whispers and rumors that Theo Epstein's GM tenure focused heavily on white players (undoing the gains of his predecessor, who made the Red Sox, for the first time in the history of the game were not the whitest team in baseball), to the way players like Ellis Burks, Mo Vaughn, Nomar Garicaparra, and Manny Ramirez were treated by the organization as their tenure came to an end. True or not, it's widely believed within baseball that the Red Sox hideous racial past isn't completely gone, and the team doesn't seem to go out of its way to expunge that memory.

In sharp contrast is the Yankees, whose past was equally as racist as the Yankees (they integrated four years earlier, but were under more public pressure and still 8 very long years after the Dodgers). It is now widely believed in baseball that the Yankees are one of the best teams for a non-white player to play, and for the most part they have treated their players with respect as they age, not ginning up controversy and running them out of town the way the Sox seem to do, especially with non-white players.

The smugness once reserved for Yankees fans is now also the provenance of Red Sox fans, but along with it comes a certain form of past-loser's entitlement, as if the Curse of the Bambino means rude and obnoxious behavior should be automatically excused. I, like many others, was happy for the Sox and Boston when they finally won a championship, but that goodwill was used up very quickly.
posted by cell divide at 1:53 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


the city's name had to be in the team's name, which resulted in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

I always translate the Spanish, so it's "the the Angels Angles of Anaheim."
posted by kirkaracha at 2:02 PM on April 24 [4 favorites]


> How can people watch the Cubs? That team is just awful.

I came here to share the pain of my fellow Mets fans, but I have to respond to this comment. As others have said, you are doing it wrong if you think that way. I grew up rooting for the Senators ("first in war, first in peace, and last in the American League"), which was good preparation for becoming a Mets fan when I moved to NYC (though we'll always have '86) and for life in general. Rooting for a team because they win is a moral failing, though enjoying your team's win when they finally manage it after years of losing is fine.

> The only thing good about the Red Sox was that they lost a lot, now that that's gone they are seriously challenging and may have surpassed the Yankees in having the worst, most obnoxious fans in baseball.

You take that back—my nine-year-old grandson is a Red Sox fan! (OK, he can be obnoxious at times, but not for that reason.) And it's especially satisfying to me because his parents are Yankee fans and they just have to suck it up, buy him Sox paraphernalia, and take him to Fenway.
posted by languagehat at 2:11 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


WWOR was historically the Mets station not the Yankees.

The East End of LI was historically much more New England facing culturally. Not just because of the media (all of the free to air tv is from Connecticut) but even going back to the founding of Southampton by Puritans. In my mothers generation and especially in my grandmother's generation the local accent is very New England. My grandmother didn't sound like a New Yorker at all and that's even with spending her entire working life up the island.

The yaz thing matters - there's a very big Polish immigrant community out there and he was a hero out there when he was playing but the area was always likely to be Red Sox fans.
posted by JPD at 3:03 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


and for the most part they have treated their players with respect as they age

They don't have much of a choice, given that most of those guys are owed $30m a year through their age-52 season.
posted by escabeche at 3:15 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


The smugness once reserved for Yankees fans is now also the provenance of Red Sox fans, but along with it comes a certain form of past-loser's entitlement, as if the Curse of the Bambino means rude and obnoxious behavior should be automatically excused.

I'm sorry...I just don't see it. This isn't my experience with Red Sox fans. I was at Fenway Park for a World Series game last fall. There were many St. Louis fans present wearing their team colors. What I experienced and observed was something different than what I was expecting. What I observed was a relaxed and congenial atmosphere. The St. Louis fans were totally engaged with the Red Sox fans around them and everybody was friendly. Sometimes I think we allow a few loud mouths completely dominate our perceptions...and I guess that is how stereotypes become rooted. I know lots of Red Sox fans and not one of them is a smug asshole.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 3:36 PM on April 24


Pretty sure there are a lot of Yankee fans that are more interested in the fact that they can get a neon camo NY baseball cap with metallic trim with a big stupid sticker on the brim, than the actual game of baseball.
posted by Hoopo at 3:44 PM on April 24


If you look at the proximity to the NY border, the divide is not so weird. There's a kind of corruption that sloshes up the Thruway and over the border.

