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Which sport reigns supreme in each major league city?

Feb 18, 2013, 10:30 AM EDT

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Because I’m bored, let’s follow-up that Josh Hamilton post with a survey of each Major League Baseball city to see what sport — using my totally subjective There Can Only Be One criteria — reigns supreme in each city. Which team, if the city could vote and only keep one, would stay:

  • New York: High school hoops has a rich history, but professionally I think baseball. Specifically Yankees. Anyone really disagree?
  • Boston: Probably the most “all sports” town on the list, but I’d have to say Sox.
  • Toronto: Leafs, Leafs, Leafs, Leafs.
  • Baltimore: For a long time baseball, but I do a lot of sports radio in Baltimore and it seems like the Ravens have dominated for years. And really, before the 80s, the Colts probably did too.
  • Tampa Bay: Who knows? Anyone? Not the Rays, that’s for sure. Probably the Bucs. More probably shuffleboard and bocce ball.
  • Detroit: Great baseball town, but they seem to live and die with the Wings more. My relatives who live there all do anyway. I could be persuaded that Detroit is primarily a baseball town, though.
  • Cleveland: Browns. By far. Even when they didn’t exist for a few years.
  • Chicago: This is an interesting one. I feel like it’s a Bears city, but I’d like to hear arguments on it. Walking around there in the summer and the city just reeks baseball, so it’s probably closer than I imagine.
  • Kansas City: They don’t tailgate for the Royals like they do for the Chiefs and that’s not for lack of a parking lot.
  • Minneapolis: I assume the Vikings. Gleeman should weigh in, though. Youth hockey may trump it all.
  • Seattle: I really don’t know, but given that they’ve sent away a baseball team and a basketball team to other cities in the past, the Seahawks probably by default.
  • Oakland: Kind of weird because (a) they’re so close to San Francisco; and (b) the people who dress up and act insane for Raiders games all probably live outside of Oakland, but based just on what you see, the Raiders.
  • Houston: Texas = football. Even with the Oilers leaving.
  • Los Angeles: It’s a status city and good Lakers tickets have to be pretty high up there as far as status symbols go.
  • Dallas: Cowboys could go 1-15 and the Rangers could win the series and it’s still a Cowboys city.
  • Atlanta: Probably college football more than anything, but the Falcons pretty obviously trump the Braves. I think, as far as local support goes, it’s probably more of a front-running town than anything.
  • Philadelphia: I really don’t know. All sports, to be sure. But it may very well be a baseball town more. There are no shortage of Philly people here, so you tell me. Gun to my head I say the Phillies and Eagels are close, but I don’t know if that’s been the case for all that long a time.
  • Washington: It begins and ends with the Redskins and anyone who tells you differently is an insane person.
  • Miami: Well, I don’t think it’s controversial to say it’s not the Marlins. Dolphins all the time, the Heat are a big deal when they’re good.
  • St. Louis: Maybe the most baseball town of them all, even if I think that Best Fans in Baseball Thing is silly.
  • Cincinnati: I think it’s a Reds town. I don’t know too many people here in Ohio who disagree.
  • Milwaukee: It’s over 100 miles to Green Bay, but I bet it’s still more Packers than Brewers. If you disqualify the Packers for distance it’s the Brewers by default. Still a great baseball town, though. It’s not the Brewers fault that people go Packers crazy.
  • Pittsburgh: A good baseball town to be sure, but it’s the Steelers by far. They’ve become a regional thing, even. It stretches well into Ohio and many points north, south and east as well.
  • San Francisco: I think the Giants have to be it, at least since they moved to AT&T Park. And now the 49ers are moving out of the city, so it’ll probably become more pronounced.
  • San Diego: My brother isn’t the most reliable narrator in the world but he’s lived in San Diego for almost 20 years and says the Chargers are it. Having gone to a lot of Padres games I have to agree with him.
  • Denver: Broncos, Broncos, Broncos.
  • Phoenix: I really have no idea. Like, no sense at all. The Suns have tenure, obviously, but I’m not sure what that means. Spring training makes the whole city basebally for a while. I know people get behind the Dbacks when they win.  Man, I’m rather stumped on Phoenix.

So that’s my take. Talk amongst yourselves.

