Close your eyes.  Think about the most obnoxious person you’ve ever met.  Think of the most insufferable blowhard in your office.  Now picture them at a sporting event.  Who’s colors are they wearing?  I’m willing that the majority of you are picturing this:

Steve Urkel has gotten really old.

Well, not so fast my friend.  According to the Wall Street Journal, he or she is wearing a moderately offensive Chief Wahoo hat and a Lebron jersey. 
The Nielsen Company has created a rating system for baseball’s “Most Hated Teams.”  Let’s ignore the fact that measuring hatred on the Internet is kind of like measuring insanity at a Tea Party Rally: it’s a number so large it can’t be calculated.  Taking that into account, here’s the description of the algorithm used: 
This service typically uses various keywords to find out whether people have positive, negative or neutral reactions to different brands and products.
That’s a little vague for my tastes — this “sentiment scale” sounds suspect to me.  Especially when looking at the ten “Most-Hated Teams” on their scale (“Hate Score” in parenthesis, 0-5, “0″ being “most hated”):
1. Cleveland Indians (0.9): Wow.  How the hell can people hate Cleveland?  They haven’t won anything in like 60 years, the city is in an economic crisis, and they have become a basketball town.  They traded Cy Young award winners in back-to-back seasons due to money problems.  This makes no sense.  This is like hating the Washington Generals.
2. Boston Red Sox (1.1): Ok, this is somewhat understandable.  Bandwagon fans, bombastic sportswriters (seriously, pick any of them), and Curt Schilling. 
3. Cincinnati Reds (1.5): Again, no sense.  There must be some massive “Hate Belt” in the Midwest.  The Reds last won a World Series in 1990.  Aside from a few seasons, they’ve been terrible ever since then.  One theory: my Dad once met Johnny Bench and said he was kind of a jerk.  Joe Morgan thinks Billy Beane wrote “Moneyball.”  Pete Rose, well, he’s Pete Rose.  Maybe the Big Red Machine was really a bunch of jerkasses and that’s why everyone despises them.
4. Houston Astros (1.8): I got nothing.  Perhaps this is backlash from the Bush Presidency in that people now hate everything from Texas.  I used to like the Astros until I dated a girl who decided to continue seeing her ex-boyfriend while we were dating.  He was an Astros fan.  Screw them.  
5. New York Yankees (1.8): Way too low on this list.  See the picture above.  See A-Rod.  See Keith Olberman.  See this guy:

Do you get championship rings for successful completion of court-ordered programs?

6. Washington Nationals (1.9): Since the Nats moved to DC, they’ve averaged 69 wins a year.  They haven’t won more than 59 games since 2007.  They are the definition of terrible.  Their franchise is unhateable.  Sure, Jim Bowden was worthless, but he’s gone.  I don’t see the Pirates on this list and they are just as bad, if not worse.  Maybe Expos fans are still heated about losing their team, but they’re Canadian: isn’t hating illegal there?
7. Chicago White Sox (2): I used to dislike Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams but they’ve grown on me.  They’re also Obama’s team, so this isn’t too much of a stretch, given aforementioned Tea Partiers.  A.J. Pierzynski is also a tough guy to love. 
8. Baltimore Orioles (2): The Orioles haven’t won more than 78 games this century.  Even the freakin’ “Natinals” have managed to do that.  Their stadium set forth an architectural revolution that made new stadiums fan-friendly and convenient.  Cal Ripken saved baseball.  Their owner has single-handily kept them from winning games since 1997.  It’s the city that inspired “The Wire.”  Should I keep going? 
9. New York Mets (2.3): Finally, we’re starting to see some logic.  The Mets consistently make poor financial and player personnel decisions.  Their new stadium is beautiful but it looks like a tribute to the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Their fans want to trade their best players after they have an 0 for 5 game.  Their payroll is ridiculously high and they still stink.
10. Los Angeles Dodgers (2.4): Beautiful weather, women, and beaches.  If you’ve ever spent any time there, you understand.  With all of that, why would you show up on time for a game?  They also have Manny in left field and a history of other easily-hateable players: Steve Garvey, Kevin Brown, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Sheffield, J.D. Drew, etc.  Vin Scully automatically keeps them out of the Top 5. 
So there you have it.  This list, much like the NHL Playoffs, is nonsensical.  What do you expect from a ratings service that somehow ranks “The Mentalist” as the most-watched non-reality show on television?
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