You disappoint me, Bennington County. Get it together or I'm never celebrating Bennington Battle Day again (even if the fight was in NY).

(What? It's still a more legit state holiday than Evacuation Day.)
posted by maryr at 3:47 PM on April 24


> Rooting for a team because they win is a moral failing

No.

If you live near the Mets and it's a horrible pain in the ass to get to a Yankee game you maybe do not have as much choice as a person who never spends the money to go a game and is going to choose whether to put on the Cubs TV show or the White Sox TV show. If you think it's some kind of a character positive to watch the Cubs TV show when they are on pace to lose a hundred and eight baseball games this season I don't know what to tell you.

Also the White Sox have better hats. I would actually buy a White Sox hat whereas if you gave me a Cubs hat I would toss it in the dumpster.
posted by bukvich at 3:51 PM on April 24


Is it me, or does it look like there's a business opportunity for someone to put a franchise in the North Carolina/Southern Virginia area? They seem under-served, with all the allegiances going to Yankees/Braves/Red Sox.

I've long advocated for a major league franchise in Norfolk. People overestimate the affinity southern Virginians have for DC. Even for football, there are as many Cowboys fans as there are Washington Football Team fans.
posted by enjoymoreradio at 4:06 PM on April 24


Well, they *are* an expansion team, plus Arizona has a lot of people who moved there. Not a whole lot of people have grown up with them.

That is why I compared it to the Florida team. Both are expansion teams. Marlins are a bit older. They also have reputation for poor attendance at games. In addition Florida like Arizona has a lot of transplants from the cold weather states.

You can zoom into the zip code level and even there the oldest neighborhoods in central Phoenix don't crack 40%. Tampa Rays an expansion team the same year as the Diamondbacks have many zips above 50%. And even the zip code in Tampa with the long time home of the YANKEES spring training stadium has 47% for the Rays.

I know AZ is full of transplants and fare weather fans but I did not think local support was so low. I would think the team was a candidate for relocation base on this data. And this team has just started a dark period that is going to be long and bleak so the AZ owner might be worried.
posted by Ommcc at 4:11 PM on April 24


There have always been a small pocket of Red Sox fans here in New York City. We are small, we suffered oppression in the 20th Century, but we are mighty and we are faithful.

Also, Dominicans, because of Martinez, Ortiz, and Ramirez. When I lived in Hamilton Heights in 2005-08 I saw more Red Sox hats than anything else.

I have a friend born in Queens and when I said he should be a Mets fan he said, "No, I'm from Northern Queens." And I said, "You mean where the Mets play?"
posted by Jahaza at 4:12 PM on April 24


I've said it before, and I'll say it again, a large part of the problem with the Cubs is their so called fan base and the game experience.
posted by Carillon at 4:44 PM on April 24


> > Rooting for a team because they win is a moral failing

No.


Yes. I will brook no debate on this. Stealing, lying, pushing old people down the stairs we can discuss. Rooting for a team because they win is lowlife behavior and that's all there is to it. But:

> Also the White Sox have better hats.

That's a perfectly acceptable reason to root for them.
posted by languagehat at 4:57 PM on April 24 [8 favorites]


As long as we're comparing notes about fandom, here are some of mine.

I became interested in baseball again as an adult largely as a side-effect of our stem-winding Tohoku earthquake-and-reactor threads three years ago. I was staying up to all hours and scavenging data off Japanese websites and one night it was all too much. A thought occurred, that there is baseball in Japan, and I redirected the data-scraping to NPB. Sendai, the capital city of the quake region, has a newish expansion team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, who contributed pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma to the Mariners a couple years ago and Masahiro Tanaka to this year's Yankees, after winning the Japanese series for the first time, at home, in a driving winter rain.