215 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. shorttracknews - Feb 18, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    JohnnyNewGuy – for as many times as you have replied, you think you would have paid attention to what he was asking. It states…Which team, if the city could vote and only keep one, would stay:

    You keep saying it’s a baseball town because there are 2 teams…wow, smart logic. Your Air Raid comments were some of my favorites.

    The White Sox are near the bottom in MLB attendance and were in first place most of the season last year. 117 days they were in first place and still only ranked 24th in MLB attendance. They couldn’t even sell out games the year they won the World Series. Yeah…sounds like a baseball city to me.

    The Hawks are the new darlings in town fresh off a Stanley Cup win a few years ago and off to a hot start this year. One of the original 6, they aren’t going anywhere. Checked back a few years, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013 they are #1 in attendance figures.

    Bulls with 6 titles and a competitive team are very popular. Their star player is out and they are still #1 in NBA attendance…just like they were in 2010, 2011 & 2012.

    The White Sox fans like to talk smack but this is a Cubs town when it comes to baseball. The “South Siders” all say they are true fans but only show up when the team is doing exceptionally well. Then again as my comments stated above, they were in first place most of the year and ranked 24th in attendance. The Cubs were horrible and lost 100+ games and ranked 10th. Believe me, if any team in Chicago had to go, it would be a baseball team…and it wouldn’t be the Cubs.

    Which leads to the #1 team in Chicago, Da Bears. Richard Dent, Dan Hampton, Jim McMahon are still probably getting free drinks in town because of their Super Bowl win over 20 years ago. Watch the away games, read the stories. Every single away game, the home team felt like they were the team on the road because of so many Bears fans in attendance.

    Top Chicago Teams
    White Sox (If one has to go…it would be the Sox)

    • captainwisdom8888 - Feb 19, 2013 at 3:27 AM

      If a gun was to your head and you said that the phillies and eagles were close. YOU WOULD BE DEAD

      Answer: Eagles

      Every Sunday when the Eagles play its nothing short of a holiday in Philly. Families cook up a storm. Every1 gets on their gear. Ridiculous quantities of beer consumed. Even if its a bad season (like last year) every1 is so into it.

      Phillies games are great to go to, but lemme just put it this way. NOBODY naps during an Eagles game

      • bdawk20 - Feb 19, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        I challenged your comment, only because a large majority of Eagles players napped during Eagles games last year.

      • bdawk20 - Feb 19, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        I challenge your comment, only because a large majority of Eagles players napped during Eagles games last year.

      • philswfc08 - Feb 21, 2013 at 5:02 PM

        while i definitely agree it’s still and Iggles town, it’s definitely a lot closer than it has ever been in my 30 something years (since ohhh, i dunno, like 2008).

        way back before i can remember, it might have even been a hoops town with the Big 5, the Doc and Mo (fo-fo-fo). now you can get Sixers tickets for a couple pennies.

      • triman1 - Feb 22, 2013 at 3:25 PM

        EAGLES – forget the other sports, they are for front runners and niche fan bases. Gamedays are fiestas whether you’re at home, in a bar or at The Linc. It has been that way for many, many years. I know, this will be my 52d year going to the games. If you don’t believe me, listen to a sports talk radio station for 10 minutes any day of the year and you’ll hear Eagles’ talk no matter what’s going on with the other teams.

      • captainwisdom88 - Feb 24, 2013 at 5:48 AM

        hahaha with a name like bdawk20 you should be ashamed. whats the question at hand? most popular philly sports team or status of 2012 eagles?


    • bigleagues - Feb 19, 2013 at 10:32 AM

      THIS is THE MOST Mike-and-the-Mad-Dog-like post I have ever seen anyone do on HBT.

    • johnnynewguy - Feb 25, 2013 at 3:59 AM

      If based, on your premise which is, “Which team, if the city could pick one, would be kept.” It would totally be the Cubs specifically and the sport of baseball in general. I hate the Cubs but it would still totally be them. More to the point, putting the Blackhawks and Bulls ahead of the Cubs is batspit crazy talk and delegitimizes your point. Even if you are correct that the Bears are the hottest ticket in town (which I don’t think they are) the Cubs would for sure be 2nd.

