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Posnanski weighs in on the “Which sport reigns supreme in each city” debate

Feb 25, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

Lions fans

A week ago I did a post about which towns are baseball towns, which are football towns, etc.  It was a fun topic to write about and it definitely got you guys talking. It got Joe Posnanski thinking too. Yesterday he wrote a city-by-city response to my post.

As a guy who, unlike me, actually travels to other cities to cover sports often, I’m gonna grant that he has some superior insight to mine. He also joins what I felt to be the strong majority of you who corrected my impression of Detroit, saying it really is a Lions town. Upon reflection I can’t disagree. Given how well-supported they are despite how frequently they have sucked in the past, well, all decades, there has to be something to that.

Anyway, good read, as always.

  1. larryboodry - Feb 25, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    If I lived in Detroit, I’d be a Tigers fan.

    • jarathen - Feb 25, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      It’s a testament to the power of football that even when your team is terrible, and has largely been terrible in living memory, that it’s still #1. That’s passion.

      Being in Anaheim, I do think the Angels do much better in Orange and Riverside counties than in Los Angeles. I know growing up, when the Angels weren’t very good, I still knew more Angels fans that Dodgers fans in Riverside.

      I think it would be fun to take a turn on this and go to places without major sports. There are entire states, like Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, New Mexico, and Iowa, that do not have professional sports teams. I know in Iowa that it’s Hawkeye country through and through (nothing touches Iowa Hawkeye football here, it’s not even close), but I’d be interested to know what other states gravitate towards. Colleges as well? Neighboring state pro sports?

      • ulteriorsun - Feb 25, 2013 at 10:16 AM

        I wouldn’t say that the sentiment about fans and lifelong losing is unique to football. Cubs fans have known it for just as long (and longer) than us Lions fans, and they still pack Wrigley.

      • seitz26 - Feb 25, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        I think Montana is sort of a mish-mash, at least controlling for era. My dad grew up in the far eastern part of the state, but before the Twins existed, so he grew up rooting for the Red Sox (and his older brother was a Giants fan). Now I think the Twins are the “local” team there, though there may be some run for the Rockies as well. You might find more Mariners fan in the Western part. In football, most of my cousins are big Broncos fans, but there are a couple holdouts for the Vikings.

        In college sports, this is probably just somewhat particular to my family, but team #1 is the University of Montana, and Notre Dame runs a close second, but that’s largely because my uncle (the patriarch of the Montana contingent) was a big ND fan and it rubbed off on the kids and grandkids.

      • misterj167 - Feb 26, 2013 at 10:56 PM

        I think you could take the entire population of Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, New Mexico, and Iowa combined and they wouldn’t have as many as NYC, or the metropolitan Chicago area. Throw in Nebraska too: I understand that when the Huskers play, the stadium has more people than their largest city.

        The South values college sports more than any pro team (except maybe the Cowboys in Dallas) because that’s their tradition.

        Multi-team cities like Chicago are harder to gauge, and I need to point out that NYC technically doesn’t HAVE a pro football team. At the very last I’d put the Cubs on an even level with the Bears, but I think football just inspires more intensity with less games and a shorter season.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2013 at 9:29 AM

      You don’t have to live in the D to be a Tigers fan. I don’t.

      In all fairness, those of us who are Tigers fans went a lot of years on loyalty instead of wins as well. I guess that means Detroit fans (in and out of the D) generally are not fair-weather fans and provide an unconditional support base. Grrrrrrrrr!!!!!!

      • ulteriorsun - Feb 25, 2013 at 10:15 AM

        I don’t begrudge any fan who wants to sport the Olde English D. You do have a point though – Tigers can be a bit of a roller coaster, and winning it all doesn’t come that often. Just ten years ago they made the record for the most losses in the American League – three years after that, Magglio Ordonez hits that walkoff to send them to the World Series for the first time since ’84. But as a lifelong Tigers fan, I’m just happy to see new fans and hope they have the same appreciation I do of the current talent and skill of the team.

    • blackandbluedivision - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      other than the last two years…how many blackouts has Detroit had because they couldn’t sell tickets?

      Why is that every home game against division rivals, they have to use the silent count? They can’t even sell-out they’re own stadium.

      It may be a Lions town…at home. But, they don’t show support. In all actuality it is a Red Wings town.

  2. sdelmonte - Feb 25, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    So as a New Yorker, I can’t entirely disagree. Sadly, we are front-runners a lot of the time. There are the hardcore fans, and there are the millions who get swept up in the latest thing and forget it six weeks later.

    But it’s been so long since the Knicks won the title that I can’t say I think they would trump the Yanks or Giants. Or even the Rangers. The level of excitement the two times in the 90s the Knicks were in the championships was lower than that for the other clubs. And there was never a week like that of the Subway Series. While America was indifferent, NYC was ecstatic. So I would still give the edge to baseball just a bit. Ask me again if and when the Knicks are in the finals or the Jets and Giants meet in the Super Bowl.