I now have a baseball-oriented Twitter account, and I follow a mix of English-speaking NPB fans, Japanese Eagles/Mariners fans (for some reason that team split seems common), and baseball internet artists. For some reason the White Sox are favored in that last group. The NPB fans all stay up to all hours and live tweet at each other during the games; those of us in North America know when one of us is at an MLB game with a notable ex-NPB player on the field. It's pretty cozy.

My first MLB game was in 1972, at Fenway, Tigers in town and Yaz on the field. I was in first grade, and too young to have much recall of it. Last time I looked it up, I recall learning that Spaceman Lee came in in relief and that the Red Sox lost. Later I remember following Hank Aaron's record chase and a bit of Pete Rose-era Reds.

Today, though, it's the Ms and the Eagles. I can't even imagine the Ms in the Series. Nothing will ever beat watching Tanaka finish that NPB series, though. Earphones and a tiny stuttering screen in the wee hours beats everything.
posted by mwhybark at 5:22 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


I don't understand how people can change allegiances once their team starts sucking.

My current object d'schmoop is a temporary transplant from Seattle, and is VERY DEFINITIVELY a Mariners fan. He's talked about wanting to see a Yankees/Mariners game in New York sometime this summer, and says he knows he will get some looks and some trash-talk - and that he will respond with an eye roll and by saying, "guys, come on, the Mariners suck and even I admit it."

(Me, if I'm able to go, I will also be joining the cheers for the Mariners because I am a Red Sox girl and so it's more "I'm cheering for not-the-Yankees.")
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:23 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


What are you talking about--the Cubs have great hats.

I'm a lifelong Cubs fan, but when I moved to LA it was easy to root for the Dodgers, too. The team means so much to people in LA (in the way the Cubs do to Chicago or Sox do for the south-siders), the stadium is old and historic and in a gorgeous setting (I know--the acquisition of the site was morally problematic), and Vin Scully. And Jackie Robinson. And Ron Cey, the Penguin.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 5:26 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Rooting for a team because they win is lowlife behavior and that's all there is to it.

QFT. If your team is better on the field, they will win the World Series. That's what the games and the seasons are for. Rooting for a team is about which team is superior, and that has little to do with the game results.

For instance, the Yankees are the best team on the field over the course of MLB history. And the Yankees suck. Both of these things are true, because they are judging the Yankees on different axes.
posted by Etrigan at 5:37 PM on April 24 [4 favorites]


The Dodgers? No, just no. Go root for the Angels. They're in CA honestly. O'Malley's stealing of the team from Brooklyn remains unforgivable. The Dodgers are dead to me.
posted by ursus_comiter at 5:41 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


(Me, if I'm able to go, I will also be joining the cheers for the Mariners because I am a Red Sox girl and so it's more "I'm cheering for not-the-Yankees.")

As the saying goes, my two favorite teams are the Dodgers and whoever is playing the Giants today.


The Dodgers? No, just no. Go root for the Angels. They're in CA honestly. O'Malley's stealing of the team from Brooklyn remains unforgivable. The Dodgers are dead to me.

Ahem.
In 1955, the team won the World Series for the first time in their history. However, attendance declined from a peak of 1.7 million in 1946 and 1947 to just over one million per year in the mid-1950s. With the advent of the affordable automobile and post-war prosperity, Brooklyn's formerly heterogeneous, middle-class fan base for the Dodgers began to splinter.[59] A large white flight took place, and Ebbets Field's shabby condition and lack of parking spaces led to the loss of fans who relocated to Long Island.[60] O'Malley tried to raise money and get the political backing to build a new ballpark elsewhere in Brooklyn. The one person whose backing he needed was Robert Moses, a powerful figure who influenced development in New York through the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. O'Malley envisioned a domed stadium near the Long Island Railroad station on Brooklyn's west end,[10] and even invited R. Buckminster Fuller to design the structure; Fuller, in conjunction with graduate students from Princeton University, constructed a model of the "Dodgers' Dome".[61] Moses did not like O'Malley and derided O'Malley's pro-Brooklyn and pro-Irish sentiments in the press.[62] O'Malley wanted to build a new Brooklyn Dodgers stadium at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue, but Moses wanted the Dodgers to move to Queens and play in Flushing Meadows Park (the location where the New York Mets play today). Although O'Malley lined up bipartisan political support including New York Governor W. Averell Harriman, Moses blocked the sale of the land necessary for the planned new Brooklyn stadium.
posted by Celsius1414 at 5:46 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


