I just found out why free agents don’t want to play for the Reds, and, frankly, I’m shocked. Seriously.

ESPN quotes the Wall Street Journal in saying that the Nielsen Company (the ratings people) have conducted a study and the formula says the Reds are the 3rd on the list for being the most hated team in baseball.

What may be almost as surprising is that the Number 1 most hated team in baseball is the….Cleveland Indians?

From espn.com:

The formula helps determine whether consumers have positive, negative or neutral reactions to brands in their online messages. Neilsen’s “Sentiment Rankings” ranges from 5 to -5. No team finished with a negative number. But six teams finished with a number lower than 2.

Wow….not the Yankees? The Evil Empire?

The Yanks finished fifth. The top five, in order: Cleveland, the Boston Red Sox, the Reds, the Houston Astros, and the Yankees. The Washington Nationals finished sixth. Six teams scored less than 2.0 on the scale.

Think of the ramifications…the poll is saying that the fans don’t have sentimental value for the team. We all adore the Big Red Machine days, right? Does this mean that we’re not buying souvenirs or purchasing or participating in other marketing promotions to give the team and players additional revenue and/or income? Surely, agents pick up on this and share this with the players.

This may give further indication that Forbes Magazine may be right in saying the Reds have dropped 3% in total value this past year. (Don’t fret…the franchise is still estimated to have increased by $60 million in value since Robert Castellini purchased the team four years ago).

I think it’s time we start winning again…maybe reinvesting some of those earnings into the organization?

Who are the most popular teams? The San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics. Has the Bay Area become that baseball crazy?

29 Responses

  1. Jared

    Huh. I don’t think “most hated” is an accurate term for the metric. The theory behind it may have seemed sound, but when you look at the results, I don’t think it works out. “Least loved teams with a few hated teams interspersed” was the end result.

    Seriously, who hates the Reds? People hate the Yankees because they have impossibly deep pockets, all those other jerks like them and because they win games. Most the teams in the top 5 don’t win games.

  2. Travis G.

    I agree with Jared’s take on the metric, but I do think there’s probably some ill will toward the Reds.

    What do baseball fans who are under 35 years old and live outside of this area know about the Reds? Racist Marge Schott, gambling Pete Rose and a generation of irrelevance. Not much to like there, superficial as it may be.

  3. NWfan

    Since no longer living in Cincinnati, I’ve noticed that non Reds fans seem to get overly agitated when they find out I’m a Reds fan. They seem to feel it necessary to relate stories to me of how the Reds spoiled this or that game with their team over the years and then take great glee in how poorly the Reds have fared of late. I’m always a little shocked by the reaction and it makes me think that the Reds still have a lot of influence and they make people nervous despite what they are currently doing. Like people are dreading the return of The Big Red Machine. (We can only hope it happens!) I think it also doesn’t help that anytime I’ve watched ESPN, they seem to glory in hating on the Reds. Marge Schott’s antics likely didn’t help their love-ability either.

  4. Jared

    The irrelevance is my point. No one hates them because no one cares. Around here (Iowa) most people don’t know who Marge Schott is, and the rest seem to think of her more as a joke than as offensive. Pete Rose sentiment seems to be HOF, but with a general indifference.

  5. Kyle

    I’d love to know the methods for this survey because it sounds like a joke. More than who hates the Reds, who hates the Indians? They never win anything. MLB has tried to set up this Battle of Ohio and as a Reds fan, I’m still completely indifferent toward the Indians. THis survey does not seem very face valid.

  6. wight4256

    This sounds like a joke to me too. I have never been walking around Florida, New York or Las Vegas with a Reds hat on and people give me dirty looks.

  7. Jason461

    I think I saw something about this saying it was basically a survey of what percentage of comments about a team are negative. In that case, I can see the Reds ranking highly. Lots of grumpy fans out there.

  8. davidmp2

    Good stuff as always, Steve.

    You want to know what the lasting legacy of the Big Red Machine is? It’s Pete Rose and its gambling.

    You want to know what the lasting legacy of the Nasty Boys is? It’s Marge Schott and its racism.

    In addition, the Cincinnati will forever be known as the place where the greatest baseball player in the 90s (perhaps ever), Ken Griffey Jr., came to die.

    I’m 29. Though I love the Reds, these are the memories that I have. I love the Reds because I grew up in southwestern Ohio. To people my generation who didn’t grow up in the region, I completely understand the distaste. That goes for not only your average fan, but also your average player.

