If you are a computer, chances are good that everyone kind of hates your guts right now. First, they hate you for attempting to flatten the global economy by putting your 1 and 0 keys so inexplicably far away from each other, an indefensible design oversight which, when coupled with a human error in which someone e-mailed the word “infer” when he really meant “imply,” last week irrevocably demolished the whole of the American economic system and caused literal billions of dollars to spontaneously burst into flame and fly through space to China, where they were going anyway. (Along the same lines, Greek people hate you for reminding them repeatedly that goods and services must be paid for with actual currency.)
Second, people on Facebook are confounded and irritated by your sudden, unturnoffable refusal to let them talk about their children’s illnesses in peace until they announce to the global human experience their approval of music by Train. (Note: Making this joke gives Facebook implicit consent to sell my immunization records to Netflix; don’t be alarmed about the tetanus thing, I feel fine, I swear.)
But third, and most importantly, computers have been jerking around with the Houston Astros – and that, robot army, is where us carbon-based rebels draw the line at your manufactured tyranny.
Recently, the Wall Street Journal published a story on the Most Hated Sports Teams on Earth, as determined by some computer-generated mathemagician alchemy that ranked teams based on a formula based in crazed, anonymous message board ranting (pronounced here in the business as “The Future Of Professional Journalism”), blog posts, tweets and Betty White, and when I first read of it I thought precisely what you just thought: Well, the Yankees must be on it, because everyone hates the Yankees, because they are pinstripey crybaby Iron Man-rich elitist postseason-underachieving babyfaced talcum-powdered Madonna-snogging fancypants losers who play foosball with their World Series trophies and wash themselves with their filth money.
(Alternatively, you might think the winners would be the Boston Red Sox, because evidently when the Boston Red Sox begin a season like they are currently doing, which at press time is an underachieving 18-16, Red Sox fans lose their minds like hyperventilating lunatics, because Red Sox fans, like Cubs fans only with an infinite multiple of more rings, find loss and self-loathing to be the natural order of things.)
So, right, Yankees 1, Red Sox 2, let’s go home, right? But wait – according to the story there are actually four teams more hated than the Yankees, although to be fair one of them is the BP executives rec-league softball team. Ha! I am only kidding, although that theoretical collective of slow-pitch evil would make more sense than the actual winners in the Cleveland Indians, who evidently suffer a deep nationwide loathing that I learned about this very minute. The second- and third-most hated teams are, of course, the universally loathed Cincinnati Reds, who have been known to steal coughing children from orphanages, and the Houston Astros, who spent most of the offseason sabotaging BP oil-rig blowout preventers.
This brings up a number of important questions, such as: What did the National League Central do to suddenly inspire this volume of irrational fury? Seriously, somewhere there’s a junta of organized, militant anti-Houston Astros fans? What could anyone hate the Reds for? It’s like hating milk, or shirts.
But before you start feeling all sorry for yourself, Reds fans, and drowning your sorrows in hot dogs with chili and ribs and complete hamburgers all over them, let me caution you that the extremely complicated algorithm used to gauge this highly important matter may be faulty. The program searched both for positive and negative keywords in blog posts and tweets, etc., but according to a representative of the Nielsen company, which administered the polls, the results covered only the beginning of this current season, not the whole of real life. Which makes sense, because absolutely no comprehensive list of the most-hated sports anything is the slightest bit legit unless Duke is all over it. Yeah, I said it, Blue Devils. I even put it on my Facebook.
Jeff Vrabel has found it desperately apparent that his professing the slightest whiff of interest in a team will ignite a cosmic, multi-dimensional and wholly unstoppable chain of events that culminated with that team being irrevocably doomed them epic, impossible, stretching-the-laws-of-physics, where’s-my-Cure-CD failure. He can be reached at jeffvrabel.com or followed at twitter.com/jeffvrabel.