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But It’s a Dry Hate: How D-backs fans see other teams

Two samples, a decade apart. What changed? And what hasn’t?

NLDS: Chicago Cubs v Arizona Diamondbacks, Game 1 Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

With today an off-day, seems a good chance to look at the results of our poll, which asked Arizona fans to rate all 30 MLB teams on a scale from 1-9, to determine who we liked, and who we don’t. This was a repeat of a poll taken back in 2010, when things were rather different in both our division and MLB in general. Thanks to the unexpected appearance of a Dan Haren trade, those results never came out, so we’ll also be getting in our time machine and going back to see what D-backs fans though at that point.

When it came to looking at the data, I discarded anyone who did not vote “1” for the Diamondbacks. This is because I’m interested only in what Diamondbacks fans think of other teams. If you’re a Dodgers fan [puts on The Rock voice], it doesn’t matter what you think. This was much more an issue with the 2010 poll, where 46 of the 116 respondents gave Arizona a lower mark. In our updated survey, only seven did so, and most of those were a “2”. I feel kinda bad in those cases, because they’re likely legitimate opinion. But, as I said, this is a D-backs site, and you’re either with us or against us. After that, and filtering out duplicates, we ended with a similar number of surveys: 70 in 2010, and 66 in 2020.

Let’s start with the former:

2010 fan survey

[For reasons explained above, the D-backs scored exactly 1.00 and aren’t shown]

There seems to be rather stronger consensus about the teams we dislike, than the teams we like. The Dodgers and Yankees lead the pack, both scoring a Hate Index(TM) of above eight. Los Angeles just edged out New York for the top spot, by the smallest possible margin: the two franchises rated 8.04 and 8.03 respectively. No great surprise to see the Cubs ranking relatively highly. At the other end, it seems we feel considerably more warmly about the American League. They occupied nine of the ten spots with the lowest Hate Index, the sole exception being the Rays. Our expansion siblings in Tampa were the SnakePit’s favorite team, at 4.19, fractionally ahead of Minnesota (4.20).

There were generally strong opinions about our divisional rivals, with three of the four to be found in the top five. I was quite surprised to see such strong distaste for the Padres, but it is worth remembering, this survey was taken back in 2010, probably the last year San Diego were relevant. As noted at the time, there was a fairly tense relationship at that point between this site and Gaslamp Ball, back in the days when there were enough people active there to feud with. Colorado, meanwhile, were the least-disliked team in the NL West, which is quite interesting, considering that just a few season earlier, in 2007, there seemed to be the seeds of a genuine rivalry.

2020 fan survey

Ten years later, and what has changed? In some ways, not much: the Dodgers are still the most-despised franchise. But opinions against them have hardened considerably, with their rating a sturdy 8.70 out of a possible nine. They are now plowing a very lonely furrow at the top, with a yawning 1.61 point chasm between them and the second-placed team - they are closer to the 22nd-ranked franchise, than they are to LA. There has also been a change in who occupies second. It is not the Houston Astros, who were previously all the way down in 11th place. No prizes for guessing the reason: I wonder if this will be a short-lived dislike, or if it will become part of their permanent record?

The Astros just bumped the Yankees down to third, by 7.09 to 7.08, with New York being the only other team with a Hate Index in excess of 6.50. San Francisco, Boston and the Chicago Cubs round out the rest of the top five. We do have a new “most-liked” team, with the Athletics having taken over from the Rays, getting a HI of 4.03. The Angels are second, presumably benefiting for being from Los Angeles and not being the Dodgers, while the Royals and Rays served up a dead-heat for third place. As previously, the AL definitely skewed more positive. The best-liked National League team is now the Cardinals, at 4.53. I suspect the presence of Paul Goldschmidt there is a significant factor.

Change over the decade

The above chart shows how each team’s HI changed from 2010 to 2020; a positive number indicates the franchise is now more disliked. Overall, D-backs fans have become slightly more mellow. The average HI in 2010 was 5.27, but it dropped by thirteen points to a current figure of 5.14, eighteen of twenty-nine teams going down. That did not appear to help Houston, however: absolutely no surprise to see them having easily the largest change, in either direction. zooming up 1.65 points, from 5.44 to 7.09. Nobody else saw a swing of even one whole point in their HI. The second largest increase was the Mariners, who went up even more than the Dodgers, by 0.84 points. I’m at a bit of a loss to explain why.

The Yankees saw the largest drop, of 0.95, and I would generally concur with that: the Evil Empire, if not exactly lovable, just doesn’t seem as Evil as they once were. The Athletics decreased almost as much in claiming the top spot, with the White Sox also dropping significantly. Again, not certain of the cause for this. I did notice that, outside of the Dodgers, the Hate Index for everyone else in the National League West declined. The Giants dropped by 0.85, the Padres by 0.74 and the Rockies by 0.42. I guess there is only so much hate in our hearts to go around, and we clearly prefer to save it all up for the Dodgers. :)

I don’t think there were too many people who have been around the SnakePit long enough to vote in both polls. Scanning the list of usernames from the 2010 and 2020 polls, I see justin1985 (if that’s the same person as justin27), Turambar and Rockkstarr12 as present on both, so well done to them on their longevity! I would be curious to hear from them, or anyone else, how their opinions have changed over the years: I can give them a copy of their 2010 ballot on request. Otherwise, we’ll revisit this again in 2030, to see if we manage to hate the Dodgers even more by then!