I'm nowhere near smart enough to assemble an algorithm that uses Internet search results in a mathematical attempt to determine the most despised team in Major League Baseball.
Apparently neither are the brainy statisticians at Nielsen Co., because when they fired up their calculating machine, it spit out ... the Indians?
OK, I'm being a bit mean because it actually kind of makes sense when you look at the system Nielsen is using. The company's computers counted the number of times that a particular team was connected to both positive words like "love" and negative words like "hate." It then balanced them out on a scale of -5 to 5 and ranked them. (Nielsen usually uses the system to measure-brand popularity.)
So the end result actually works if you consider that the Indians were a 65-win team in 2009 and that even their own fans were contributing negative thoughts to the count. Heck, Indians message boards probably sealed the top spot over just a few weeks last summer with their understandably negative reactions to the trades of Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez.
The method also helps to explain why the Reds, Astros, Nationals and Orioles rank so high, even if most of the league is indifferent toward them. All of them, after all, have given their fans plenty to moan about. (Although this would not explain all the fans of teams who say "Washington is coming to town? Awesome! That's three wins right there!")
Still, it doesn't seem quite right that the nation's collective hatred of big-market teams like the Red Sox (the second-most hated team) and Yankees (fifth) get balanced out by both their large fan bases and the self-loathing of the small-market teams, does it?
1. Cleveland Indians ... 0.9
2. Boston Red Sox ... 1.1
3. Cincinnati Reds ... 1.5
4. Houston Astros ... 1.8
5. New York Yankees ... 1.8
6. Washington Nationals ... 1.9
7. Chicago White Sox ... 2
8. Baltimore Orioles ... 2.3
9. New York Mets ... 2.3
10. Los Angeles Dodgers ... 2.4