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News Flash: Yankees, Red Sox are baseball’s most popular teams

Jul 11, 2011, 9:15 AM EDT

Image (1) yankee%20stadium.jpg for post 4012

The Harris Poll has released its annual baseball popularity index thingy, and tells us what we all probably knew anyway, even if a lot of us don’t care to acknowledge it: the Yankees are America’s most popular baseball team. They’ve taken the top honor for nine straight years, putting lie to the notion that America loves an underdog.

In second place are the Red Sox — again, not a huge surprise — followed by the Braves at three, the Cubs at number four and — tied for fifth — the Dodgers and the Mets.  The Phillies are seventh, which will probably make Phillies fans accuse the Harris Poll of bias and hate and all of that because Phillies fans tend not to take well to what they perceive as disrespect.

The funniest result though is probably the Giants, who moved down — way down — from number seven last year to number 14 this year. Guess winning a title doesn’t help anything. Indeed, given that it suddenly thrust a very colorful Giants team in front of so many people’s faces, it probably serves as an instructive referendum regarding what baseball fans think of colorful teams. Non-Giants fans may fear the beard, but we apparently don’t like it very much.

Dead last: a tie between the Padres and Jays. I can’t say I’m shocked.

Coolest part of the story: go to the link and scroll down to the demographic breakdowns.  They have the usual “Baby Boomers” followed by my posse, “Generation X.”  But rather than using the somewhat annoying “Generation Y” thing, they call the 18-34-year-old pod “Echo Boomers.”  I’m pretty sure “Echo Boomer” was one of the pilot call signs in the movie “Top Gun.”

Which, by the way, is a very Generation X thing to observe. As is my annoyed insecurity at the fact that the Generation Y people are stealing my generation’s name.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. I’m gonna go watch “Reality Bites” and rough up a pair of jeans to wear later. No, I’m not hot. I just like wearing my jeans. With my boots.

  1. kellyb9 - Jul 11, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    I don’t really care about the Yankees/Sox at the top of this popularity index, but I have to wonder: How could a team that has difficulty filling its own stadium with the second best record in baseball be the 3rd most popular team in baseball (Braves) while a team that is filling other team’s stands is at 7? Just saying…

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jul 11, 2011 at 9:38 AM

      Simple: because of years of national broadcasts on TBS, the Braves fan base is really large, but very far from Atlanta. I’m a perfect example of this: huge Braves fan for 25 years. I’ve not stepped foot in Atlanta, and thus have never been to a Braves home game, in all of that time.

      You can find Braves fans all over the country. They just don’t make it to Turner Field very often.

      • FC - Jul 11, 2011 at 9:51 AM

        And of course the Braves where phenomenal in the 90’s, so not only were they broadcast on TBS but were largely successful to earn a following. It takes time to breed popularity. Red Sox and Yankees have been doing it for decades, Braves surged in the 90s and are still riding that wave, especially since some of those members of the 90’s have recently gone into the hall of fame.

        Craig… you have NOT been to Atlanta? Shame, shame, at least I can say I’ve been to Philly and went to the Vet before they tore it down. Atlanta has some great attractions: Home of the Dragon Con, Home of Coca-Cola, Home of the Braves… sadly I was unable to visit Turner Field the day I went; wife and I had a 5 hour layover and she wasn’t keen on spending it mucking around a baseball stadium.

    • halladaysbiceps - Jul 11, 2011 at 9:40 AM

      Braves were on TBS for so many years….much media exposure they received across the country, especially in markets that have no baseball and therefore followed them. That’s basically why.

      • kellyb9 - Jul 11, 2011 at 9:54 AM

        That’s true, but even then they weren’t filling their stadium.

      • FC - Jul 11, 2011 at 9:58 AM

        And of course that’s no accident: it is the [i]T[/i]urner [i]B[/i]roadcasting [i]S[/i]ystem after all. He would be a fool not to maximize the media exposure of his own baseball team. Coupled with so much success in the 90’s and voila, recipe for national fan base.

        The media exposure goes beyond TBS though. Even up here… in Toronto…basic cable gives you PeachTree TV which basically broadcasts most Atlanta Braves ballgames. If it weren’t for SNO I dare say I’d see more Braves games than Blue Jays games in Canada!

      • FC - Jul 11, 2011 at 9:59 AM

        kellyb9… the point is popularity has nothing to do with filling the stadium every night. It’s all about TV ratings.

      • FC - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:00 AM

        That’s how you reach the largest possible population base.

      • halladaysbiceps - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:00 AM


        True. You have to remember that Atlanta is a college football and Nascar town. They do not have the same following for baseball as we do here in the northeast. That’s just kind of the way it is there. But, being broadcasted on TBS for so many years nationally and being a good team during the prior 20 years brought them a new generation of fans country wide. It has little to do with the local support they receive.

