I’m on a list to receive e-mails from a guy named Josh Barton, who puts out odds and results of polls on all kinds of sports. I don’t know how I got on the list but I get a couple or more e-mails from Barton at www.BetOnline.ag every single day and they’re usually interesting to look at.
A day after the NBA draft I got an e-mail from Barton with odds on who will make the NBA All-Rookie team and who will be Rookie of the Year. If you make a wild guess that Victor Wembanyama is at the top of both lists consider yourself a wiener. I’ve just now learned how to pronounce his name and I better learn how to spell it soon. I still don’t know how to spell Antetokounmpo without looking it up, and I’m resigned to the fact that may forever be the case.
Also on that e-mail are odds for who will win the NBA championship next season, and “Wemby’s” new team, the San Antonio Spurs, have moved into 20th place among the 30 NBA teams, tied with Brooklyn and Portland and ahead of the Bulls, Jazz and Pacers. How times have changed, as back in October a lot of folks were picking Brooklyn to go to the finals and San Antonio as one of the worst teams in the league. In fact, the Nets were third favorites behind only the Warriors and Celtics to win the championship back in October. The Nuggets, who actually did win, were 11th at +1,800. If you had bet $100 that the Nuggets would go all the way back in October you won $1,800 a couple weeks ago.
The current worst team, at 30th overall with the least odds to win the NBA championship, is the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets are +30,000, so if you bet $100 on the Hornets to win the NBA championship today and they do so next June, you’ll win $30,000. It’s your money but I wouldn’t endorse that bet.
I was actually hoping the Hornets would draw the top pick in the draft. That would be really cool to have “Vic” on a team within easy driving distance of the Roanoke Valley. I wonder if Michael Jordan would still be selling the team if that were the case? And certainly they wouldn’t be dead last on the championship list.
Looking back on Josh Barton’s last e-mail before the draft, he had “WamBam-Yana” odds at minus 50,000 to be the number one pick. In other words, you had to risk losing $50,000 to win a $100 bet that he would go first. That was probably a better bet than picking the Hornets to win it all, to be honest. It’s like betting that the sun will come up. If it doesn’t come up, you just deal with it and hope you didn’t make the bet with a guy named Soprano.
Barton also sends me results of polls and surveys and I received an interesting one last week, ranking the current 10 most hated teams in baseball. BetOnline.ag recently did a social media survey and collected more than 100,000 “negative sentiment” tweets, hashtags and direct keyword phrases for every MLB club over 60 days. For example, “I hate the Yankees,” “Yankees suck,” “screw the Yankees,” “Yankees are garbage,” “Yankees are overrated,” “Yankees are awful” and “Yankees are horrible” all came up in the sampling. It then tallied up all of those tweets, hashtags and direct keyword phrases to discover which team is the most disliked in all of baseball.
That honor belonged to the Houston Astros since the cheating scandal that was discovered in 2019, when they were banging on a trash can to tip off pitches. However, as of this week the Astros have now slipped to third in the survey behind the Dodgers, with 9,016 negative responses, and Yankees, with 8,712. Houston is third at 7,658.
That’s perfectly understandable, because the Yankees and Dodgers are usually good, and on top of that they’re more likely to sign free agent players leaving YOUR favorite team. They don’t always win the World Series, but they’re rarely a “bad” team and have won more championships than most over the years. Remember, people often develop likes and dislikes as children and never let go, ie myself and the Dallas Cowboys. Doesn’t matter what they’ve done lately, when I was a kid they kicked the Eagles’ butts every year and I still remember.
So, rest assured the Yankees and Dodgers aren’t bad people, it’s just that fans of the Ind. . . . . .”Guardians” and Padres watched them beat their favorite teams like the proverbial drum. And by the way, Rest in Peace that Cleveland guy who beat the drum for years and died back in March. He was one of my favorites.
Completing the top 10 of Most Hated Teams, in order, are the Mets at four, followed by the Braves, Phillies, Red Sox, Padres and Royals. You’ll notice they’ve all been pretty successful of late except for the Royals. What’s the deal on that? How can you hate the Kansas City Royals, they rarely beat anyone. Maybe, just maybe, all the 3,642 negative responses came from the Kansas City area.
And the Cubs are 13th!! Who could hate the Cubs???
Who is the “least” hated team in the Major Leagues? Well, according to the survey, that honor belongs to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Next is the Orioles and the rest of the “Least” hated teams, in order through 10th, are the Marlins, Rockies, Blue Jays, Angels, Brewers, A’s, Tigers and Rays in 10th, although that could change if they keep winning.
I can remember back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, when the Orioles were good, there were a lot of folks who didn’t like them. Thought Wild Bill Hagy was an idiot. Wouldn’t yell “O!!” during the national anthem. Considered Jim Palmer to be a stuck-up ass. Had Reggie Jackson for awhile.
Maybe, if they’re lucky, those days will return and folks will hate ‘em again. As of my writing this column they’re 18 games over .500, and four and a half ahead of the Yankees, so they should be moving up that most hated chart any time now.
But I wouldn’t bet on it.