      Also, you can’t really compare the White Sox attendance to that of other MLB teams. You should be trying to compare the sheer numbers of people walking through the gates to those of the other four major sports teams in Chicago. Then probably take those numbers and make it on a per capita basis of say 1,000 people to get a much more accurate representation of the popularity of the White Sox to other teams in the city. But comparing the White Sox to other MLB teams does nothing to answer the question that Craig posed with his article nor does it help advance your point or proving that my points are flawed or factually inaccurate.

      So you looked at the attendance records of the Blackhawks during the year they won the Stanley Cup (and were coming of a Western Conference Finals appearance) and every year since? Of course it is going to be high. I could have told you that without looking at the numbers at all. And again, you are comparing the Blackhawks to other NHL teams not to other Chicago sports teams.

      You compared the attendance of the Bulls to other NBA teams. See the above two comments cause I feel like I’ve beaten that horse enough times.

      Every single away game the home team felt like they were on the road? I think the teams and fans of the Packers, Niners, Vikings, and Lions would strongly disagree with you. Also, remember that the even when you include expanded seating and standing room seats Soldier Field is the smallest in the NFL. Could it be that Bears fans have an easier time getting tickets to away games then home games? Probably. I’ll repost most of my previous points below so you can see them all together. These are questions and happenings of Chicago baseball teams and of no other Chicago sports.

      Again, How many other teams have statues of broadcasters in Chicago? (Other than the Cubs)
      Why is an entire neighborhood named after a team’s stadium that hasn’t won anything in 105 years?
      Why does a mayor set off the air raid sirens when a baseball team makes it to the world series; not winning just making it there?
      If everyone loved football so much then they would have had their own stadium before the 1970′s? Why are certain Cubs fans (Ronnie Woo Woo) more known in the city then current Bulls or Blackhawks players?

      The Red line actually has a stop not called 35th st. Its called SOX/35th st. The entire city blamed one fan (when it wasn’t his fault) on why a team doesn’t make it to its first world series since 1945. The Cubs could sell 3 million tickets and they could be dog crap. Chicago is all baseball all the time. This is why as soon as Jordan left the Bulls stopped selling out. Why it took the Blackhawks winning a Stanley Cup to get interest again. Why the Bears played at Wrigley Field till the early 1970′s. And why Harry Carry is more beloved by the city then Bobby Hull or Stan Mikta.

      • thepunkyqb - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:04 PM

        I couldn’t agree with you more Johnnynewguy…shorttracknews clearly is a stat geek and has never been to the great city of Chicago. The city of chicago is split 50/50 down the middle Sox, Cubs.
        You either bleed black and white or are being associated with preppy, stuck up, north suburb, high class, frat boy-like actions. The only reason the Hawks are popular now is because Bill Wirtz passed on and his son started showing all the Home games locally(something that hadn’t been done by his father), and then soon thereafter they won the Stanley.
        For as much of a Sox fan as I am, I completely agree with you Johnny…Cubs fans are like a cancer in that city, they are EVERYWHERE. I will give them that, they have always had the most loyal(albeit blindly)and deepest fanbase in Illinois. Hands down.
        They play in an absolute shithole of a stadium, of which Mayor Richard Daley used to Annualy threaten to tear down(he is a Sox fan), there is no parkin lot(you park on the streets in the area)and it is just absolutely laden with bar after bar…yet they are always there, in full force. Even if a large percentage of their fans don’t know an absolute thing about baseball(just like Yankee fans), they are still there…cheering for ‘their’ team. The ever horrible, ever lovable Cubbies.

    • johnnynewguy - Feb 25, 2013 at 4:01 AM

      I forgot this in my previous response but; if you are correct and I am wrong why do you have more thumbs down then up? Not to say that that validates or invalidates your post but it sure doesn’t help your argument.

  2. schmedley69 - Feb 18, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    Living in between Baltimore and Washington, here is the way I see it:


    1) Redskins
    2) Maryland BB
    3) Caps
    4) Nats
    5) Wizards

    D.C. is more of a Phillies town than a Nats town, seeing as how Phillies fans are the only ones to sell out that park.


    1) Ravens
    2) Orioles
    3) Maryland BB
    4) Caps
    5) Wizards

    LIke others have said, Baltimore used to be a great baseball town, but Peter Angelos pretty much ruined that.