  2. halladaysbiceps - Jul 11, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    Yeah, this is not suprising, to be honest with you. Yankees and Red Sox have the largest fan bases across the country. The Cubs as well. Dodgers have a rather large population in Los Angeles. And even though the Mets are not doing well right now, they still reside in New York with a big population.

    The Phillies at 7 on the list is to be expected.

  3. deathmonkey41 - Jul 11, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    So, when ESPN plays the Yankees/ Red Sox games, they’re not doing it because they have an East Coast bias- they’re doing it because it brings in big ratings since they’re both really popular…interesting…

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 11, 2011 at 9:55 AM

      Get out of here with your “logic” and “reasoning”!

      • carlosruiz51 - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:11 AM

        Phillies fans arent considering what you say disrespect. It just seems that you and the thousands of so-called “writers” always say something negative about Philadelphia. No one here actually cares about Yankees-Red Sox. Deathmonkey….East Coast Bias ALL THE WAY!!!!

    • kopy - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:16 AM

      Chicken or the egg?

      • halladaysbiceps - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:18 AM

        The chicken came first.

      • wlschneider09 - Jul 11, 2011 at 11:16 AM

        Now now, you’re just egging him on biceps…

    • deathmonkey41 - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:28 AM

      I think the reason that Philly gets the rap it does is because some really uneducated fans there never appreciated the talents and contributions of guys like Bobby Abreu, 2 Time World Champion Patrick Brian Burrell, and Adam Eaton. When you see players like that not getting any love, it makes the whole fanbase look bad.

      • carlosruiz51 - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:34 AM

        Adam Eaton? Are you serious. First off, he deserved to get booed during the ring ceremony in 09. He wasnt even on the post season roster. He was like 0-9 with an era of 13.00. Yet he strutted out there like he “contributed”!!! Bobby Abreu hit .429 between innings 1-8. But when the game was on the line in the 9th he would “ALWAYS” get caught looking with the 2-2 slider low and away. Pat Burrell was appreciated. Dont you remember him riding the budweiser horses at the parade.

      • seanmk - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:37 AM

        adam eaton and contributions in the same sentence does not compute. i’d disagree with the first statement because EVERWHERE there are uneducated fans. bobby abreu is unappreciated anywhere he goes because his best skill is getting on base by taking walks.

      • carlosruiz51 - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:49 AM

        ….and striking out with the bases loaded….

      • carlosruiz51 - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:50 AM

        …and not jumping for balls that are about to hit the outfield wall for fear of injury….

      • sjhaack - Jul 11, 2011 at 11:12 AM

        Believe me, I appreciate Adam Eaton’s “contribution” to Phillies baseball exactly as much as it deserves.

        Bobby “Always strikes out in the 9th inning” Abreu has:

        443 BB & 603 K in innings 1-3
        452 BB & 517 K in innings 4-6
        460 BB & 566 K in innings 7-9

        Guess what innings Abreu has the best OPS of his career in?

        Extra innings.

      • carlosruiz51 - Jul 11, 2011 at 11:50 AM

        Did you watch Phillies games from 1998-2006? You can stat me to death all you want. Bobby Abreu was never clutch in Philadelphia and he had a passive attitude. Thats why he was traded to the Yankees and never won, then to the Angels, and hasnt won. He may have walked in the ninth inning or in the latter innings, but when we needed him most, he couldnt get it done.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jul 11, 2011 at 12:06 PM

        Bobby Abreu has become such a great, patient hitter that umpires are walking him on 3 balls now because they feel it’s a waste of time to wait until the 4th. That’s a fact.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 11, 2011 at 12:13 PM

        Adam Eaton was terrible. I mean historically terrible. I believe he as the worst ERA for a pitcher with a .500 record or better. Somewhere in the vicinity of 6.5. Of all the players you could have picked, you go with Eaton?

      • Jonny 5 - Jul 11, 2011 at 12:37 PM

        If all of you people didn’t get the sarcasm Mr. Deathmonkey was laying down, Y’all are stupid!!!!

        Not even Eaton’s own mother would believe that someone would seriously say that.

      • carlosruiz51 - Jul 11, 2011 at 1:13 PM

        ….Finally, someone caught on!!!! Although it was a fine ride

      • carlosruiz51 - Jul 11, 2011 at 1:13 PM

        ….Im serious about Abreu though…

  4. mornelithe - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    Echo Boomer was certainly not a call sign, used in the movie Top Gun:

    Maverick, Iceman, Goose, Jester, Cougar, Wolfman, Slider, Stinger, Merlin, Hollywood, Sundown, Chipper, Ghostrider, Voodoo 3, Mustang

    That is all.

