Just in time for Opening Day, Facebook’s “like” button has yielded the most detailed look ever into the geography of Major League Baseball fandom.
By counting the number of “likes” for each franchise’s official team page on Facebook, the social media giant was able to get a county-by-county breakdown of which teams are popular where.
And the results yielded some interesting results about baseball fandom.
For example, the New York Yankees are popular in pockets all over the country — not to mention dominantly popular over their cross-town rivals, the Mets, in the New York area. In fact, the Mets don’t even show up on the map.
In Texas, the Rangers are the dominant team geographically, except for a crescent of Houston Astros fans along the Gulf Coast.
Another interesting feature is a transplanted battle for loyalty between the Yankees and the Red Sox in the mountain states that don’t have a home team to call their own. The states of Utah, Idaho, Montana and Nevada show a checkerboard of allegiances between the Yankees and the Red Sox.
And Florida is split down the middle, with the Gulf Coast counties rooting for the Tampa Bay Rays, while the Atlantic coast leans toward the Yankees, with small pockets of Marlins fans, mostly around Miami.
It’s a good bet the stalwart regions won’t shift much no matter how well or poorly certain teams fare during the season, but it’s anyone’s guess how the fringe regions of the map might change come October.
The only way to figure that out is to play ball.