Skip to content

The hardest team to love

May 27, 2014, 5:49 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles v Kansas City Royals Getty Images

OK, this is not exactly a baseball post … but I got into a bit of Twitter spat about the hardest team to love in sports.To me: There is one and only one correct answer to this. And it’s really pretty easy.

I grew up in Cleveland, so I can say without question that that hardest PLACE in America to be a sports fan is Cleveland. That’s the collective power of the Indians, Browns and Cavaliers, who all have added to the city’s sports misery the last 50 years.

But if we are talking about one team … there’s no doubt in my mind that the hardest team to love is the Kansas City Royals. I don’t think any other team is even close. Yes, sure, it’s hard to love the San Diego Padres and the New York Mets and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Yes, the Cubs have their endless curse and Washington has a football owner who will break your spirit and teams like the Milwaukee Brewers and Phoenix Coyotes and Toronto Raptors and Miami Marlins (or whatever they are called now) are so forgettable that, well, you forget how hard it is to be a fan.

But the Royals … well, let’s put it this way: If you are 35 or younger, you do not have a memory of the Kansas City Royals making the playoffs. I’m not talking about championships here or reaching the World Series. I’m talking simply MAKING THE PLAYOFFS. What’s worse, the Royals have not even CONTENDED for a playoff spot in 25 years. This is something no other fan — not Cubs fans, not Pirates fans, not Clippers fans, not any other fan — can relate to.

To illustrate this, I put together a list of every team in baseball, football, basketball and hockey and how often them made the playoffs. Obviously, it’s easier to make the playoffs in the NBA and NHL than in the NFL and certainly in baseball. The point, however, holds. You will note the only team at the bottom:

Los Angeles Lakers: 26 (7 titles, 4 runner-up)
Detroit Red Wings: 26 (4 Stanley Cups, 2 runner-up)
San Antonio Spurs: 26 (4 titles, 1 runner-up)

Boston Bruins: 23 (1 Stanley Cup, 3 runner-up)
Utah Jazz: 23 (2 runner-up)
St. Louis Blues: 23

Chicago Bulls: 22 (6 titles)
Portland Trail Blazers: 22 (2 runner-up)

New Jersey Devils: 21 (3 Stanley Cups, 2 runner-up)
Montreal Canadiens: 21 (2 Stanley Cups, 1 runner-up)
Philadelphia Flyers: 21 (3 runner-up)
Indiana Pacers: 21 (1 runner-up)
Washington Capitals: 21 (1 runner-up)

Pittsburgh Penguins: 20 (3 Stanley Cups, 1 runner-up)
Houston Rockets: 20 (2 titles, 1 runner-up)

Detroit Pistons: 19 (3 titles, 2 runner-up)
Miami Heat: 19 (3 titles, 1 runner-up)
Boston Celtics: 19 (2 titles, 2 runner-up)
Chicago Blackhawks: 19 (2 Stanley Cups, 1 runner-up)
Phoenix Suns: 19 (1 runner-up)

New York Rangers: 18 (1 Stanley Cup)
New York Knicks: 18 (2 runner-up)
Atlanta Hawks: 18

New York Yankees: 17 (5 World Series, 2 pennants)
San Francisco 49ers: 17 (3 Super Bowls, 1 runner-up)
Atlanta Braves: 17 (1 World Series, 4 pennants)
Dallas Mavericks: 17 (1 title, 1 runner-up)
Vancouver Canucks: 17 (2 runner-up)
Buffalo Sabres: 17 (1 runner-up)
Denver Nuggets: 17
San Jose Sharks: 17

New England Patriots: 16 (3 Super Bowls, 4 runner-up)
Green Bay Packers: 16 (2 Super Bowl, 1 runner-up)
Indianapolis Colts: 16 (1 Super Bowl, 1 runner-up)
Los Angeles Kings: 16 (1 Stanley Cup, 1 runner-up)
Philadelphia Eagles: 16 (1 runner-up)

Denver Broncos: 15 (2 Super Bowls, 4 runner-up)
Pittsburgh Steelers: 15 (2 Super Bowls, 2 runner-up)
Calgary Flames: 15 (1 Stanley Cup, 2 runner-up)
Philadelphia 76ers: 15 (1 runner-up)
Minnesota Vikings: 15
Toronto Maple Leafs: 15