I'm a Phillies fan from when I was a kid. I was over the moon in 2008, and ever since it's been like that sequence in Groundhog Day where Bill Murray gets slapped earlier in the date each time. But I have always openly wanted the Athletics to come back to Philadelphia. Especially since the late '80s version when I was collecting baseball cards and the Canseco / Henderson / McGwire A's were lighting things up. I've been thinking about getting an old blue and white Philadelphia Athletics cap because it's classic, and because with 5 World Series wins, they are still the most successful major sports franchise in Philly history, and will stay that way for a couple more years at least.

The fact that there's not even a dot in Oakland where the A's are #1 keeps that bit of hope alive.
posted by graymouser at 5:47 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Not for nothing, but the other reason to root for the Cubs is that Theo Epstein and company are in the middle stages of a ground up rebuild. The big league club still stinks, but wave upon wave of absurdly talented prospects are on the way.

Yes, this means that being a Cub fan under Epstein's regime is so far just like being a Cub fan always is: faith, hope, and wait til next year (or the year after). But this time, it doesn't feel like delusion. This time, they're actually building something.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:27 PM on April 24


Carillon: "I've said it before, and I'll say it again, a large part of the problem with the Cubs is their so called fan base and the game experience."

I can't bring myself to quote it, but the Lee Elia rant is the obvious thing to link to here.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:39 PM on April 24


What about the Canadian teams?

You have the Blue Jays, and the Red Sox - one of the reasons the Expos folded is that the Maritimes and Newfie went Sawx in a big way.

Also, you can tell a Yankee fan from a mile off. They go on and on about how obnoxious Red Sox fans are - yet, should you actually talk ball with one, you will generally find a baseball fan who knows the history of your favorite team, and has nice things to say about your star player in a matter-of-fact, paranoid and bombastic way. Yes, the average Red Sox fan is convinced your team, no matter how bad otherwise, will humiliate them in a 3-game series. If you're not a Yankees fan, that has to feel nice.

The racism thing is baloney, too. Ask any Sawx fan about Dave Roberts or David Ortiz... reverent, hushed whispers... or while we're at it, Manny or Pedro or Uehara or Ellsbury. (Oh, I'm sorry Yankees "fan" - did you miss that your new speedster is a Native American?) The stake was hammered into that vampire's heart when Bill Russell came out to throw that opening pitch. That man has opinions on Boston sports and Race. When the unveiling of his statue was scheduled to coincide with another event, Boston sports media was apoplectic in their rage. Racism isn't buried with the curse of the Bambino, but goddamn if everyone didn't grab a shovel. (The morning show on WEEI being the exception. Note to station management - when your hosts snicker and mock the holocaust museum in LA - the Museum of Tolerance - because they don't like "tolerance" as Republicans and are too stupid to google the name, you mmmmmay want to cut them loose. One day Tom Brady, Danny Ainge or Vince Wilfork is going to very publicly say "Fuck your money, you racist pricks" on your station if you don't.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:47 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


He's talked about wanting to see a Yankees/Mariners game in New York sometime this summer,

Keep your eyes peeled and fingers crossed for a Tanaka/Iwakuma matchup, then! I'm hoping for it out here in June, but it's iffy - there were two Iwakuma/Darvish matchups in Darvish's first MLB season
posted by mwhybark at 8:56 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Dude, all I know about the Mariners is that they exist.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:37 PM on April 24


