Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Most Reviled Franchises In Sports

A lot of people follow sports because they love a certain team. They become attached and identify with that team, bleed the team colors, buy the caps and jerseys and follow the team like a religion, through bad times and through good.

Some people on the other hand, follow teams they have no identity with, and don't share any affection for. Because they hate them. They hate the team, no matter if the players change as the seasons go by, and for no sane reason at all. Aside from liking certain teams, these people (and I count myself as one), follow sports because they absolutely hate certain teams and want them to lose. They love to hate them, and almost nothing is as good as those teams losing...even their favorite teams winning.

Here are some of the most hated, most reviled franchises in sports, and a few reasons why people just hate their frickin' guts so damn much.

Duke Blue Devils
The players change yearly, but that doesn't matter. They haven't won a championship since 2001, but that figures into it little. Hating Duke has almost become a national tradition—accepted and nurtured by the media. Selling "I hate Duke" t-shirts has almost become a cottage industry—and not just in Chapel Hill. Heck, hating Duke is almost an American way of life.

It even defies logic. By all accounts "Coach K," Mike Krzyzewski is a good guy. He genuinely cares about his players, graduates more of his kids than any other major program and has forgone NBA offers with major money attached to them. There hasn't be even a whiff of a recruiting scandal at Duke since Coach K. has been there, and still people scream obscenities at him the second he leaves the campus at Durham.

So why the hate? Let's like NBC sports Mike Ventre say it. "I hate their uniforms, home and road. I hate their warm-ups. I hate the way they carry themselves, with that smugness that says, “We don’t talk trash. We dispose of it.” I hate their fans and wish they would find something more productive to do with their lives than paint their faces blue and white."

"Their fans are smug." "The team is soulless." When Christian Laettner got picked to the Olympic team over Shaq. J.J. Redick's smug smile after draining another three. (Redick estimated he got an estimated 50 to 75 hate calls per day from opposing fans during his senior year.) No college basketball team gets heckled in a more personal, vitriolic way than the Duke guys. But they don't care. Is it arrogant? Not if you’re winning. And like it or not. Duke wins. The Blue Devils have the second longest streak in the AP Top 25 in history with 200 consecutive appearances from 1996 to 2007, second only to the UCLA teams of the 60s or 70s. And that's probably why everyone hates Duke. Because they win.

Los Angeles Lakers
I hate their stupid colors. I hate Phil, Shaw, Magic, Riley, Wilt and his stupid bragging about bagging 10,000 women. I hate Jack Nicholson on courtside. And Leonardo, Penny Marshall and Flea. And who names their kid, Kobe? And what does L.A. have to do with lakes anyway?

They get a big name coach who supposedly is a "Zen genius", but only coaches when future Hall-of-Famers can guarantee him a title. And he complains. Every post-game conference is a diatribe about how the refs hate his team...when everyone else in the league feels that the NBA has tried to steer the title to his Jordan and Shaq-led teams.

They're glitzy. They're "Showtime." They get big names free agents (who take discounts—Karl Malone, Gary Payton), big-time fans and give Hollywood-type halftime shows. In fact, they are Hollywood. They're Botoxed faces and fake boobs. The Fakers.

But they win. The Lakers have the most wins, the highest winning percentage (61.5%), the most finals appearances (28) of any NBA franchise, and the second most championships (14, just behind the Celtics, 16). And just like the college counterparts, Duke, if you win, you get hated.

Dallas Cowboys
Is there any other team hated more than the Dallas Cowboys. Go ahead Google "I hate the Cowboys." (Or, if you are fluent in obscenity, try "F*ck the Cowboys." See how many sites pop up.

There are fan-doctored pictures of Cowboys getting shot a la "The Grassy Knoll." There are license plates with the name "DALSKS" on them. There are Redskins cheerleaders practicing in "Dallas Sucks" t-shirts.

The Boys are so hated; some guy took a film on Hitler and redubbed it so that Hitler is a Cowboy fan.

So why the hate?

Maybe it’s the obnoxiousness of seemingly the entire Cowboys organization. An owner who can't/won't shut up and practically takes over coaching duties in the fourth quarter as he marches up and down the sidelines. Then there's the hole-in-the-roof stadium, "so God can watch us play." Geez. I mean, they call themselves "America's team."

