Sports are fun, in part, because of the emotions that come with them. There’s joy, hope, fear, wonder—and hatred. Oh, it is wonderful to hate a team. Watching your team defeat the team that you hate is a rush of adrenaline, a fantastic experience. Watching your team lose a game against your hated team, well, there are better feelings. It’s the risk that makes it exciting.
Watching the 2021 ALCS between the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox, between two teams I truly hate, has brought up a question in my mind: as a Royals fan, which baseball team do you hate most? And, importantly, why? So, let’s take a look at the top contenders.
New York Yankees
Case For Hate: Everyone hates the Yankees, right? The New York Yankees are the most famous and most storied team in baseball, with the most rings to prove it. They are Goliath. They are always and maddeningly good, and their fans have absolutely no idea what it’s like to root for a normal MLB team. The last time the Yankees had a losing record, George Bush was in the White House. The first one.
Furthermore, the early Royals constantly clashed with the Yankees in the playoffs. For three consecutive years (from 1976 through 1978), the Royals lost to the Yankees in the playoffs.
Case Against Hate: Hatred is a “what have you done against me lately” game, and, well, the Yankees and the Royals haven’t had much bad blood. They’ve not played each other in the playoffs since 1980, which may have been forever ago. And as a non-divisional rival, they’re just...sort of there? Furthermore, the Yankees haven’t won or even been to a World Series since 2009. They’ve been good, but not world beaters.
Boston Red Sox
Case For Hate: The Red Sox have been the New York Yankees of the 21st Century, where they have 11 postseason appearances and four World Series wins against zero World Series losses. Plus, Boston is just an obnoxious town. Combined with the other big four professional sports teams, Boston as a city has won a whopping 12 championships in the last two decades. Nobody cares about the Curse of the Balbino anymore. Insufferable.
Case Against Hate: Kansas City hasn’t a lot of bigtime history against Boston. The two teams have never met in the playoffs, and there’s not any geographic or personnel rivalry in the way.
San Francisco Giants
Case For Hate: Madison Bumgarner. Need you hear more? The Giants are the team that ripped the rug out from under the magical 2014 Royals playoff run by celebrating that World Series on Kauffman Stadium grass as Royals fans watched. I maintain that the Royals’ World Series win in 2015 is the only reason why the Giants still aren’t public enemy number one among Royals fans.
Case Against Hate: It basically just boils down to that 2014 World Series, because there’s otherwise not a lot of bad blood.
Case For Hate: They’re stinking cheaters who almost beat the Royals in the 2015 ALDS. Seriously, they were probably cheating at that time and the Royals were one Carlos Correa error away from being sent packing as the best team in the American League in the first round. Since then, the Astros have done nothing but win, and once again threaten to get another World Series ring even though everyone outside of Houston hates them.
Case Against Hate: The Astros spent so much time in the National League, and during that time they had nary an interaction with the Royals in those tan, black, and red pinstriped jerseys of theirs.
St. Louis Cardinals
Case For Hate: For years, the Royals sucked in new, horrific, and creative ways while the cross-state Cardinals managed to win year after year. They are the main reason for the worst kind of people in the world: the unholy Chiefs/Cardinals fan combination born from just blithely selecting the best team in each sport (you get a pass if you’re young enough to not remember the Rams). And, of course, there’s the interstate rivalry between Kansas City and the city of St. Louis, whose style of pizza is like someone tried to re-create New York style pizza but forgot every physical property of cheese all at once.
And then there’s the I-70 series. The Royals won their first World Series in 1985, but not after a hard-fought series against the Cardinals that St. Louis residents continue to grumble about today as if anybody cared what the losers of a three-and-a-half decade old World Series think.
Case Against Hate: There’s room enough in Missouri for both the Royals and the Cardinals. And ever since the Royals won their World Series in 2015, the dynamic completely changed between the two. It was the validation Royals fans needed to feel better about themselves when the Cardinals destroy them in interleague play every year.
Case For Hate: The 1980 World Series. Like the Giants, the Phillies ripped the hearts out of Royals fans, though they at least had the grace to do so on their own turf.
Case Against Hate: It’s been over 40 years since that series, and it’s not like the Royals and Phillies play each other very often since then.
Case For Hate: Division rival. The Twins were really, really good when the Royals were really, really bad in the 00s, and they always won. Joe Mauer was a menace, though you had to begrudgingly give him the “nice guy menace” slack. And the Twins never even beat the Yankees when they clashed in the playoffs. Just not fair.
Case Against Hate: Despite inter-divisional rivalry, the Twins and Royals have essentially no playoff history, and the cities share a mutual respect and a kindred spirit for being midsized Midwestern towns that are often overlooked.
Case For Hate: With their season officially over, we can call them the Guardians now. But for a long time, they were decidedly and significantly more racist than that. Like, have you ever seen Chief Wahoo? Unbelievable. Anyway, there’s that, but Cleveland is also a divisional rival who always, always, always seems to have the upper hand against the Royals.
Case Against Hate: Similarly to many other teams, there’s not a lot of playoff history to speak of. Plus, like Minnesota, Cleveland is a very similar type of city to Kansas City in size and reputation. When New York exists, finding time to hate people who live in Cleveland seems like a tall order.
Case For Hate: Divisional rival, again. The Tigers also crushed the Royals when they were really good starting around 2011 or so. Personally, I will never forgive Justin Verlander for absolutely crapping the bed in the 2012 All-Star Game and making it completely noncompetitive for poor Kansas City fans who had waited their whole lives to see an All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium.
Case Against Hate: Minimal playoff history, though they have at least met in the playoffs in 1984. Also, outside of the four year stretch from 2011 through 2014, they’ve been to the playoffs once since 1988. And when they’ve been bad, they’ve been embarrassingly bad. Just look at 2019 and 2003. Yeeeesh.
Chicago White Sox
Case For Hate: The only team in the division that is technically a large market team, Chicago doesn’t get the same leeway that Minneapolis, Detroit, or Cleveland do. For a variety of reasons—probably not the least of which considering that the White Sox are the only other ALCS team to win a World Series in the last few decades—contests between the White Sox and Royals have been, shall we say, chippy. Multiple bench clearing brawls have happened. I dunno. They’re just a bunch of jerks over there.
Case Against Hate: The White Sox are also-rans in their own city. How sad is that? The Cubs are so much more popular and have a much more distinctive stadium. Also, the White Sox have been bad for a while, and have only recently climbed out of the gutter.
Which team do you hate the most?
This poll is closed