Are the Cleveland Indians the Most Hated MLB Franchise? Don't Be So Shocked

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Are the Cleveland Indians the Most Hated MLB Franchise? Don't Be So Shocked
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

If you are regular user of the social networking site Facebook, you will have almost undoubtedly noticed the change over from "Becoming a Fan" of a page to "Liking" it.

Right now, 152,462 people like the Cleveland Indians.

I'm not sure I buy into that.

Recently the Nielsen Company took a measurement of the most despised teams in Major League Baseball. The same Nielsen Company that counts television ratings, if you have one of their boxes that is, built an algorithm that does some things I'll probably never understand.

Point blank, it crawls around the Internet and takes into account reactions to a team. You could score anywhere from a -5 to a 5, but no MLB team received a negative rating.

No not even the New York Yankees, in fact there are four teams more despised than the team everyone that isn't a Yankee fan despises.

Clearly this algorithm is broke, how are the Houston Astros more hated than the Yankees?

The algorithm isn't broke because the algorithm isn't measuring anti-Yankee sentiments; it is simply compiling reactions that are found on the good old Internet.

So it does not shock me in the least bit that the most despised team in the game is none other than the Cleveland Indians.

When Eric Wedge got fired and the link was posted on the Indians page on Facebook, I sat back and watched the comments fly in. Anyway you slice it, roughly 90 percent of the responses in some way were negative.

You'd see anything from "Larry Dolan is cheap" to "Mark Shapiro should go too" to "Good riddance Wedge."

This is a volatile fan base. A majority are never satisfied, even if you give them what they want because inevitably they change their mind two seconds later. Irrationality and impatience is a staple of Cleveland Indian fandom.

I'm not a diehard Cleveland fan in all aspects, so I'm saved from some of the sting many of my fellow Tribe brethren have suffered through. I don't have the cynicism built up over years and years of heartbreaks that many all-around Cleveland fans have.

And in a way, I cannot blame them. Cleveland is a city starved for a championship. I'm one of the first to contend to people when I hear them say such and such city has been through the most pain because of their sports teams.

Up until recently, Philadelphia probably had a legitimate argument and in a way still do, but their appetite should be temporarily satisfied by a Phillies World Series.

Cleveland just wants a little sip from the cup of success.

But what about the Cubs you say? I'm talking about in an entire city aspect; Chicago has had much success in basketball and even has a recent World Series thanks to the White Sox. Without a doubt, the Cubs are the most starving baseball franchise, no argument there.

But the city of Cleveland hasn't won a major championship since 1964 when the Cleveland Browns won an NFL Championship. And even now we care more about Super Bowl victories than we do "NFL Championships" so the Browns can't even have that little victory.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have never won the NBA crown and the last time the Cleveland Indians touched the World Series trophy was back in 1948.

And what city's sports teams in the most recent history have had the most championship and or playoff let-downs? Cleveland.

Do we need to list them? From Jose Mesa to John Elway, they all hurt. The two I've experienced with the Indians are painful enough to relive and if I mention each downfall by name, every die-hard Cleveland fan might hunt me down in a fit of rage before I even finish this paragraph.

Cleveland is a Browns town and always will be for the foreseeable future. The Cavaliers are currently dominating in fan appreciation because of the simple fact they've not only got one of the league's biggest superstars, but because they are winning.

The Cleveland Indians? Oh man, do I have to?

Larry Dolan is cheap and doesn't want to spend money because he doesn't care about winning, Mark Shapiro is his henchman that enjoys trading away our best players, and up until a few months ago, Eric Wedge was every nasty word under the sun.

Travis Hafner isn't allowed to take steroids anymore, Fausto Carmona is a fluke, Jhonny Peralta is flat out horrible, Grady Sizemore is magically no longer a good player, and Jake Westbrook is old.

Any player that hits below .250 or has a ERA above 3.50 is a hack and needs to be released. Any player that hits near .300 or carries a 2.90 ERA will be traded either this year or relatively soon.

Any prospect the Indians receive in those trades is garbage or damaged goods and any player we trade away are Hall of Famers.

