ESPN Ranks Cincinnati Reds No. 7 for Most Miserable Fanbases in Professional Sports

The ranking was based off five primary factors including championships, playoff berths, playoff wins, heartbreaks and rival comparison

Jan 15, 2019 at 10:26 am
click to enlarge The Reds' Great American Ball Park - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
The Reds' Great American Ball Park

The Cincinnati Reds made some moves this off-season that have many fans hyped that the 2019 season will find the team back in the playoffs and making a legit run for a World Series champsionship.

At the very least, one would think the acquisition of superstar Yasiel Puig from the Dodgers (and maybe Cy Young-winning pitcher Corey Kluber from Cleveland?) would lift fans' spirits enough to take the fanbase out of the Top 10 most miserable fanbases.

Alas, Cincinnati's sports scars are apparently deep and lingering, at least according to ESPN, whose revised "sports misery index" has the team's fanbase actually climbing the rankings, moving up one spot to No. 7.

Since the original rankings in September, two "miserable" MLB teams — the Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies — made the playoffs and dropped down on (or completely off of) the list, making room for the Reds' slight ascent. (To be fair, it appears the index update occurred at almost the same exact time as the trade with the Dodgers for pitcher Alex Wood, Matt Kemp and Puig was announced. Even more recent events might have the Chicago Bears fanbase moving up the list come next update, as well.)

Here is the current Top 10 list of most miserable fanbases in sports (which includes teams from the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL), according to ESPN.

1. Sacramento Kings (NBA)

2. San Diego Padres (MLB)

3. Cleveland Browns (NFL)

4. Florida Panthers (NHL)

5. Buffalo Bills (NFL)

6. Chicago White Sox (MLB)

7. Cincinnati Reds (MLB)

8. Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

9. Chicago Bears (NFL)

10. New York Jets (NFL)

Just be thankful you don't live in Buffalo.

Here are the factors the site uses for the rankings.

The five primary factors in the Fan Misery Index formula:

1. Championships: The more (and more recently) you win championships, the less you have to complain about. However, if your most recent championship was 25-plus years ago, it's almost as if you've never won at all.

2. Playoff berths: How are you going to win a championship if you don't make the playoffs? It's bad enough to not hoist the big trophy at the end of the year, but not even putting yourself in the postseason is cause for a venting session or 10. We won't tolerate too much bellyaching from teams that are always in the postseason.

3. Playoff wins: Great, you're in the playoffs, but what's the point if you don't do anything once you're there? Seeing your team go one-and-done in the postseason is quite painful -- almost as bad as not going in the first place. But if you win playoff games every year, you have less reason to complain.

4. Heartbreaks: It's one thing to lose -- it's another to get your heart ripped out of your chest "Temple of Doom" style. Whether it's blowing a big lead, losing a Game 7, losing at the last second or simply losing a title game, it's OK to be miserable. However, some winning teams scored high in this metric because you're going to have more "bad beats" the more you play at the final table.

5. Rival comparison: Having your team stink and break your heart is bad enough, but having the fans of the teams you hate celebrating championships and playoff wins is salt in the wound.

The Brewers success last year also made Reds fans the most miserable in the National League Central, ESPN notes. Here is their full justification for the Reds' No. 7 ranking:

Congrats, Cincy, you're now the most miserable fan base in the National League Central! That isn't exactly the title the Reds were looking for, but actual titles have been hard to come by in Cincinnati, as the Reds haven't won a World Series since 1990 and a playoff series since 1995. Right now, they're in the cellar of a suddenly tough division, and the Big Red Machine days seem further away than ever.

While the Reds have been struggling, rebuilding and having their hearts broken on the rare occasions when they contend (Cincinnati is 13th in MLB in heartbreaks, despite its few playoff appearances), their rivals have been thriving, as the Cardinals have won two World Series since 2006, and the Indians are postseason regulars. The league's oldest franchise isn't exactly thriving.