    • chadjones27 - Feb 25, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      I thought the Giants and Jets were NJ teams.

      • sdelmonte - Feb 27, 2013 at 9:32 AM

        NJ teams that, unlike the Devils and the late NJ version of the Nets, dominate the landscape on both sides of the river. Though I still prefer Ed Koch’s “hold your parade in Secaucus!” attitude to Bloomberg’s “yes, you are a NY team, here’s your parade” attitude.

  3. brianabbe - Feb 25, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    The problem with some of these analyses is that they’re hard to quantify. How hard is it to be a fan of a team on Sundays only? 80+% of the workforce is not working, so it’s easy to tune in, attend a game or two and get hooked. Try filling your stadium with at least 25-30,000 consistently 81 times a year and getting fans to tune in on Tuesday nights and Thursday afternoons, in the middle of the summer no less. I still maintain the NFL’s popularity is largely one of convenience.

    • chadjones27 - Feb 25, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      This is much like any sports debate. You have the stat heads that will use stadium attendance, TV viewership, etc. as their argument. You have the stat heads that will say stadium attendance, TV viewership, etc. isn’t a legit argument. You have the other side who believe it’s more about non-quantatative things, like what gets the air time on local radio, or they see more football or baseball hats at the bars.
      But that’s what I love about these arguments. There’s no right or wrong (unless you say Tampa is a better sports than, than, say NY or Boston).

  4. Chris Fiorentino - Feb 25, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    At least he got Philly right. Eagles..and like he said…it’s not even close.

  5. seitz26 - Feb 25, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    My gut tells me he’s wrong about LA. I’d have to try to recall the way the Lakers were covered in their post-Magic/Pre-Shaq era, but I think that right now, they’re a bigger deal. That could change within a year, as LA is notoriously fickle. As for attendance, the Dodgers have always been a great draw, but that’s largely a function of market and stadium size. Heck, back when the Angels weren’t any good, even they were drawing over 2MM and were in the top five in attendance almost every year. Since 1979 they’ve drawn fewer than 2MM only five times, and three of those were strike shortened years, and the other two were right after the 1994 debacle.

    That’s not to say the Angels are more popular. But it does put the Dodgers’ attendance in perspective. They do very well, but the market is a big factor. I wouldn’t necessarily use that as a marker to say they’re more popular than the Lakers.

    • ulteriorsun - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      In regards to the Angels, can you even count them as LA? It’s in the name, but Oakland is closer to San Francisco than Anaheim is to Los Angeles. Most Angels fans I talk to seem to resent the notion that they’re part of the city.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:23 AM

        Oh, not the geography whining again…

      • seitz26 - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:52 AM

        Yes, you can count them as L.A. When you turn on channel four at 5:00 in Anaheim, you get the KNBC news from Los Angeles. You don’t get Orange County news. It’s the same market. It’s all lines on a map, there’s really no difference in terms of the market. It’s not about being part of the city. I grew up in the West San Gabriel Valley (and am an Angels fan), which is not part of the city, but it’s still L.A.

      • jarathen - Feb 25, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        You can, but I think it’s fair if you want to split them. I mean, I grew up in Riverside County and lived in Orange County for a few years, and the news stations never change. It was always LA News.

        But Orange County and LA County aren’t the best of friends, at least in my experience. And while I don’t care too much that the Angels are now the LA Angels (except for the redunance of the name – The Angels Angels?), they’ll always be an OC team to me.

  6. cur68 - Feb 25, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    Meh. Never mind about what city likes what. Read about him getting his iPad back. Every one of us who’s ever left something expensive and personal someplace random can relate to that one.

    Oh, and put your name & email on stuff so a nice person can get it back to you.

  7. Mike Luna - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Craig writes a pointless, ill-informed blog post. Posnanski comes through and writes a better post correcting Craig’s post. Craig writes a post about how much better Posnanski’s was, thus generating twice the pointless content.

    This is a snake eating its own tail.

    • a125125125 - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      + 1000 thumbs up for Mike Luna.

      Let me boil down this post from Craig:
      Last week he made up some stuff that you all read and debated because most of you don’t realize that Craig is an idiot. Craig doesn’t really go to other cities and thus essentially told you what he thinks based on ESPN’s coverage (ALWAYS a mistake). A real writer then corrected Craig’s sloppy work. Craig then turned around and sent all of his Buffoon Army to the real writer’s website.

      One of the most bizarre posts in Craig’s long history of pointless posts.

      • seitz26 - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:54 AM

        It’s amazing how much of the readership of this blog is made up of people who apparently hate the author.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:54 AM

        Wait, did you just repackage Mike Luna’s troll???? Irony, thy name is a125125125.