Or maybe it was because of Jimmy Johnson's famous "How 'bout them Cowboys?" comment. Is there anything more obnoxious that you can say after winning the Super Bowl?

Maybe it's the flash of the Cowboys players, or if you will the "bling." See Michael Irvin's suits or Deion Sanders jewelry. And now they get Pac-Man Jones joining the team. And, of course, there's Terrell.

Maybe it's having more than their fair share of drug charges over the years. So many, they were dubbed "South America's team." Here's a joke from one fan site: Q: How do you get a Cowboy to stand up? A: Say "Will the defendant please rise."

But here I go again; they are successful. They are the most valuable sports franchise in the world, at an estimated 1.5 billion dollars. They've won five Super Bowls and have the most 10-win seasons in NFL history. All of this is to the chagrin of people in Washington, Philadelphia and New York. So much so, there's a song I'd like to quote a few lines from; a song written and sung by Angelo Cataldi, morning host, WIP all-sports radio, AM 610 in Philadelphia.

I got a tape of Super Bowl II! Dallas ain't in it 'cause they turned blue! The Packers iced 'em and I would, too! Oh, Dallas s*cks! Dallas s*cks! All through the place smash their face we hate the Cowboys more! I hate 'em! (hate 'em, hate 'em, hate 'em....)

New York Yankees
OK, here we go. Let's get our hate on, proper-like now.

No team, but NO team, is hated more than the New York Yankees.

It's so bad, in Fenway, when the Red Sox are playing anybody BUT the Yankees, the crowd, instead of cheering the Red Sox, will chant "Yankees S@ck!" for innings.

Check through magazines or a few of the thousands of Yankee-hate web sites and you get variations of these popular reasons to hate the Yankees: Arrogant Yankees fans. Bandwagon Yankees fans. New York bias. A-Rod. The Steinbrenners are just buying a championship. They are a corporate team with no soul. They are destroying baseball parity with their spending. Jeffrey Maier. It goes on. And on. usually with lots of cursing.

They are hated so much a construction worker buried an Ortiz jersey under the new Yankee Stadium so it could start a new curse. The Evil Empire. Damn Yankees. The Bronx Zoo. Just a few politer nicknames haters have given the Yankees.

Well, what are some other reasons to hate the Yankees? Well, the have more money than any other franchise and have no problem spending it. They have more championships than any other sports franchises. They have the best winning percentage in baseball history. Oh, and Derek Jeter has dated Jessica Biel. And Scarlett Johannson. And Jessica Alba. And Gabrielle Union. And Mariah Carey.

They aren't allowed any facial hair. No stubble. And no long hair in the back. And any tattoos must be covered. And when traveling, they must wear suits—no casual Fridays for these guys. Like I said...corporate.

Oh, and Alex Rodriguez makes more than the entire Florida Marlin roster.

Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko summed it up when he said, "Hating the Yankees is as American as pizza pie, unwed mothers, and cheating on your income tax.

Or to put it in one sports fan's words: To root for the Yankees is to root for man's worst instincts to triumph: It's to wish for the rich to triumph over the poor, powerful corporations to crush entrepreneurs, Goliath over David....rooting for the Yankees is like rooting against the Joads in The Grapes of Wrath.

Thank you Bill Hatton of Philadelphia. Yankee haters everywhere couldn't have said it better themselves.

There are dozens and dozens of other teams that I left out. Which team do you hate the most? Spew your hate on the board.


Pete S said...

I hate the Red Sox. Look how many Bosox hats have emerged over the past 5 years. Where were all these Sox fans before? I see that faded blue Bosox hat all the time now. It's worse than seeing a Mets hat. At least Mets fans are pulling for a local team.

"Big Papi" Ortiz is a great player(if fielding doesn't count), but "Big Sloppy" Ramirez is a jerk who can't field either (alright, he can mash the ball).

I can't get into this, my blood pressure is up...

Travis said...

The team I hate the most? I would say the Yankees, but that is so obvious. The 49ers? They haven't been good for a while.
But in no particular order: OU football team, Ohio State, and North Carolina's basketball team