MetaFilter: And they said money can't buy love!
posted by theartandsound at 9:38 PM on April 24


Piggybacking on the NPB and Japanese baseball, and the Yankees discussion, the worst team in all of baseball (from the 'rooting for this team is a sign of a lack of moral fiber/good upbringing' discussion) is the Yomiuri Giants. The Yankees wish they were this evil. The Yankees have a cable channel. Yomiuri has one of the four or five national broadcast networks. Imagine if, say, instead of TBS, the Braves were broadcast on NBC. Every. Single. Game.

Yomiuri is Japanese baseball. They have enough pull in the league that any change essentially has to be given the okay by the Giants. The draft? What draft? Players are allowed to say what teams they'll consider playing for, and almost without fail, many of the top prospects want to go to the Giants.

When the idea of interleague play finally trickled over the ocean,any of the Central League teams (there are two divisions, the longstanding Central [booo] and the relatively newer Pacific [yaaaay]) objected on the grounds that they would lose a handful of home games against the Giants, which are pretty much guaranteed sell outs (the games. The teams, too, but that's different). The Pacific League was all for it, because they'd get the ticket sales from six or so Giants games.

Hell, even the idea of a championship game between the winner of each league had to get the okay from the chairman of the Giants. After that, the relatively new concept of having playoffs for the top three teams of each league met with resistance there are only six teams in each league, and there was serious talk of eliminating several teams a couple years ago. Two teams got merged, and a new team, Rakuten, opened up shop in Sendai.

The Giants are everywhere, and everything. They're an unholy combination of the Lakers, Cowboys, Yankees, hell, even Manchester United or Real Madrid. Every time I see a foreigner wearing one of their hats, I immediately think they're an asshole. It's not like they're the only team in Tokyo. There's the Yakult Swallos, who, in addition to a great team name, have a great logo, and outdoor stadium with its own traditions.

Of course, there's also a Red Sox stand-in, the Hanshin Tigers who, for years, sucked. Then they got good, and if a kid doesn't like the Giants, they almost certainly like the Tigers.

So where should a non-evil fan lay their allegiances? There's Rakuten, who have that nice new team smell. They have a great stadium with an outfield lawn instead of seats. There's the sentimental cheering for the team that couldn't play games in their home stadium for weeks, maybe months, after the earthquake. They seem pretty nice, until you remember that they fired their incredibly popular coach because he was old, or that, when they started up, they made a big show of how they'd be a new team, with a new outlook, and made waves by hiring as GM a well known foreigner who wrote about the Japanese leagues for the Japan Times, promising to let him assemble the team without interfering. He was fired in maybe May of the inaugural season because, surprise, as an expansion team, Rakuten was in last place.

The Nippon Ham Fighters sound great, until you realize they're actually the Fighters, and owned by A company named Nippon Ham, not the infinitely more interesting name you'd just thought they had. Also, evil. Darvish. Evil.

No, the only decent team (aside from the one closest to where you live) is the Chiba Lotte Marines. That's right, the team that, until Bobby Valentine took over (the first time) had pink uniforms. The best fans, the best songs, just all around awesome. Except for the hats. Lousy logo. Other than that, go Marines!

What about the Seibu Lions, you ask? Dude, Saitama. They play in Saitama.

Saitama.

posted by Ghidorah at 4:59 AM on April 25 [9 favorites]


Yeah, Bobby Valentine is famous for being one of the all-time great managers in Japan - the Marines under his watch perpetually punched above their weight, a bunch of scrappers. Unfortunately, there's a pretty big difference in baseball culture between Asia and North America - what works for team-building and player chemistry over there is club-house poison over here.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:19 AM on April 25


Ghidorah,

All I can say is that I have managed to see the Swallows and the Golden Eagles play. Can I be non-evil? My strongest impression is that the fans have disturbingly well-coordinated cheer routines.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:38 AM on April 25


I have tried and failed to follow NPB in the past. I'd love to see a post in the blue about how an English only speaker might be able to get started doing so.
posted by ursus_comiter at 6:39 AM on April 25 [2 favorites]


GenjiandProust, that's about as non-evil a combo as I can imagine. Next time you're around, we can take in a Marines game and you'll see fans that make the Eagles fans look like disinterested Lakers fans.