      • a125125125 - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        See seitz26 and histoiophiliac are examples of people that are too dumb to realize that Craig is dumb. Nice work by those two buffoons to stick up for the head buffoon.

      • paperlions - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:55 PM

        Well, you are too fucking stupid to realize that you just posted doing exactly what you claim CC does. It is free content, if you don’t like it, look elsewhere….there are literally 100s of baseball blogs, there has to be something that your dumbass will like.

      • a125125125 - Feb 25, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        How do I report someone for abusive language? Paperlions is way out of line. Also: he’s dumb as a sack of rocks if he’s sticking up for Calcaterra. This is plain and simple awful blogging by Craig….and it’s the reason that blogger gets bad reps. No research. No interview. Just his opinions thrown against a wall…..AND HE ADMITTED THAT HE DOESN’T TRAVEL TO THESE CITIES! If you think this is worthwhile reporting, you are a part of the problem.

      • stlouis1baseball - Feb 25, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        “How do I report someone for abusive language?”

        Really? You want to report someone for abusive language?
        I have a question:
        How long did it take you to feel like a little girl after posting that?

        Qualifaction: I have two kids (both girls). When one tattle’s on the other I spank them both. You would be amazed at the lack of tattletelling that is going on in our house as a result.
        You need your butt paddled for tattling.

      • a125125125 - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:23 PM

        Wow….this has to be the most warped parenting method I’ve ever heard. If you’re kids witnessed a murder would you spank them for going to the police? stlouis1baseball is Father of the Year material! Seriously, Stupid Craig, how do I report a user that uses inappropriate language and/or tells stories about spanking minor children?

      • a125125125 - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:29 PM

        Sorry….should be *If your kids witnessed a murder*. Not if “you’re” kids obviously….sorry, I’m trying to type while also working on my high-paying job.

      • raysfan1 - Feb 25, 2013 at 7:27 PM

        1) Bloggers are neither reporters nor journalists, nor do they attempt to be. They write opinion pieces, and pass along others’ reports–generally also with a bit of opinion thrown in. If you want straight up news, I suggest you stick to the non-blog portions of NBC.com.
        2) This particular blog has never deleted posts or blocked commenters for use of profanity. Try avoiding calling people “idiot,” “dumb,” or “buffoon”–all of which can also be called abusive–and you just might have less profanity directed toward you.

      • stlouis1baseball - Feb 26, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        “If you’re kids witnessed a murder would you spank them for going to the police?”

        Ummm…yeah Genius. Winessing a murder = tattletelling.

        “how do I report a user that uses inappropriate language and/or tells stories about spanking minor children?”

        They are my children you idiot. Believe it or not (and this is gonna be a newsflash for you)…there are Parents out their who actually still paddle their Children. Gasp!

        As I said previously…you need it yourself. As in right now. Had that happened when you were a kid you would prove yourself more intelligent.

        My guess…you are either a Moron…or twelve years old.

        Gonna’ have to add you to the Moron list.

      • a125125125 - Feb 27, 2013 at 12:07 PM

        I need to extend my original request…..how do I report someone for abusive language and/or fantasizing about paddling me?

        stllouis1baseball obviously doesn’t understand the analogy. Punishing a “tattletale” is awful parenting. If someone does something wrong (like a murder) and someone else witnesses it (a “tattletale”), the “tattletale” should report it. Encouraging kids to look the other way and not tattle is one of the reasons that our country is as corrupt as it is. Lack of spanking is definitely not the problem.

    • a125125125 - Feb 27, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      I need to extend my original request…..how do I report someone for abusive language and/or fantasizing about paddling me?

      stllouis1baseball obviously doesn’t understand the analogy. Punishing a “tattletale” is awful parenting. If someone does something wrong (like a murder) and someone else witnesses it (a “tattletale”), the “tattletale” should report it. Encouraging kids to look the other way and not tattle is one of the reasons that our country is as corrupt as it is. Lack of spanking is definitely not the problem.

  8. echech88 - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Couldn’t disagree more with his logic that the Dodgers are bigger than the Lakers in LA. I prefer baseball to basketball living here but I can’t help but think Joe’s own bias towards baseball skewed that one a tad.

    It is not even close. Terrible Laker teams get 90% of the sports talk radio time and interest. Frankly, NFL regular season and postseason got more run than the Dodgers’ offseason of spending. The Dodgers are popular but if it was put to a vote of only keeping 1, it wouldn’t even be close. People love the Dodgers in LA but the Lakers extend beyond sports fans..it’s a cultural thing in the city.

    • jarathen - Feb 25, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      Lakers also generally haven’t had to split fandom. Angels have been getting big and while certainly aren’t the Dodgers in Southern California, they’re in the discussion. The Clippers were practically a D League team. NO ONE wore Clippers gear growing up; everyone was a Lakers fan.

