Earlier this week, this map representing the “United Countries of Baseball” made the rounds on these here internets. The map comes to us from a Niketown location (where?) via Strange Maps.
The map is quite intriguing in mapping out the dominant loyalties of baseball fans and how far they extend beyond the city and state within which the individual teams play. It is our feeling that based on our time throughout the country, most of the boundaries are at least fairly accurate representations. For example, having spent our formative college years at the University of Iowa (don’t ask) in Iowa City, Iowa, we can tell you for certain that 90% of Iowans are Cubbie fans.
However, we have to take issue with the representative boundaries for the state of Florida. In short, they were far too generous to the in-state teams, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Florida Marlins.
Here is a close-up of the state of Florida as represented in the United Countries of Baseball.
As most people know, Florida is a melting-pot of people that have moved there from all of the country with most coming from the Northeast. Most of these people, if baseball fans, come with predetermined loyalties.
We felt the need to correct the boundaries as depicted above and lay out the true fandom boundaries within our beautiful state.
The Braves continue to dominate northern Florida. In fact, we would argue that the Braves are underrepresented throughout the country. Much of the unincorporated territory in the west is probably Braves and/or Cubs country as both of those teams gained healthy followings in the ’80s due to the daily national broadcasts of their baseball games.
While the New York Yankees play in the South Bronx, Tampa is clearly Bronx South. Anybody that has ever been to the Trop for a D-Rays-Yankees match, can certainly tell you that 75-80% of the fans in attendance are rooting for the pinstripes. In fact, the Devil Rays have only had three non-opening day sellouts in the history of Tropicana Field. All three of those games were against the Yankees. This is not surprising considering the number of New Yawkers that have moved to the area as well as the number of people that jumped on the bandwagon in the late 90s.
The Mets dominate the Miami area. Again, this is due to the large number of Long Islanders in the Miami area and the draw of the NL East rival which leads to 9-10 Mets games in Miami every season. We also would not be surprised if most Mets fans list “Scarface” as their favorite movie.
The Red Sox? Sure they draw large numbers to the Trop when they come to town, but most of those fans wear pink or green hats and don’t know that the Mets had already tied Game 6 of the ’86 World Series before the ground ball that went through Bill Buckner’s legs. In short, they really don’t count, but we will give them a little bandwagon out in the Gulf of Mexico.
As for the Devil Rays and the Marlins. The contingencies are small but growing. OK. Maybe the Marlins fanbase is not growing. How else can you explain the attendance levels for a team that has won more World Series in the past 10 years, than the Red Sox have won in the past 88 years? On the other hand, there is is a strong baseball fan base in the Tampa-St.Pete area that is just begging for a competitive team. When that happens, the Devil Rays nation will grow and be able to compete (at least locally) with the Yankees.
The United Countries of Baseball [Strange Maps]