Yesterday the New York Times released a really interesting Baseball Map According to Facebook.
I highly suggest taking a look at it, as for myself I had some interesting observations:
1. The 'evil-empire' of the NY Yankees is certainly verified given the national appeal of the Yankees throughout much of the country. It's shocking that in places throughout Virginia. North Carolina, Montana, New Mexico, Nebraska, etc. that the Yankees are the most popular team in some counties. Even in regions with a major league team, the Yankees are often the 2nd or 3rd most popular team. Let's hope that a good 10 year drought of Yankees Championships slowly changes this trend.
2. Expansion. At some point I think the next commissioner should expand to 32 teams to bring 16/16 balance to the leagues. This map at least gives an insightful indication of regional need:
- Virginia/Carolina: These two states are baseball blackholes at the moment. I would guess that as the Nationals get better their popularity will slowly expand across the state of Virginia, much like the Redskins' popularity across the state. Charlotte or even Raleigh seem like an ideal place to expand
- New Orleans. I would have thought NOLA would be adamant Braves territory, so I was surprised by these results. NOLA is a great city and a great sports city -- I think MLB would do well in the Crescent City
- Indianapolis. We're all Cubs fan here and we accept the fact that the Cubs have a national appeal. I personally grew to love the Cubs outside the Chicagoland area, so I can't be too hypocritical. However, the Cubs should not be the most popular MLB team in Indianapolis, it just seems...strange.
- Salt Lake City. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Giants are the most popular teams in Utah right now. With only 1 major sports team in the city (sorry MLS) I don't think an MLB team in SLC would be too much for the area. Plus it could add some Western/mountain expansion to the league.
- Portland. Maybe a stretch but if MLB had to add another Western based team, this would seem like a potential place to expand to.
3. It's shocking how the Florida teams are really bad at protecting their fan base territory. I was a Floridian for many years and this primarily has to do with the amount of Northeastern transplants in the state. But still the state of baseball in the Sunshine state in definitely not as secure as it should be.
4. Zooming into the Chicagoland area, the results are actually not that surprising. There's a clear Northside/Southside split with the city, and across the suburbs that holds true as well. However clearly the Cubs have a more regional appeal throughout the state and even in Iowa and Indiana. As I mentioned above the Indiana appeal is actually a little surprising and a little strange for me personally. Also interesting to not that many counties in Iowa are more majority Cubs areas than places on the Northside
5. Poor Mets and Poor A's. Shocking that even in the Queens and in Oakland, the Mets and the A's don't even have the majority of local fan bases. I find this surprising just anecdotally as many of my relatives on Long Island are Mets fans. I always assumed that at least Long Island would be the 'only' place where Mets were more popular than the Yankees. Also, the poor A's I really sympathize with them. The Giants are essentially blocking the new stadium in San Jose, because it encroaches up Giants territory. It would seem that the Giants could 'afford' to lose some territory, and the A's will probably never be able to expand upon its fanbase while playing in the Coliseum and being financially handcuffed nearly every year like it current is.
Well these were my observations, does anyone else see something interesting? Or is this map just a complete waste of time since the data are potentially biased since it just comes from Facebook users?