A strictly non-scientific ranking of teams in NPB:

Marines (Pacific League)
Swallows (Central League)
Hiroshima Carp (CL)
Eagles (PL)
Yokohama Baystars (CL, but sad)
Chunichi Dragons (CL, in Nagoya)
Orix Buffaloes (PL, remnants of two teams that merged, the Orix Blue Wave, who drafted Ichiro, and the Kintetsu Buffaloes)

After that it's a stew of evil: Seibu Lions, SoftBank Hawks, Nippon Ham Fighters, Hanshin Tigers, and, guh, the Yomiuri Giants. Bah to them all.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:41 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Well, that's interesting to hear about the Orix Buffaloes. I have a Kintetsu Buffaloes hat from my visit to Japan in 2003.

Also, Ghidorah, have you followed the high school summer tournament much?
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:18 AM on April 25


The contraction talks a couple years back were a bit freaky, actually. There was talk of just eliminating two teams, and the Marines were rumored to be one of them. Then, out of nowhere Rakuten (online shopping mall) said, hey, we want a team. It actually seemed like NPB was going to say "no thanks, we'd rather contract" than take in a new owner and the attendant money. In terms of how odd the situation was, realize, a team essentially disolved when a potential buyer was waving their cash around. Instead of selling the Blue Wave to Rakuten, Orix assumed control of the Buffaloes from Kintetsu (train company in Kansai). Rakuten ended up with an utterly new team playing out of a provincial stadium for the first couple years.

As for the summer tournament, I follow the prefectural tournament when I can, and keep an eye on how the team from Chiba does in the national tournament (spoiler, they usually lose). Several years ago, we went to the prefectural championship game, which was played in the Marines' stadium. Two things stood out: they had standard beer sales during a high school baseball game, and the choreography of the JV team members in the stands was awesome. Synchronized running up and down the stairs, through the rows, dance moves, everything, all in their baseball uniforms, cheering on their classmates.

Last summer, Mrs. Ghidorah and I watched her hometown high school (Narita, though she didn't go to that school) in quarterfinal game at the prefectural sports center (which is like a ten minute bike ride from our house). The atmosphere is pretty hard to beat. All of the singing and cheering, combined with high school kids playing in what could be, essentially, their last organized game in a sport they've been playing most of their lives. There are A lot of tears during the summer tournament season, and it gets a little dusty, even in an open air stadium.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:44 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


Ghidorah, we could tag team on that suggested post if you'd like. I know following NPB inside Japan is different (and easier) than it is for us in other locales, and that you benefit from greater context. So combining my arsenal of internet trickery with your on the ground perspective would make for a rich post.

What say you?
posted by mwhybark at 7:47 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


also, I should note, one of the most enjoyable NPB Twitter people I follow is Steve of @lovelovemarines. I see more Hanshin totchkes on the backbar in local Japanese restaurants than Kyojin (Giants) or Rakuten stuff.
posted by mwhybark at 7:53 AM on April 25


I'd love to, but I'm trying get a business up and running at the moment. A business that, if things work out as the exist in my wildest dreams, will include having a food stall outside the Marines stadium.

The thing about my knowledge of NPB is that it's largely based in what I watch on TV, or conversations I have with folks, not so much linkable web stuff, which makes FPPs a bit difficult. Still, feel free to mail me, I'll try to respond quickly.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:09 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


The Red Sox, in the late 90s/early 2000s, made the brilliant move of branding themselves as the gritty underdog David to the Yankees Goliath. Casual baseball fans who didn't care to root for the Evil Empire (Yankees), had an easy time picking the Bosox, when what they were really doing was picking "not the Yankees". I think that's why there is such a wide spread of Red Sox fans out in the middle of nowhere.