    • mornelithe - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:18 AM

      Whoops, forgot Viper.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:46 AM

        I really hope you’re a female because you’ll have to give up your man card if not.

      • carlosruiz51 - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:54 AM

        Do you still walk around in your mothers basement with the Aviators jacket on?

      • mornelithe - Jul 11, 2011 at 11:05 AM

        @ Deathmonkey/CarlosRuiz: Eh? How hard is it to google call signs from top gun. Guess what, there’s like 10 pages with the entire list. Just because my memory happens to be good enough that I know for a fact that Echo Boomer, wasn’t a call sign in the movie, doesn’t mean I automatically remember them all.

        And no Carlos, I’ve never owned an aviator jacket, and haven’t lived anywhere near my whorish mother since a year before I graduated high school.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jul 11, 2011 at 11:33 AM

        Dunno- I’ve never actually seen Top Gun. As for your mom- I’m sure there’s people you can talk to about that.

      • mornelithe - Jul 11, 2011 at 12:09 PM

        @ Deathmonkey: Watch it, or don’t, doesn’t really matter. Google works either way.

        Why would I need to talk to anyone about it? I’m pretty psyched she’s no longer able to influence my life. Only time she ever really comes up, is when some dumbass on a forum, or blog thinks that’s an easy way to get under my skin. ‘fraid not.

      • carlosruiz51 - Jul 11, 2011 at 1:19 PM

        Ok then??? And now, on to sports….

      • mornelithe - Jul 11, 2011 at 1:41 PM

        If only you would’ve thought that in the beginning, rather than running your face about something you clearly know nothing about.

  5. Jonny 5 - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    Wow, after getting Lee, and all the 4 aces hype, they actually became less popular. But why are tickets harder to get this season?

    • carlosruiz51 - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:30 AM

      Tickets are harder to get because they are the main attraction in Philly. We may not be the most “popular” in the country, but we love our Phillies.

    • deathmonkey41 - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:31 AM

      I think what this list looks at more than anything is the fanbase outside of the home city.

      • mornelithe - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:34 AM

        I was curious about that myself, so I went and checked the Poll itself. Looks like question 1 was simply ‘What’s your favorite baseball team’.

      • carlosruiz51 - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:36 AM

        Yes I know.

    • Jonny 5 - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:48 AM

      Not that I care about the poll much. But I’d venture to say since only 22,000 + were polled (half of a single game to cover all of MLB????), there must be better ways to measure this. Such as merchandising. If I were a betting man, I’d bet the Phills rank 4th or maybe even 3rd right now for the season.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:57 AM


  6. stairwayto7 - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    How many times did Peter Gammons and Michael Kay vote?

    • deathmonkey41 - Jul 11, 2011 at 11:01 AM

      Peter Gammons was too angry and bitter to vote.

      • wlschneider09 - Jul 11, 2011 at 11:19 AM

        and he couldn’t get his typewriter to log onto the website

  7. funkygoorilla - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    The Yankees I can see, but c’mon the RedSox? They buy all their championships.

    • mornelithe - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:42 AM

      Uh…what? Haven’t the Yankee’s had the highest payroll in the League since Steibrenner came back from being banned from the League, in…er, ’92?

  8. carlosruiz51 - Jul 11, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    anyone in here have a mint?

  9. Steve A - Jul 11, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    Go Tigers! Only once in the past 9 years have they been out of the top half of teams, and 3 times out of the top ten!

  10. foreverchipper10 - Jul 11, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    So I am an echo boomer? I don’t know what to say about that……

    To add onto a point that was made earlier yest TBS played a big part in getting the Braves well known and liked. At least that is how I became a Braves fan who lives less than two hours north of Philly.

  11. macjacmccoy - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    You cant really get mad at the Harris poll for their surveys not really linking up to national trends. The sample size is small and its not really their fault if the people they chose end up being fans of certain teams then others.

    I read something about this earlier on crossing broad and I think it is more accurate then surveying a small group of people. The Phillies are number 1 in total attendance and number 2 to only the cardinals in average tv viewership. Which to me seems to better indicate popularity then a survey. If more people are going to and watching Phillies games then any other team excepts the Cardinals then that should make them more popular shouldnt it?

    Or maybe having the most active fans isnt the same thing as being the most popular. Maybe 6 other teams have more people claiming to be fans of the team but arent actually going to or watching the games. Cause really if you ask anyone who their favorite team is they will always come up with a name but then afterwards half of them will say they dont really like baseball though. I guess you can techinically add those people to the total of fans a team has, but are they actual fans no.

    So whats more important having more people claiming to be fans of a certain team or having more people actually participating as fans of a certain team.

    I tend to agree with El Bravo on this one when he says Phillies Rule.

  12. macjacmccoy - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    Heres the link to crossing broad who broke down the numbers

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