Hatred! Is there any emotion more pure and blameless than hate? In my opinion: yes. All of the emotions are more blameless than hatred. Hatred is horrid, almost universally, unless directed at other horrid things, like poverty, hunger, rhino poaching, and pitcher wins. But boy is it fun to hate! And boy do we hate it when people tell us not to hate something. When people do that we start hating them, too! Hate is like an infection that spreads when someone points out to you that you have an infection. Imagine if influenza worked like that:
“Hey Tom, you’re looking a little under the weather today.”
*Tom coughs uncontrollably*
“Whoa! Sounds pretty bad. Want some Robitussin?”
*Tom vomits all over the office*
“OH MY GOD TOM YOU COULDN’T HAVE AIMED AT THE TRASH CAN!?”
*Tom’s body rejects his liver.*
“We need to get you to the hospital!”
*Ten thousand maggots devour Tom’s body*
Gross! This, in essence, is how hatred works, and we all have a little touch of it hiding within us. Most of us baseball fans have found a “healthy” way to exercise hate through sports fandom. As fans we choose our sports-hate toward a division rival, perhaps, and let it dwell in the part of our hearts classified as “games and pastimes” instead of the part classified as “people and their rights”. So that’s good. It’s better to be an A’s fan who hates the Giants than an A’s fan who hates people of a certain race/class/gender/sexual preference/body type/etc. Unfortunately those hates can overlap, or fan-hate can grow far, far, far, too intense, but I think for most of us, we’ve found a safe spot for our darkest inclinations and we let them reside there without it spilling into the rest of our lives.
What all this is leading to is that we stats-lovers—men and women who make love to statistics—are just as prone to rooting against a team as for a team when we don’t have previous affinities. What distinguishes us from the masses of internet-comment-wielding-haters is not our ability throw about prejudicial slurs, but our ability to pull statistics from
our asses fangraphs.com. We are haters with data! And we will misuse it to form opinions!
Why to Hate the Red Sox, Statistically Speaking*
Their Pitchers Take FOREVER
Red Sox pitchers’ Pace score for 2013, which measures the time a pitcher takes between pitches, is seventh-slowest in baseball at 23.4 seconds per pitch. The Cardinals clock in at 22.2. The average number of pitches thrown per game by a team is 146, which means that over the course of the game the Red Sox are wasting you, the spectacle-consumer, 160.6 seconds more than the Cardinals. That’s 2 minutes and 40 seconds! That’s enough time to pee, check your email, eat a Dorito and yell and at your kids to stop microwaving the cat! The Red Sox are denying you this! HATE THEM! Express your disdain! Shout slurs to slowness!
Guess what? Their Batters Take FOREVER, too!
Red Sox batters, for whatever reason, cause opposing pitchers to take longer between pitches. Or they ask for time more often, or something. Whatever they’re doing, their batter Pace score is second in the Major Leagues at 23.5 seconds per pitch. Not only are their pitchers slow, but their batters send plagues of slowness-bearing rats to opposing pitchers’ drinking wells, infecting them with Black Sloth.
SO. MANY. FLY. BALLS.
Red Sox pitchers give fun the middle-finger by allowing 36.4% of balls in play to be fly balls. BORING! Is there anything worse than a fly ball? There is not. It is as boring and painful as open-mic comedy nights at your local abandoned tavern. Ground balls mean exciting plays! They mean dives, acrobatics, and laser throws. They might even cause someone to use the phrase “bang-bang play!” Teehee. Fly balls, in contrast, mean a dude settles under a spot and waits for like seven hours. It’s more boring than waiting in silence for that ONE slow kid to finish the vocab quiz. Guh.
Reasons to Hate the St. Louis Cardinals, as Suggested by the Numbers
They Annihilate Hope By Grounding into Double Plays
Do you love having your hopes and dreams crushed mercilessly? Love getting a can of whoop-ass opened on your emotional well-being? Yes? Then you’ll love the Cardinals! HAVE YOU CAUGHT ON TO MY SARCASM? The Cardinals grounded into the second most double plays over the course of the season among all major league teams. That this is related to how often they have someone on base is mere trivia. GIDPs are fun-banes. And the Cardinals excel at fun-baning.
They Hate Triples and Probably the Number Three and The Holy Trinity, Too
Were you, per chance, hoping to see exciting baseball? Baseball wherein a batsman rounds the horn o’ second and narrowly beats the throw to third? Fool! ONCE AGAIN YOUR HOPES ARE IGNITED IN CARDINAL-RED FLAMES! The Cardinals don’t hit triples! They are triple-hatin’ grouch-bags! They only hit 20 all year, good for 8th-worst in the majors, and even those they regretted. They’re taking out a class-action lawsuit against all the triples they hit. They’d like the commissioner to strike their triples from the record, and also all triples from all other teams, too. The Cardinals don’t hit triples, and triples are exciting, so the Cardinals are worth hating, is the main point of this sort-of-a-stretch paragraph.
They Want to Injure Their Opponents
If you enjoy arguing with drunk guys at bars, this is a good way to GIT R GOIN. Cardinals pitchers hit the fourth most batters in the league this year, yet were sixth-best in the league in terms of BB/9. What this doesn’t say definitively, but could be argued to a drunkard, is that the Cardinals are hitting batters on purpose! Why else would pitchers with such good control be hitting batters so often? You could be like:
You in a bad Boston accent: Doood the faaaahkin CAHDs ah hittin doods on puahpose!
Cardinals fan: What?
Who to choose, then?
Well, I don’t really know. I guess you’ll choose whoever you want and then use whatever reason you want to justify whatever position you want. That’s basically how most opinions work. You could always just watch to enjoy two very excellent, well-rounded teams face off on the big stage. Soak up the excellent competition and whatnot. That, I think, should be enough.
*I feel compelled to note that it was hard to find hate-worthy stats for these teams. I also feel compelled to tell you that I’m craving McDonald’s. Why this compulsion came over me I have no idea. Why I’m following through on this compulsion is even more of a mystery.
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