I may or may not have drunkenly shouted, "You want to root for an underdog? ROOT FOR THE BREWERS/ROYALS/PIRATES!" at many a poor sap at bars back in my younger days.
posted by JimBJ9 at 8:11 AM on April 25 [2 favorites]


At the very least, I'll definitely read the thread and throw in all sorts of anecdotes.

And seriously, if you (the general you) visit Japan in season and don't check out a game, you'll miss out on one of the most uniquely Japanese things in the culture that's actually a part of modern life. Yeah, there are amazing temples. There's a lot of history to see. Yakyu is alive. It's living, it's breathing, it's singing it's favorite player's batting song. It's politely applauding the opposite team's impressive play.

And there are attractive young women serving draft beer from small kegs they carry on their backs. However, you are also free to bring your own drinks, as long as you pour your drinks into the paper cups the ticket takers will provide for you if you ask.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:14 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


It's interesting that a lot of cities look like donuts on this map - the city itself is actually not the area of most intense fandom of the team, its surrounding suburbs are. (The cities themselves, I'm guessing, are full of recent transplants.)

This is most obvious for Atlanta, but that might just be an artifact of how the coloring was done. Boston shows it pretty well, too.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:26 AM on April 25


Is the book "You Gotta Have Wa" about Japanese pro baseball still relevant, or is it outdated? I read it a good dozen years ago and really loved it.

My dad does a lot of business in Japan, and once brought me a Hanshin Tigers cap. I was very upset when my Masshole roommate's puppy ate it in 1993, but now I wonder whether I dodged a bullet.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:27 AM on April 25


It's interesting that a lot of cities look like donuts on this map - the city itself is actually not the area of most intense fandom of the team, its surrounding suburbs are.

I don't know - these are just based on facebook likes. It's not, like, x% of the general population in that zip code likes the team, or even x% of the people on facebook in that zip code. These are estimates of fans based on how many Facebook users "liked" each team in a ZIP code. Could definitely just be that people in the suburbs are more engaged with facebook.
posted by troika at 10:40 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


What's with the mix of geographical and corporate names on Japanese baseball teams?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:52 AM on April 25


I know AZ is full of transplants and fare weather fans but I did not think local support was so low. I would think the team was a candidate for relocation base on this data.

Based on Facebook likes?
posted by bongo_x at 10:55 AM on April 25


I'm actually kind of surprised at the under-representation of Braves fans spread across the country, namely the West, where it would be easy to spot. Decades ago, before regional sports networks and the rise of ESPN and all that (so, the 70s), the Braves were televised nationwide on TBS (Ted Turner owned both the team and the network). This lead to a lot of Braves fans in weird-ass places by the '90s. I believe the Cubs may have been the second team to have done so on WGN America back when being a "superstation" was more of a thing, but I don't think WGN ever reached the nationwide popularity of TBS.

Anyway, I guess we've had enough time since then for normalization to set in. Man, I'm getting old.
posted by JimBJ9 at 11:25 AM on April 25


Based on Facebook likes?

Why not Arizona's GM makes major trades with less legitimate information than this study.
posted by Ommcc at 11:46 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


What's with the mix of geographical and corporate names on Japanese baseball teams?

Complicated question. First of all, in general, Japanese pro ball came into being as an industrial league (if I have my history correct). So most teams are the direct property of another business and incorporate that business' name into the team name, as you can observe from Gidorah's exegesis above.

Secondly, historically most of the baseball teams were concentrated closely in the Tokyo region, reflecting the market opportunities of Japanese population distribution. Tokyo is huge.