If you think I'm exaggerating, go ahead and check out that Indians page on Facebook. When Eric Wedge was fired, roughly 90 percent, maybe more, of the comments submitted were negative in some way.

So do I believe the Nielsen algorithm? You bet I do.

This is the same team that has #TribeTimeNever as a hash tag that gets used on Twitter that chronicles "failures" by this season's team.

All this hate is coming from one direct source. The Cleveland Indians fans themselves.

They're not only the most vocal about their disdain for their team; they are persistent in voicing that unhappiness and do it in large amounts. There may be more people within the Cleveland fan base that actually hate their team than there is in the fan bases of their division rivals.

Why all the hate though? How can this team actually have a fan base if a large portion of the ones that consider them fans display their angst on such a constant basis?

The question to answer number two is simple. Where else?

Where else are Cleveland Indians fans going to go? Will they switch allegiances? No, that isn't in the character of a true Cleveland fan. They may bash their own team, but they won't bandwagon jump.

So they live with the hate and they express it.

A large perception of the Cleveland ownership is that they are cheap and their only goal is to make money off the fan's dime because they don't put as much money as other clubs do into the payroll.

The reality is, they put more money into their baseball team than a majority of the teams in the game do, but some fans just don't care to educate themselves on that aspect of the game. You can't convince typical Randy Quaid in Major League-like Indians fan about anything having to do with finances.

A little over two years ago, Mark Shapiro was being hailed as a genius after the 2007 season. His "blueprint for success" was working and it looked like the team was set up for more than that playoff run that took them to the doorstep of a World Series.

Now he's a hack that is getting a promotion he doesn't deserve.

Eric Wedge had become a regular fan punching bag, undeservedly so might I add. Sure he wasn't the greatest manager and he had his flaws, but he got more of the blame than he deserved.

And Manny Acta when he got hired? Oh they just hired the guy who failed with the Washington Nationals, how is that any better? Can we get Eric Wedge back?

When you break everything down to the surface though, it simply all roots back to the losing.

The losing is the reason this is all common perception among fans. Of course if they were winning none of this would be an issue. Mark Shapiro would be held in the same regard as Athletics general manager Billy Beane that does more with less and Larry Dolan would be as relevant as Twins owner Jim Pohlad is in Internet searches.

Is it just the losing though? The Pirates have been losing for 17 straight years and while their fans are demoralized, alienated, and upset with the franchise, they aren't in the top 10 of this algorithm.

It all ties in to expectations. For the past two years this club has been expected to win and contend for the division. The past two years this club hasn't lived up to those expectations. In the process they also traded three of their most popular players and made unpopular free agent decisions that backfired in the worst possible way.

When you spend money and it doesn't work out, it's almost as bad as not spending the money period.

Now the club is in a state of what soon-to-be club president Mark Shapiro has characterized as a "reloading" period. They can't spend a lot of money, they've had to not only trade some of those well-known players, they've had to trade many players the club's fan base can identify.

No one wants to see Luis Valbuena out at second base unless he's established himself. Most want to skip all the way to the part where he's good. I know who Michael Brantley is but I know avid baseball fans that asked me who he was on opening day.

Shapiro won't call it a rebuild and he shouldn't, this club isn't ripping down the walls and attempting to build them back up by cleaning house. He's kept a core around and they are a lot closer to trying to establish themselves as they were back when Shapiro was first named general manager.

That's the root of it all though. Fans don't want to hear rebuild, reload, or any other word with the "re" prefix. They want to win and if they aren't winning, they want to see progress and to them, progress is money being spent.

That's why they're the most despised franchise. They aren't spending the money and they are trading away the players they do have to improve the team in the long term. They aren't despised by any other fan base, if anything Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Boston should have nothing but good things to say about Cleveland.

They are simply despised by their own fan base and unsurprisingly, that collective voice is loud enough to cause such a stir.

Load More Stories

Follow Cleveland Indians from B/R on Facebook

Follow Cleveland Indians from B/R on Facebook and get the latest updates straight to your newsfeed!

Cleveland Indians

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.