    • dcfan4life - Feb 19, 2013 at 6:13 AM

      Your top 5 is clearly defined by your perception since you actually live in Maryland. True Washingtonians dont care for Maryland basketball over the local team Georgetown. And the Nats were the worst team in baseball for years, and still filled the stadiums half up every game. They have been middle of the league in attendance nearly their entire stint in Washington. And last year they sold out plenty of games not including Philly games. Its simple when rating Washington. Redskins first and foremost now and forever by a mile, then it really is whos good and winning next. So right now, id go this as the top 5.


      The Nats are higher than the Caps because they average a larger viewership per game right now but its close. The Wizards start winning again and they could be number 2, thats just how this city is.

    • voteforno6 - Feb 19, 2013 at 7:30 AM

      If D.C. is more of a Phillies town, then why do I see so many more people wearing Nats gear? I’m not sure I would put Maryland basketball so high either. It seems to me that people care more about prep basketball here than they do college hoops. Also, with the run that the Nats made last year, along with the NHL lockout and the Caps’ subsequent struggles, I’d say that the Nats have moved past them.

      • bmorelikeme - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:09 PM

        Grw up outside Bmore, now live just outside DC.

        I’d say for Baltimore it’s currently.

        1. Ravens: Been consistently good for the past 10 years
        2. Orioles: Last season reignited the city’s love for the birds. I think with 1-2 more playoff seasons they could overtake the Ravens. Alot of hate for Angelos, but alot of love for the birds.
        3. Maryland BB
        4. Caps

        1. Skin’s, easily, not even a question.

        2. Nats/Caps, which ever team is doing better, DC is quick to jump on and off bandwagons, except in the case of the Redskins.
        3. Gtown
        4. Wizards

  3. sedettiger - Feb 18, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    Baseball and football rule in Detroit. The wings are a distant third. Don’t believe the “hockey town” marketing garbage.

    • beelza - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:49 PM

      Dude you’re high. Red Wings rule, 4 cups, 6 finals appearances. Tigers closing though with record attendance last season @ 3 million +.

      • johnnynewguy - Feb 25, 2013 at 4:07 AM

        The amount of success doesn’t mean one is more popular then the other.

  4. carkmonsta - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Red Sox

    • theluckytypist - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      It’s always the Red Sox in Boston. The city bleeds red. The other three are mostly interchangeable. Right now, I’d say it’s…

      1. Sawx
      2. Bruins (Boston is a big hockey town too, arguably the biggest in the United States ((Detroit is the most likely rival)), but the Sox are just huge here)
      3. Pats (Extremely popular, but a lot of EXTREMELY spoiled fair-weather fans who were rather displeased with the team making it all the way to the AFC freakin’ Championship game where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl winner)
      4. Celtics (Inconsistent fan base in recent years, but they do maintain good ratings, a nationwide following, and they also have a great deal of tradition)

  5. beaverdam21 - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    Great topic. More enthusiasm for this discussion than the fact that the country is facing huge fiscal crisis. My only observation based on the thread is that as a general sports fan I love the Detroit Old English D team symbol and have seen it actually by itself on a t-shirt at several sporting events across the country. Not sure I’ve noticed any other logos being all by themselves on a t shirt.

  6. dcarroll73 - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    kiwicricket hit it ‘spot on’. This comparison of sports from different seasons is ‘daft’ (is that the right term?) Personally I get really ticked when greedy owners try to push sports beyond their natural seasons – for example – baseball playing night games in frigging late October? hockey playoffs and Stanley Cup when it is so hot that there is fog on the ice? starting football when it is still too hot for a T-shirt not to mention all that gear?
    I don’t think there is any way to stop these clowns, but it is a very sad thing.
    I’ve noticed that despite the huge volume of comments on this, NY fans have not particularly taken this bait. I think that is because NY is a big enough market that the old seasonal thing still works.
    I rout for two New York baseball teams – the Yanks and the Giants (don’t even talk to me about this damn 50-some-year road-trip) and I properly loathe that team across the river (also on a much happier leave-of-absence.)
    In the proper time of the year, I don my gear for the other Giants who still have the sense to call NY home. The Jets (trust me) are not an issue. I am a ’60s/’70s guy who loves Joe Namath, and frankly that team doesn’t had much since his time (Just End The Season.)
    The Knicks have broken my heart more times than I can count. Patrick is a great guy, but he had an NBA championship in his hands which turned into a brick on the way to the rim.
    The Rangers are a similar story for me. A friend who is an Isles fan says they still haven’t won since 1940; that other one was another Edmonton championship. I would still rather watch NCAA DivI hockey.
    I am REALLY ready for baseball to begin again so that we can get past this silly season.