  9. philliesblow - Feb 25, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    The Lions are not a football team. They are the longest running sitcom on network TV and just happen to use football as the basis for their weekly plot line.

  10. ochospantalones - Feb 25, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    As a Philadelphian, I think the Eagles-Phillies thing is a closer call than it might appear. The quality of play and quality of the game experience inevitably effects these things. From 1984 to 2001, the Phillies had one winning season, and played in an absolute hell hole of a baseball stadium. But the city went totally nuts for that 1993 Phillies team, at least as much as it did for any Andy Reid Eagles team. Meanwhile the Eagles have been mostly competitive since 1988 (15 playoff appearances in 25 years). Ever since the Phillies moved into a nice ballpark and became consistently competitive, they’ve consistently gained ground to the point where the teams are pretty even, with the Phillies maybe even edging ahead. You definitely see a lot more Phillies red around town than Eagles green, though part of that may be that everyone hates the current Eagles uniform color.

  11. raysfan1 - Feb 25, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    I noted Poz echoed what I said about Tampa/St Pete. However, I’ll add now that what he posted about Phoenix also applies to FL and SoCal.

  12. simon94022 - Feb 25, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    Both Craig’s and Joe’s posts are a bit too urban-centered. The SF Bay Area, for example, is all one market including Oakland and San Jose. Barely 10 percent of the population lives in the city of SF.

    That said, the Bay Area ranking has to put the Giants and 49ers together at the top. Basically a jump ball between them. The Raiders are a distant third (more of a cult team, really), with Warriors, A’s and Sharks trailing far, far behind.

  13. simon94022 - Feb 25, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Outside of Canada and maybe Detroit, I am skeptical of any claim that hockey is the number one sport anywhere. It simply lacks broad popularity.

    Ditto for the NBA, which is number 1 in the cow towns like Oklahoma City, San Antonio or Salt Lake, which lack an outdoor team, but ranks third almost everywhere else.

    The NFL is the country’s dominant sport. But on the local level there are at least a dozen examples of towns where the baseball team is equally or more popular. The arena sports don’t even belong in the conversation.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      Cow town? COW TOWN???? I don’t know where hell you’re from, Mister, but apparently you think the entire middle part of the country is just a big ol mess a grazing land. Probably the only thing you know about the Frying Pan is some cowboys and Indians BS from the movies or ranchers v. farmers drama from the award-winning musical, which some consider the apex of American musical theater. But, I can assure you, Sir, that we are more than one big ranch. OKC has a shit-ton of oil money and for some time our state’s leading cash crop was marijuana — not beef. We have roads and computers and gang violence and all kinds of things here. You may think we’re all Toby Keith; however, we are also Elizabeth Warren, Gary Busey, the Flaming Lips, Ralph Ellison, and Mickey mother-fu*king Mantle. Have a bad day, snot. Now, I’m gonna get back to my game cuz we are trouncing the Phillies.

      • paperlions - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        Led the nation in meth labs per capita for a while too, didn’t you? Prior to the meth prevention initiative, anyway.

      • raysfan1 - Feb 26, 2013 at 12:03 AM

        Add to that: yes, here in the OKC area we do love our Thunder, but #1 is far and away college football. I could extoll many virtues of the city where I’ve now lived for 3 years, but I won’t–I’ll just smile benignly at your astounding lack of knowledge.

    • jackhitts - Feb 25, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      Not one for doing “research”, huh? Ever BEEN to Minnesota? Or, hell, even New England?

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 25, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      “Cow towns?” Did you seriously just reference “cow towns?” Where are you from?
      Have you ever crossed your own state lines? “Cow towns.” Hahaha! Classic.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2013 at 5:57 PM

        Pretty sure that means dude hasn’t driven through Kansas…with his windows up. ;)

  14. jackhitts - Feb 25, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    The more I think about it, the more I think that the No. 1 team for Minneapolis might actually not be a pro team but rather Minnesota Golden Gopher hockey.

  15. calbeartc - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    SD is a Charger town, but the Padres had their runs in 84, 96 and 98 where the town went crazy. The Padres alienated a lot of their fanbase in the eastern and northern suburbs by moving to Petco. Now it has become AT&T Park and Dodger Stadium south. It’s a disgraceful environment for true Pads fans. SDSU basketball might be #2 at this point.

  16. ray0414 - Feb 26, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    As someone who lives in michigan, when i see they had the redwings as the biggest team in detroit i automatically wrote the article off as a joke, hockey is NOTHING compared to what it was in the yzerman days. lions and tigers are both HUGE around here, nobody cares about the wings or the pistons anymore. pistons were huge back near the 2004 championship but have completely died, some nights they have less than 5000 people at games. im gonna say the tigers are by far number 1 becuase they simply win. lions are just not good and most people are interested thru the first half of the season then just kinda stop watching.

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