Boston Red Sox: 14 (3 World Series, 1 pennant)
Edmonton Oilers: 14 (3 Stanley Cups, 1 runner-up)
Orlando Magic: 14 (2 runner-up)
Cleveland Cavaliers: 14 (1 runner-up)
Ottawa Senators: 14 (1 runner-up)
Milwaukee Bucks: 14

Colorado Avalanche: 13 (2 Stanley Cups)
Dallas Stars: 13 (1 Stanley Cup, 1 runner-up)

New York Giants: 12 (4 Super Bowls, 1 runner-up)
St. Louis Cardinals: 12 (2 World Series, 3 pennants)
Kansas City Chiefs: 12

Oakland A’s: 11 (1 World Series, 2 pennants)
Seattle Seahawks: 11 (1 Super Bowl, 1 runner-up)
New York Islanders: 11

Anaheim Ducks: 10 (1 Stanley Cup, 1 runner-up)
New Orleans Saints 10 (1 Super Bowl)
Buffalo Bills: 10 (4 runner-up)
Chicago Bears: 10 (1 runner-up)
Miami Dolphins: 10
Sacramento Kings: 10

Baltimore Ravens: 9 (2 Super Bowls)
Washington Hogs: 9 (2 Super Bowls)
Atlanta Falcons: 9 (1 runner-up)
San Diego Chargers: 9 (1 runner-up)
New York Jets: 9
Charlotte Hornets/Bobcats: 9
Washington Wizards/Bullets: 9

San Francisco Giants: 8 (2 World Series, 2 pennants)
Minnesota Twins: 8 (2 World Series)
Cleveland Indians: 8 (2 pennants)
Los Angeles Dodgers: 8 (1 World Series)
Golden State Warriors: 8
Minnesota Timberwolves: 8
Phoenix Coyotes: 8

Los Angeles Angels: 7 (1 World Series)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 7 (1 Super Bowl)
Tampa Bay Lightning: 7 (1 Stanley Cup)
Cincinnati Bengals: 8 (1 runner-up)
Houston Astros: 7 (1 pennant)
Detroit Lions: 7
Los Angeles Clippers: 7
Memphis Grizzlies: 7
Nashville Predators: 7
Winnipeg Jets: 7 (none so far as NEW Jets)

Philadelphia Phillies: 6 (1 World Series, 1 pennant)
Texas Rangers: 6 (2 pennants)
Tennessee Titans: 6 (1 runner-up)
Oakland Raiders: 6 (1 runner-up)
Cleveland Browns: 6
Jacksonville Jaguars: 6
Toronto Raptors: 6

New York Mets: 5 (1 World Series, 1 pennant)
Carolina Hurricanes: 5 (1 Stanley Cup, 1 runner-up)
Cincinnati Reds: 5 (1 World Series, 1 pennant)
St. Louis Rams: 5 (1 Super Bowl, 1 runner-up)
Arizona Diamondbacks: 5 (1 World Series)
Detroit Tigers: 5 (2 pennants)
Carolina Panthers: 5 (1 runner-up)
Oklahoma City Thunder: 5 (1 runner-up)
Chicago Cubs: 5
Minnesota Wild: 5 (North Stars 5 more including 1 runner-up)
New Orleans Pelicans/Hornets: 5

Toronto Blue Jays: 4 (2 World Series)
Chicago White Sox: 4 (1 World Series)
Florida Panthers: 4 (1 runner-up)
San Diego Padres: 4 (1 pennant)
Tampa Bay Rays: 4
Seattle Mariners: 4
Pittsburgh Pirates: 4

Colorado Rockies: 3 (1 pennant)
Arizona Cardinals: 3 (1 runner-up)
Baltimore Orioles: 3

Miami Marlins: 2 (2 World Series)
Houston Texans: 2 (Houston Oilers another 7)
Brooklyn Nets: 2 (New Jersey Nets another 11 including 2 runner-up)
Columbus Blue Jackets: 2
Milwaukee Brewers: 2

Washington Nationals: 1

Kansas City Royals: 0

Latest Posts
  1. And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

    Apr 21, 2015, 6:42 AM EDT

    Ralphie

    It was a foul night for Ohio baseball.

