Isaac Newton will tell you that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. And a lot of people would agree. It’s pretty true in sports too. And we’re not just talking about the physics of fastballs hitting big pieces of wood.
It’s true with fans too. Come October, baseball fans circle their wagons, pledging their diehard allegiances to their teams, professing their love and all their rooting energy. And what’s the opposite of that? Come October, fans are also going to HATE another team. It’s basic human nature. And, according to Newton, a little bit of physics too.
With that in mind, we at Big League Stew set out to rank the most hateable and likable teams in the MLB playoffs. But mostly the most hateable. And wouldn’t you know, that’s not the New York Yankees?
Our four writers — Chris Cwik, Mike Oz, Liz Roscher and Mark Townsend — ranked each team by their likability. A score of one was very likable. A score of ten meant we felt like Silky Johnson (hate, hate, hate, hate, hate!). Four was the lowest possible combined score (that means we love that team) and 40 was the highest (meaning we, uhhh, don’t). You’ll find our combined rankings below, along with an explanation about each team and, at the bottom, our individual rankings.
1. CHICAGO CUBS (36)
Imagine that, the Cubs went from lovable losers to hateable winners in one season. That’s sort of how sports go, though, huh? We love you when you’re an underdog and toss you aside once you’ve found your postseason glory. We don’t think the Cubs or their fans, with those World Series memories still dancing in their heads, will lose any sleep over this.
2. BOSTON RED SOX (35)
Yep, we live in a world where — according to our rankings at least — the Red Sox are now more hateable than the Yankees. There’s probably a bit of a fatigue with the Red Sox, who won the World Series in 2013, their third since 2004. Going out and signing David Price to a $217 contract two years ago then trading for ace Chris Sale this past offseason probably don’t help make the Red Sox particularly likable.
3. LOS ANGELES DODGERS (34)
Whether it’s fair or not, the Dodgers will judged by two things: The size of their payroll and whether they get it done in the postseason. In the last five seasons, they’re big on checks and small on return. And it hasn’t brought them much sympathy. Baseball’s richest team is always going to have haters.
4. WASHINGTON NATIONALS (21)
Bryce Harper remains one of the most polarizing figures in baseball. By nature, we love underdogs and neither Harper nor the Nats are that. But, hey, Max Scherzer is pretty fun, isn’t he? And Harper and buddy Jayson Werth dressing up like Jon Snow and his direwolf, that was cool, right? Not quite cool enough to get the Nats on the likable half of the list, though.
5. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (20)
They’re not exactly the Minnesota Twins, but the Diamondbacks lost 93 games last year and turned it around to make the postseason. That still didn’t register enough to get them in the top three likable teams. They’re right in the middle. There’s no hating Paul Goldschmidt, though, let’s be clear about that.
6 (tie). COLORADO ROCKIES and HOUSTON ASTROS (19)
A tie?!? There are ties in baseball sometimes, apparently. The Astros and Rockies each have reasons you might like them more than hate them. For the Rockies, they’re another upstart team that surpassed a lot of people’s expectations and made the postseason. Nolan Arenado is flat-out fun to watch too. As for the Astros, they’re a fun, young team, including a 5-foot-6 MVP candidate. There’s no hating Jose Altuve, folks. If Houston makes it to the World Series, Hurricane Harvey also gives the ability to capture the nation’s attention like the Red Sox did in 2013 after the Boston Marathon bombing.
8. NEW YORK YANKEES (16)
The Yankees are the third most likable team, huh? We double- and triple-checked the rankings and it’s true. What a time to be alive! Makes sense, though. These Yankees aren’t exactly the Evil Empire. They’re a group with young homegrown stars making an unlikely playoff run.
9. MINNESOTA TWINS (15)
Look, when you lose 103 games one season and make the playoffs the next season as an underdog wild-card team, you’re always going to be liked. It also helps when baseball’s Internet folk hero Bartolo Colon is on your team. Adoration might not help the Twins against the Yankees in the wild-card game, though.
10. CLEVELAND INDIANS (5)
Baseball loves Terry Francona. That’s about what it comes down to. Whether he’s masterfully navigating his postseason bullpen or eating too much ice cream before bed, the Indians skipper remains one of the most enjoyable personalities in baseball. Add to that a Cleveland World Series drought that goes back 68 years and you’ve got a recipe for likability.
Here’s at look at how our writers voted:
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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