Braves have most biased fans, statistician says

Chipper Jones #10 of the Atlanta Braves is congratulated by teammates after hitting a solo home run in the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Turner Field on August 31, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

This year, thanks to "scientists" and math geeks, we've been handed a slew of definitive analyses ranking the innate qualities of baseball fans.

In June, Bundle crunched a dubious set of data to declare that the Boston Red Sox have the most obsessed fans. (How do we know this? In part, the authors conclude, because they spend lots of cash at restaurants and bars). In April, Facebook proclaimed that the Phillies have the most loyal fans(because, you know, they clicked the "like" button for the team a lot).

Well, now the season is in the homestretch, so it's time for another scientifically questionable methodology to answer a burning baseball question: Which team has the most biased devotees?

This time, Beyond the Box Score has tackled the data. And they use a decidedly more complex formula than the Bundle and Facebook studies. In a nutshell, they compare "the actual 2011 All-Star vote totals with the expected results to find the impact of each team's fans' biases on the balloting."

The result? The Atlanta Braves take the bias crown. The Seattle Mariners come in second and the San Francisco Giants rank third.

See the complete rankings here

The Braves aren't exactly known for their fervent fans so how did they rank at the top of the biased rankings? According to the formula, Atlanta fans were completely unreasonable with their All-Star ballots. (Injury-plagued Chipper Jones got 2 million more votes than he was projected to receive and slumping Jason Heyward got 1.44 million more.)

While we are skeptical of using All-Star Game voting as any sort of meaningful barometer (some teams have no players who rank in the top 8 of votes at their position; other teams actually collude to rig the system), at least this ranking has a weighty scientific formula - using exponent-laden "tchotchke statistics" called "Star Power" and "Vote Share."

It's interesting to note that two of the teams most synonymous with having "biased" fans do not rank high using this formula. (The Red Sox rank 15th and the Cubs 24th). But by and large, the list is not very surprising: The Giants, Yankees and Phillies all rank high while the Pirates, Marlins, Padres and Astros all rank at the very bottom.

Interestingly, the lowly Oakland A's ranked as having the 10th most biased fans. As the statistician author (Lewie Pollis) notes, Oakland players were ballot bottom feeders but still got 28 percent too many votes.

"It's a rough time to be an A's fan," Pollis concludes.

In other words, this scientific ranking seems to be the most accurate yet.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for

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