  2. Ian Kennedy on track to return from the disabled list Saturday

    Apr 20, 2015, 11:01 PM EDT

    San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres Getty Images

    Padres right-hander Ian Kennedy landed on the disabled list after exiting his season debut on April 9 with a mild left hamstring strain, but he’s on track to return Saturday against the Dodgers.

  3. Jonathan Lucroy headed to disabled list with broken toe

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:35 PM EDT

    jonathan lucroy getty Getty Images

    Things are quickly going from bad to worse for the Brewers.

  4. Reds manager Bryan Price goes on profanity-laden tirade against media

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:06 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

    This from Reds manager Bryan Price is not a good look at all.

  5. Cubs-Pirates delayed for 23 minutes after fan hit by foul ball behind home plate

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:49 PM EDT

    PNC Park

    Tonight’s Cubs-Pirates game was delayed for 23 minutes after a woman was hit in the back of the head by a foul ball in the top of the second inning.

  6. Ben Zobrist to rest for a couple of days after getting cortisone shot in knee

    Apr 20, 2015, 8:55 PM EDT

    Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros Getty Images

    Ben Zobrist left Sunday’s game due to left knee soreness and he’s now slated to miss at least another couple of days after receiving a cortisone shot.

  7. Justin Verlander undergoes MRI which confirms triceps strain

    Apr 20, 2015, 7:29 PM EDT

    Justin Verlander AP

    Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander had to cut a simulated game short last Wednesday and he’s currently in shutdown mode due to continued soreness in his throwing arm.

  8. Mets announce injury timetables for Travis d’Arnaud and Jerry Blevins

    Apr 20, 2015, 6:21 PM EDT

    mets logo

    The Mets won their eighth straight game Sunday against the Marlins to improve to 10-3 on the year, but it came as a cost, as catcher Travis d’Arnaud and left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins were forced to leave the game due to injuries. Today we learned a little bit more about how long they’ll be sidelined.

  9. Dodgertown lives

    Apr 20, 2015, 4:50 PM EDT

    Dodgertown

    It’s been a facility in flux since the Dodgers left in 2008, but it has a new life under new management.

  10. Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett hurt himself showering

    Apr 20, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    Shower

    It was bad enough that he needed stitches.

  11. Jorge De La Rosa set to rejoin the Rockies’ rotation tonight

    Apr 20, 2015, 2:22 PM EDT

    jorge de la rosa getty Getty Images

    Last season he threw 184 innings with a 4.11 ERA and 139/67 K/BB ratio.

  12. Braves pitcher Andrew McKirahan releases as statement regarding his PED suspension

    Apr 20, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT

    Andrew McKirahan Getty Images

    And he actually owns up to taking stuff. None of that “I have no idea how that got in my system” rebop from him.

  13. I discussed the “minor league city downgrades” list on NPR over the weekend

    Apr 20, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    El Paso

    People from El Paso are still mad about that. Oh well.

  14. Hanley Ramirez leaves Red Sox game “due to illness”

    Apr 20, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    Hanley Ramirez Red Sox Getty Images

    Allen Craig replaced him in left field against the Orioles.

  15. After two Tommy John surgeries Brandon Beachy is hoping to join the Dodgers in June

    Apr 20, 2015, 11:19 AM EDT

    Brandon Beachy AP AP

    Beachy is 28 years old with a 3.23 ERA and 275 strikeouts in 268 career innings.

  16. You don’t have to trust Alex Rodriguez. Nothing requires you to do that at all.

    Apr 20, 2015, 11:02 AM EDT

    Alex Rodriguez AP

    The greatest trick baseball columnists ever pulled was convincing the world that the way they frame a topic is the only way to approach the topic.

  17. Garrett Richards returned from knee surgery throwing gas

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    garrett richards getty Getty Images

    His health is a huge key to the Angels’ success this season.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (4627)
  2. D. Salazar (4014)
  3. D. Span (3875)
  4. C. Gomez (3651)
  5. J. Reyes (3556)
  1. D. Mesoraco (3508)
  2. Y. Puig (3465)
  3. D. Travis (3443)
  4. J. Verlander (3346)
  5. A. Rodriguez (3323)