When New York Mets fans hopped on Twitter to discuss the 2018 baseball season, they didn’t talk about Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Céspedes or Todd Frazier. They didn’t even talk about a player on the major-league roster.
They talked about Tim Tebow … a lot.
At least, that’s what a new study from Casino.org says. They studied tweets with MLB hashtags during spring training to figure out who each fanbase was talking about, and how optimistic they were about their teams. You can read the full study here.
Tebow the most popular Met
For the Mets, the player who most fans tweeted about was Tebow. This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise. Tebow might not be close to the majors, but his fans are among the most passionate of any player in any sport.
Tebow also tends to rile up a wide range of strong opinions, and you can bet fans were quick to share those online. Because of that, you can already guess Matt Harvey was second on the Mets’ list.
A snapshot in time
The study reveals a pretty interesting snapshot of fan sentiments from Feb. 14 to March 21 — the time it was conducted. Looking at the NL, you’ll notice Gabe Kapler was still a hot topic among Philadelphia Phillies fans, Chicago Cubs fans couldn’t wait to see Yu Darvish and San Francisco Giants fans were still eager to see what Tim Lincecum would do with the Texas Rangers.
The AL provided similar results:
Los Angeles Angels fans wanted to talk about Shohei Ohtani, naturally. Fans of the Chicago White Sox, Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros wanted to think about prospects. Texas Rangers fans still had Nolan Ryan on their mind.
You can also see some unexpected names, like Rajai Davis and Logan Morrison. Fans were eager to talk about free-agents, even if they weren’t some of the biggest names in baseball.
You might be wondering why the Oakland Athletics have Tom Gillispie listed in the top spot? That’s partially a result of the “#athletics” hashtag being used as a general sports term. We couldn’t find a Tom Gillispie from the Athletics. It appears that might just be a Twitter user who really abused some hashtags.
When asked out it, Casino.org said they didn’t want to filter the results too much, as they wanted to catch former players fans had discussed. The researchers searched many different A’s hashtags, but Gillispie still managed to slip in there.
The study also looked at fan sentiment. Turns out, Astros fans were the most positive about their club as the 2018 began. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. They did win the World Series last season.
The San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles and Miami Marlins brought up the rear. You can understand why the Marlins were there. They had a wild offseason. The Orioles didn’t do a ton to improve their team, so that makes sense. The Padres actually did pick up Eric Hosmer, but it seems fans were not impressed.
World Series hopes
Finally, the study looked at how positive teams were compared to their World Series odds. Despite the low expectations surrounding the Cincinnati Reds, fans were really positive about the team. Toronto Blue Jays and White Sox fans were mostly positive compared to their World Series odds. That’s likely because fans of those teams felt good about their standout prospects.
What do these results mean?
The results are just a fun look at what fans of each team were thinking about prior to the 2018 MLB season. If you would like to see them in full, check out the whole study here.
If you’re upset about it, keep tweeting. If you use the right hashtags, you might have the power to change the results the next time around.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik
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