  9. davidmp2

    @Travis G.: Sorry I totally missed your post when I wrote my response. Obviously, I agree wholeheartedly.

  10. BJ Ruble

    I find it very hard to believe that the Reds are one of the most hated teams. Pretty much anyone who has met me laughs when I say I am a Reds fan because frankly they haven’t been relevant in so long.

    And to say that the A’s are one of the most loved teams is laughable to me. They can’t sell out their stadium and they are trying to move to San Jose, some love…

  11. Jared

    I guess I’m kind of an oddity. I have no tie to the Reds except the fact that the first year I got in to baseball was 1990, we had (HAD) a low-A farm team and one year I played little league for the Reds. I suppose no one laughs at me because around here they’re all Cubs fans with no room to talk.

  12. Travis G.

    @davidmp2: You did a pretty good job of supporting my argument. Thanks!


    BJ Ruble:

    And to say that the A’s are one of the most loved teams is laughable to me. They can’t sell out their stadium and they are trying to move to San Jose, some love…

    Three words: Billy Beane. Moneyball.

  13. Steve Price

    I don’t think this is a joke, but I do think the title is somewhat misleading. To what extent, I don’t know?

    But, is a survey of online comments that was quoted, and I think the Reds have brought this on themselves. They’re banking the asset growth and not investing in the team, and then complaining about not being able to compete, or they make “marketing deals” to make it look like they’re trying to compete.

    Well, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt on the last comment. Their college scouting seems to be on target, but why do they sign Orlando “-32 fielding runs allowed and GIDP master” Cabrera to a contract when they have a better option (though untested) inhouse in Janish.

  14. Sultan of Swaff

    It’s like with the health care bill—a significant percentage of the detractors actually supported reform, but felt it didn’t go far enough. I suspect many of the haters are Reds fans that are fed up with losing.

  15. pinson343

    It’s hard to say whether even a serious study of online messages can yield meaningful information. As has been suggested, the messages could be Reds fans complaining about the Reds. The Reds fans twitter volumes show that we broadcast our feelings a lot. Then there the fans of our division rivals.

    As several have mentioned, the word “hate” is not the right one here. “Negative” here can mean “hate” but it can also mean contempt or just indifference. The teams at the top of the “hate list” are those who have a lot of success or very little.

    The Reds would mainly score points for lack of success, but in the 70’s people did hate (or love) the Reds because of their success. The only time that people where I live (the NY area) reacted strongly to my being a Reds fan was the in the ’70’s, especially after the 1976 World Series. They assumed I was a front runner, and didn’t believe me when I said I’d been a Reds fan since the mid-50’s.

    There are many Yankee fans who express the 1976 WS as “the last gasp of the BRM” and gloat about how things have gone since then. I also have heard from numerous sources that Red Sox nation hates the Reds, no doubt due to 1975, the year they were the “real winners” of the WS, 3 games to 4, as Carlton Fisk said. The only one who ever expressed an obscenity at me for being a Reds fan was a Red Sox fan just before the ’75 WS, when I simply said I was rooting for the Reds.

  16. BJ Ruble

    @Steve Price: I think the scouting system is just fine, there is lots of young talent that has been brought in the last couple of years, however, bringing in guys like Cabrera, Hernandez, etc… is more on the archaic management style the team has. Dusty is stuck in the old days, Walt hasn’t shown any care about advanced metrics of evaluating. Plus, since they are a smaller market team, they bring in guys like Cabrera to show they are “trying” to win to the casual fan who doesn’t follow very closely. They can say “gold glove” SS, so the casual fan says, good move, even if he is now one of if not the worst defensive player at his position.

  17. pinson343

    Mostly people treat my being a NYer rooting for the Reds as a sort of novelty, a little eccentric. A fan of the game will sometimes wince a little, as in “That must be painful.” Or be sympathetic, as in “The current system makes it hard for the Reds to win on a consistent basis.”

    Someone who’s more casual will sometimes say something negative about Pete Rose’s gambling or Marge Schott’s reputation. Or just “The Reds ? They suck.”

  18. Matt WI

    Agree with a lot of the above posts. Hate to me requires a visceral response… I say Duke or Notre Dame, you either want to hit something (or someone named JJ Redick or Jimmy Clausen) or you light up. I say Cincy, and can’t imagine too much other than some of the associations mentioned above. Guess they need to win a little to erase the ghost of Marge and Shotzie.