Sometime relatively recently (last fifteen years or so, iirc) a European football league came into being, and the creators of that league identified the concentration of NPB teams around Tokyo as a competitive weakness that could be exploited by locating the new league's teams across the country and encouraging their burgeoning fanbase to adopt geographically-derived fan identification practices. This strategy worked well enough to affect NPB audience numbers and to provoke the consolidation discussions referred to upthread. In the end, in addition to reshuffling teams dramatically via the consolidation and renaming of at least two teams and the creation of a new one, several teams moved to new physical locations outside of the Tokyo region and across the league geographic identifiers were added or more heavily promoted. This strategy has appeared to work, as I understand it.

My understanding is partial and likely inaccurate, however, and there are exceptions, such as the Hiroshima Carp, which is an older team which has always emphasized geography and has no in-title business affiliate that I know of.
posted by mwhybark at 11:50 AM on April 25 [3 favorites]


It's interesting that a lot of cities look like donuts on this map - the city itself is actually not the area of most intense fandom of the team, its surrounding suburbs are.

I can discuss this from personal experience. In the period 1990-2004, I lived in central-city Seattle, and had many friends that lived in Pioneer Square near the stadiums. I was totally disinterested in sports, as was my peer group. Why go sit in the Kingdome and watch cruel meatheads exult in the company of suburban families when there's a city to explore? Games and the accompanying influx of sportsbros were regarded as dangerous and irritating disruptions, something inappropriate and aggravating to the neighborhood.

Now I live (although within city limits) far enough from Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square that it's an irritating, expensive inconvenience to get there and park for the sorts of things that were the core of my in-city experience previously, browsing little shops, discovering restaurants, drinking in new or old bars, that sort of thing. Driving to see a game, which is a single-destination event that does not require me to move the car around, is more convenient, once you have your parking stategy worked out.
posted by mwhybark at 12:01 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I'm actually kind of surprised at the under-representation of Braves fans spread across the country, namely the West, where it would be easy to spot. Decades ago, before regional sports networks and the rise of ESPN and all that (so, the 70s), the Braves were televised nationwide on TBS (Ted Turner owned both the team and the network).

Facebook probably skews young (although not as young as it once did). Maybe Braves fandom is more geographically dispersed among people who were the right age (whatever that is) to acquire it when TBS was doing its thing.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:46 PM on April 25


Why not Arizona's GM makes major trades with less legitimate information than this study

If anyone can figure out the pattern behind the D-Backs trades they should get to work on the Voynich Manuscript.
posted by bongo_x at 2:32 PM on April 25


To expand on mwhybark's explanation of the corporate nature of Japanese baseball, all of the teams, even Hiroshima, are owned by large companies. They're essentially marketing tools. Hiroshima is definitely the outlier, though until a few years ago, the Baystars were known primarily for their location, Yokohama. They were bought by DeNA, which is a mobile games company that was flush with cash.

The spacing of the tweaks has a lot to do with the population centers. Tokyo still has two teams, but Nippon Ham only moved to Sapporo in the last ten or so years. Osaka basically has two teams, though until the Orix merger with Kintetsu, Kobe had a team. However, if you look at the Kanto area (the group of prefectures around Tokyo), you've still for five of the twelve teams (Giants, Swallows, Baystars, Lions, and Marines) in NPB. The greater Tokyo area can support these teams, where other cities (Nagoya, Sendai, Fukuoka, Sapporo, Hiroshima, hell, even Chiba) are barely big enough to support the teams they do have.

The corporate nature of the teams can be pretty shitty to endure. It is changing a little, but for the most part the team president is often some guy rotated in from the parent company. You end up with a guy who has been a VP in, say, a train company, or a department store chain who got transferred and told to run the baseball team. Again, things seems to be changing, and at least some of the companies seem to be taking the idea of the team itself as a serious thing now, but for the most part, the teams are a promotional tool for the parent company. At first it felt odd, rooting for a corporate team, but it's really not all that different than rooting for a team run by a billionaire.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:52 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


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