MLB: The 5 Most Beloved Teams in Baseball
We all like to pretend like our favorite MLB teams have the best fan-bases in baseball, however some teams just happen to be more beloved than others.
Baseball is America’s pastime and within America’s pastime are some of the greatest sports teams ever created. Baseball has the most successful franchise, the Yankees, and is undoubtedly the most popular sport for the youth. The game of baseball is more than a game; it is a culture with a heartbeat that pounds from March to October. Nothing compares to a ballpark dog, or the sound of a walk-off home run. No sports fan alive has felt the joy that the Chicago Cubs felt in 2016, and no athlete has had a bigger impact than baseball’s own Jackie Robinson.
All these are very bold statements, I will be the first to admit. However, it is hard to argue the cultural impact baseball has had around the world. Outside of soccer and maybe basketball, what other sport has the worldwide allure that baseball has? We have witnessed baseball expand to a worldwide phenomena. No other time in history has there been so many international players within the MLB, and with tournaments like the World Baseball Classic and the Little League World Series we can see the popularity of baseball around the globe.
Despite it’s growing popularity around the globe, baseball’s soul is within Major League Baseball. Major League Baseball has some of the best franchises in all of sports. Some of these franchises stand out over others as more beloved. What makes these franchises beloved at the end of the day is the fan-bases that fill the outfield seats during the hot summer days. Some of these teams you just can’t help to route for (barring if your team isn’t involved). So, let’s take a look at the most beloved teams in baseball.
5. San Francisco Giants
The even year Giants are one of the most rooted for teams in baseball. Every even season, fans make sure to pay extra attention to boys of the bay as they pursue championship gold. Heck, even though it didn’t happen this season if it wasn’t for a ninth inning collapse we may have seen more even year magic. The fact of the matter being, unless you’re a fan of the rival Dodgers, it’s hard not to root for the Giants.
Besides being so dang likable to the general public, San Francisco’s fans have been absolutely phenomenal. The Giants currently have the second longest sellout streak in baseball history. Since October 1, 2010 the Giants have sold out every single game at AT&T Park. This amounts to 488 consecutive games being sold out, and only trails the 2003-2013 Red Sox who managed 794 consecutive sellouts. Even in the odd years where San Francisco failed to make the postseason, the fans in the bay have made it a point to watch Giants baseball.
Not only that, the Giants have one of the biggest poster-boys in MLB. Buster Posey is the face of San Francisco, and with his natural ability to play baseball he is not only marketable but talented. Add that along with the hitting that pitcher Madison Bumgarner provides, and the Giants have two of the most intriguing players in the bigs. The Giants are always one of the teams you see playing prime-time baseball, and for good reason as they are immensely popular.
4. Philadelphia Phillies
As of right now, the Phillies may as well be the lovable losers of MLB. Failing to put together a winning record since 2011, the Phillies have had some bad years. Their star players got old, and it didn’t seem as if they had a very good back-up plan for when that happened. They are on the rise however, having started the 2016 season on the right foot and improved by eight wins from 2015. Despite their recent track record, the Phillies are still one of the most beloved teams in baseball.
First of all, the Phillies have the most iconic mascot in baseball. The Phillie Phanatic is known for his outrageous antics, and may as well be the only thing enticing Phillie fans these days. The Phanatic has been around since a staggering 1978, and any baseball fan would be lying if they said they didn’t love the Phanatic. Sure, a mascot isn’t really part of the team, but it still creates a connection with the average fan that increases their likability.
Overall, Philadelphia is one of the best, most passionate sports towns in America. In fact, from 2010-2012 the Phillies led MLB in attendance. While this point isn’t the most credible when it comes to ranking the most beloved teams, it shows the kind of passion Philadelphia can have. Sure, it has taken a massive hit over the years, but who wants to spend money to see a team that only wins 71 games? My point being, the day the Phillies again be successful, you bet all of America is going to be cheering for them. But for now, they may just be our lovable losers.
3. St. Louis Cardinals
Dodger fans may hate them, NL Central fans may hate them, but the Cardinals still seem to be one of the most admired teams in all of baseball. Maybe it is because of their heroic postseason past, or being in the heart of the midwest. Nonetheless, the Cardinals prove year in and year out to be one of the most popular teams in all of baseball. Even in a year where they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010, the Cardinals still seemed immensely popular.
The fact of the matter is that the Cardinals have been one of the most successful teams since the turn of the century. Since 2000, the Cardinals have made the postseason 12 times, putting together 100 wins or more 10 of those times. While some people may want to see them stop winning, they seem to always be America’s darling once the calendar approaches October. Look at 2011, David Freese‘s heroics are etched as one of the best moments in baseball history, which made people love them even more.
At the end of the day, St. Louis is located at the heart of the midwest. Sports fans from the midwest have always been known to be extremely passionate for their sports teams. This causes a ripple effect around the nation for the Cardinals. Even here, in California, countless people are Cardinals fans. People love success, and people love home-grown success. The Cardinals provide both of those needs to baseball fans across the country.
2. Boston Red Sox
Sweet Caroline… DUN DUN DUN. Sorry, I just had to get that out of the way. Anyways, the Boston Red Sox have been the laughing-stock of MLB for a very long time, and this caused us to love them even more. Say what you want about them trying to buy all of their talent, and about their inability to have consistent runs to the playoffs. The Red Sox are, and for a long time will be, one of the most beloved teams in baseball.
Maybe it is the allure that Fenway Park and the Green Monster provide us baseball fans. Maybe it’s the Cinderella story of 2004. It may just be the curse of the Bambino finally being broken within out lifetimes. It is hard to exactly pinpoint the origin of the love for the Boston Red Sox, but at the end of the day they are one of the most iconic and historic franchises in baseball. Regardless, Boston calls itself home to the famed Boston Red Sox. Ask any baseball fan, if they can go to one stadium before they die where it would be, and I guarantee the majority of answers would be Fenway park.
Just everything the Red Sox do seems perfect. Whether it was David Ortiz‘ memorable speech after the Boston Marathon tragedy, or the ceremony provided for Derek Jeter on his last game, Boston always crafts together memorable moments for any occasion. Baseball is a game of healing, a game of escape from reality. Watching the ball soar over the green monster provides just that. It is undeniable the love that the baseball world has for the Boston Red Sox, even if that’s a tough pill to swallow for Yankees’ fans.
1. Chicago Cubs
Breaking a 108 year drought really does get you over well doesn’t it? After breaking the longest reigning drought in baseball the Cubs have instantly become America’s sweetheart. People thought it would happen last year because of Back to the Future, but waiting one more year after 107 must have been sweet. The Chicago Cubs are now the most beloved team in baseball, and well, whoever is opposed must accept it.
I mean, the evidence is all in the numbers. Game seven of the World Series was the most watched baseball game since 1991. One of the then two longest baseball droughts were to be ended that day. Then, look at the championship parade the Cubs had on November fourth. Five million people were present for that World Series parade. That made the parade the seventh largest human gathering in human history. I know there are a lot of Cubs fans, but not all five million could have been.
Just look at the pieces they have that make them so likable. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo may be the most popular duo in baseball, and Joe Maddon is arguably the most likable manager in baseball. Even their President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein is a household name for baseball fans. The Chicago Cubs, after 108 long seasons of agony, finally are on the top of the world.