Thursday, October 23, 2014

Some quick thoughts on the MLB Hate Map.

Our friends at SB Nation continue to produce solid baseball analysis in the form of an MLB Hate Map.  I had no idea this existed until fellow AC writer and non-Oceania resident Cockroach alerted me to its existence, and requested me to explain why the Oceania region is so out of step with the rest of the world.

Before we get to the juicy bits, however, some quick thoughts.

1) No one hates the Astros.  My first reaction?  Excellent!!  However, after further consideration, I have come to the conclusion that either (i) the Astros are too insignificant to be hated or (ii) they may not appear on the "Hate Map", but they could be the Yankees of the "Laugh Map" - universally laughed at the world-around.  The world may not hate the Astros - they may just be too funny to hate.

2) The only hated AL West team inside the US is the Angels, who benefit from the combined wrath of the Texas baseball fans.

3) The San Diego thing (in Canada) is totally random, and well explained by the authors.

4) I am not sure how scientific this survey is.

Moving to to address the question that Cockroach actually wanted answered.  What the heck is up with Oceania??  I am assuming that the concern expressed by Cockroach is that (i) hating the Yankees is a sign of great baseball taste and (ii) Oceania seems out of step with the more sophisticated everywhere-else.

Firstly, I must say that Oceania is normally defined as Australia, New Zealand the islands of Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia.  And, looking at the map, the Papua / West Papua region (which is part of Indonesia, which is part of Melanesia, and therefore part of Oceania) is identified as hating the Yankees.  So not all of Oceania hates the Dodgers - Melanesia hates the Yankees.

This is not just geographic nit-pick-ery by the way.  There is a point to this.   Oceania doesn't hate the Dodgers.  Australasia (NZ and Australia) seems to.... but do they??

With my eye-of-faith, I sense that New Zealand is filled with the darker midnight-blue of the Yankees.  This reflects the vastly superior taste of the Kiwis when compared to the Australians, who are a nation composed nearly entirely of boorish rednecks.  And are therefore less likely to hate the Yankees, because they don't realise how detestable the Yankees actually are.

Not buying that explanation?  Ok, here is an another one.  People from Australasia love the National League, and like to pretend the AL doesn't exist.  I, for one, vastly preferred the NL when the 'stros were in the NL Central.  That said, now the Astros are in the AL, I have pretty much reversed my stance - not out of preference to the rules, but rather out of preference enjoying the stronger league.  So, according to the Australasians, the Yankees don't exist, and the most detestable team in the NL is.... the Dodgers!  Excellent work, Australasia - ignoring the self-promoting Yankees is far more damaging to them than hating them.  Hate is, after all, a form of attention.

The weak point in that argument is that the Australian Baseball League uses the DH, and is therefore unlikely to be senior-circuit traditionalists.  Dammit!

Finally, then, I can only really point to the unscientific nature of the survey.  Or perhaps a small sample size bias.  Or perhaps something is lost in the translation of the accents of the (predominantly) Australians sampled.  Or some other lame excuse to explain why people from Down Under are so out-of-step with the rest of the world.

Or perhaps people from this part of the world just have crap taste.  Like... crocs, Mel Gibson and Russell Crowe, potty mouths, dressing all in black... or worse, canary yellow, horrible national anthems, and terrible BBQ habits (most people don't slow-cook or smoke down here).  Perhaps the argument for poor taste has some solid backing.

But then again, let's not lump Kiwis in with Australians.  Kiwis have Ghost Chips, Kimbra* and Lorde, hobbits, and fast yachts**, so one could also make the case that Kiwis aren't too bad.  So perhaps New Zealand is filled with Yankees midnight-blue after all.

* - yes, I know Gotye is Australian - although born in Belgium
** - yes, I am also aware that the Kiwi's lost the America's Cup in the most agonising fashion possible.  Grr!