August 6, 2007

Nations of the National Pastime

[click for larger]

Strange Maps continues to demonstrate cartographical excellence with this post on an MLB fanship map. The writer is British I believe, and therefore doesn't seem to know much about baseball in the US. As one would predict there is extensive argument in the comment thread about the validity of what it shows in various places, though I would say that it is basically right and fun to see mapped out despite some clear flaws. Jumping out at me immediately would have to be the Chicago region, New Jersey, Texas, and Connecticut, and I am sure that there is something going on with Virginia too, but I don't know enough about it to say what it ought to look like over there.
As I mentioned a while ago, the NY Times had an article about Connecticut's bid to officially leave New England treasonous Yankee-supporting activity with a delineation of the border territory. It is also hard to guess what is going on in the extreme northeast, but I happen to know that the Red Sox extend up decisively into Quebec and the Maritime provinces of Canada, where they have nothing to do other than fish and watch NESN. The Rangers territory looks wrong to me as well, since the Astros seem to be considered the "state" team of Texas. Similarly how can it be that all of Colorado doesn't consider itself Rockies fans? And I know that western Ontario is Tigers owned and I can't imagine how the Pirates claim part of Virgina. I think there are two things that are actually causing problems with this map:
  1. They didn't draw it transparently. In reality there is quite a bit of overlap in many of these areas. Take the LA area for instance: there are Angels fans there, but they don't own the lower part of the metropolitan area (as far as I know), rather they are right on top of the Dodgers. The same goes for Chicago, although the White Sox have a definite south-side advantage. And isn't SF basically all Giants? I think they don't want to make the Mets look bad, but in reality, they can really only claim Long Island, even if they have some stragglers in other parts of the Tri-State area. New Jersey and the rest of NYC is overwhelmingly Yankee dominated.
  2. There is a difference between what these areas should be and what they actually are. This is especially true in Connecticut and some of those southwestern places. Conn is supposedly part of New England, but since they are all backstabbing traitors, the western part of the state has gone over to the dark side. And Nebraska and Kansas should be Royals fans, but since they are so terrible, and the people from that part of the country are so weak-minded, many of them latch onto random teams of their choice. If you are going to do that, being from the plains you should chose the Cubs, or at least the Cardinals, who are sort of the "midwestern" teams. Plus, picking the Cubs doesn't exactly impart an easy rooting assignment, so people can't really question your motives if you just want to find a team with some history. Unfortunately, both of the people I've met from there are the worst kind of Yankee fans: fair-weather ones who "like them because they win" and even admit this fact. Terrible job.
Overall I give it a B. Good effort, but a nearly impossible task to do well.

At least one thing is clear: avoid the Unincorporated Territories at all costs.