  7. ll8078 - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    the only obvious in Philly is that the Sixers are in 4th (or 5th with the Union possibly). Flyers get away with sellouts and quite high ticket prices, eagles of course an obsession, but Baseball has always made it too.

  8. joerymi - Feb 19, 2013 at 12:34 AM

    Born and raised in Detroit (thanks for the sympathy).

    I have to take issue here. Detroit is far and away a football town. As terrible as the Lions are, preseason Lions discussion nearly trumped Tigers playoff talk. Wish I was kidding. Throw in the Wolverines, and it is a CLEAR wash.

    The Wings carry a lot of water, but that is relative to other American hockey cities. And even then, it isn’t nearly what it was in the ’90’s. Most American teams would kill for the support the Wings get, but it still doesn’t compete with Football and Baseball. In the 90’s, the Wings were number one with a bullet (maybe behind Wolverine football).

    The Tigers would be in discussion for number one, but they were BRUTAL for years. Lost an entire generation.


  9. humanexcrement - Feb 19, 2013 at 12:40 AM

    I grew up in NE and central PA for the most part, right where the fan bases for the Pittsburgh and Philly (and to some extent New York) teams collide. I’d have to say Philadelphia is a tie between the Eagles and Phillies, and the Flyers are a close second. It really depends which team is winning more at the moment, but most of my friends from the Philly area are equally passionate about baseball and football.

    I have also lived in Denver, and Rocktober was an amazing thing to watch happen, and for awhile it got people interested, but when the sports guy comes on the evening news with the Rockies four games out of the wildcard, he opens by talking about Broncos training camp.

    Because New York has two teams in every sport, the most popular game in town is arguing between red, white and blue fans and blue and orange/ -ets fans.

  10. pooinyourface - Feb 19, 2013 at 1:56 AM

    New York has great followings in all sports, it basically depends on the season, and who is doing better (bragging rights) as for chicago, putting the white sox last and saying if u had to get rid of one it be them??? Theyre the only ones in the city who win championships. Chicago=morons

  11. BigBeachBall - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:08 AM

    All the comments above this one are gay….

  12. xjokerz - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:27 AM



    ( to the guy who said wolverines are number 2… get real )

  13. stairwayto7 - Feb 19, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    Phoenix is a WNBA town!

  14. 1509lucky - Feb 19, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Good,Bad,it doesn’t matter Philly is an EAGLES town.

  15. personalspaceinvader - Feb 19, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    You’ll get no argument from me about Denver being Broncos Country. I just wish things were different. So many casual baseball fans that dont actually care how the Rockies do, they’ll just pile into the stadium because its a great activity in LoDo during the summer time.

  16. asc14a - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    Too many comments to read through all the Chicago opinions but i’m sure someone has made this point already. As an outsider living in Chicago it seems obvious that the Bears own this city. Just one example I remember is from 2-3 years ago when the White Sox were in a tight race with the Twins in August. The front page of the Tribune sports section had a huge picture of some random Bears player, while the game story from the Sox game the night before was relegated to a bottom corner. The Cubs were not very good so I don’t think they were even on the front page. I just remember pointing that out to my wife as further proof that Chicago is a Bears city.

    As a native Detroiter (yes i grew up in the suburbs, but the hospital I was born in is in Detroit), I would agree that the Detroit area lived and died with the Wings while the Tigers were terrible. And I do think it is still more of a Wings town than anything else. However, I think the Tigers are on the verge of taking over the top spot that they occupied until their demise in the early 90’s. The Wings (at least for a lot of people) were just filling the void caused by terrible Tigers teams year after year.

  17. brownsapologist - Feb 21, 2013 at 2:45 AM

    As a sports fan that lives in Tampa I can safely say that it’s a Bucs town. They like their Rays but choose to follow them on tv. There is actually a pretty good fan base for the Lightning and it is the best ticket in town by far right now. 98% of the people around here don’t even know what a basketball looks like and even when the Magic were good a couple years ago did a good job at keeping their mouths shut because they knew they couldn’t fool anyone into believing they actually gave a s@#*.

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