  19. wanderinredsfan

    When I think about the Reds over the past few years (losing seasons, Dusty Baker, pitcher abuse, poor fundamentals, bad contracts, Corey Patterson, Willy Taveras, Jorge Cantu, etc., etc.), then, yeah, I ‘hate’ the Reds more than any other team in baseball. Sometimes it’s painful to root for this team, especially when you ‘hate’ the product, performance, and management so much. I’m a glutton for punishment, but I still hold out hope.

  20. renbutler

    It took 20 posts for somebody to nail it.

    The “hate” is probably “found” where Reds fans are bad-mouthing Dusty Baker and the team’s front office for consistently putting a losing team on the field.

    The Reds are a non-entity nationally. The “hatred” comes from within.

  21. TC

    @wanderinredsfan: I get you, man. You just said it better. That’s for sure.

    Did read your comment until after I posted mine. 😳

  22. RedinFla

    So… Y’all are saying that “This Offense Stinks” could qualify as hate speech? 😯

  23. nickc71

    Yeah – the wording in the WSJ article is pretty vague… We were all had neg feelings after the five game losing streak, and with Dusty’s performance since he came on – and the decade of losing records – this is more like depression… But I live in LA and next to the Red Sox, Yankees and Dodgers – I’ve noticed Reds caps are worn the most – everyday I see Reds caps – most of the people aren’t really fans, maybe we just have a hip design or something… This is a recent phenomenon though…

    I was in San Diego for the Brewer Padre matchup this evening – in a sportsbar outside the stadium – not a big one – and in a sea of SD and Brew Crew caps the only other team represented capwise were the reds – THREE TIMES in this bar – mine being one of them of course… But no yanks caps, or sox caps…

    I wonder if anyone else notices this recent resurgence in Reds caps in other areas of the country, I’ve just noticed it in the last two years….

    • Chad Dotson

      I was in Pigeon Forge, TN, of all places, two weekends ago. I saw several Reds caps and jerseys/t-shirts, more than the Yanks and Sox combined. Of course, I saw more Braves caps than anything else…except maybe Jeff Gordon apparel.

  24. RedinFla

    @Chad Dotson:

    We’ve moved to Tennessee, of all places, and I do see Reds caps mixed in with the Braves. Mostly they’re the red cap / black bill. Maybe they just look cool.
    Saw a guy wearing one at a restaurant in Nashville, so I told him I liked his cap.
    His response: “Oh. I’m a Yankees fan.” 🙄

  25. mike

    a lot of people in this thread seem to be throwing out their own casual data as a response to a more serious asking of many many people. I find that curious. You’re going to be so much less accurate than their data.

    I’m really surprised nobody has mentioned it but come on….it’s been more than 10 years that the Reds have put crappy product on the field. 10 YEARS!!! Before that we had Marge and before that the awful 80s years.

    you ask a few 1000 people about the Reds and it’s only going to be the die hard fans that would say they like them. Who goes through 10 losing seasons and will still say good things about a team???

    lets re-do the poll after the Reds win two seasons in a row and Bruce is an all-star.

    To take a guess as to the Bay Area’s teams being liked. (I do live here but again, this is just my guess, I don’t have much data to back it up)
    Oakland is competitive year in and year out. Sometimes they seem to do it with magic…..a bunch of no-name players and on the surface what seems like odd decisions by the GM always seem to work out. In the same 10 years the Reds have SUCKED, Oakland has 6 winnings seasons, 5 trips to the playoffs and 5 1st place finishes.

    San Francisco has two of the most likable baseball players I’ve seen in a long time. Kungfu Panda is a smiling, happy, great guy who can hit! Lincecum is the most eligible bachelor in northern CA and the best pitcher in baseball. In the last 10 years SF has had 6 winning seasons, 2 trips to the playoffs and a trip to the world series. On a personal level I LOVE watching Lincecum and Kungfu Panda as much as I love watching Votto and Bruce. Oh and Giants stadium is my favorite stadium to see a baseball game in the bigs. I’ve been to more than half the stadiums and none compare (one of these days I’ll get down to SD and see their new stadium. Everyone I know who’s gone says it’s pretty great).

  26. pinson343

    Even the Baseball Tonite espn crew had the sense to ridicule this “study” of online messages.