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Let’s figure out why Montana hates the Reds

Something is afoot in Big Sky country.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants
Was it because of the 2012 NLDS collapse?
Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

There are two major tenets of Baseball Twitter. The first, of course, is to identify and celebrate each and every statistic of any ilk that ends in ‘69,’ and if one doesn’t, create a new statistic that ultimately will. The second, though, is for all involved parties to retweet and discuss one topic and one topic only until every possible #taek has been divulged.

Tenet two brings us here, now. Today’s overriding topic: the most hated MLB teams by each state, an exhaustive, parabolic study of fandom as dictated by state lines that I can only assume was conducted using the strictest possible scientific methods by Tweeterizer Real McCoy Baseball.

At first glance, there are a few obvious head-nods. A lot of folks everywhere hate the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals. That flies. Much of Atlanta Braves country hates their NL East rival Washington Nationals, and the Nats’ border buddies in Virginia hate the Braves right back.

For the Cincinnati Reds, however, there’s a bit of a head-scratcher. Sure, plenty of Pennsylvania and West Virginia folks are Pittsburgh Pirates fans, so hating on the Reds seems pretty par for the course. Up there in Montana, though, there are fewer on-paper reasons as to why their fine residents dislike the Reds so.

Digging deeper into this, we’ve discovered a laundry list of reasons why Montanans truly despise our dear Reds.

1) Missoula native Taylor Tankersley was a promising 1st round draftee back in 2004 and pitched 118 career innings across four seasons for the Miami Marlins. He allowed 18 career dingers in those innings, and take a gander in which stadium he allowed more dingers than any other.

You guessed it - Great American Ball Park.

2) Noted outdoorsman Tucker Barnhart has actually caught every single trout in the Gallatin River, and now Montana has no food for the winter.

3) Back in the summer of 1976, the state of Montana had a big-time marketing campaign in place to promote their state’s tourism and had lined up All Star pitcher Frank Tanana to help pitch the Montanana jingle they’d already sunk $47,000 into creating. Of course, before they could get the first commercial to market, the National League All Star squad featuring Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Dave Concepcion, Johnny Bench, Ken Griffey, George Foster, and Tony Perez helped light up Tanana for 3 ER in his 2 IP, winning the game and tarnishing Tanana’s reputation forever. Montana, in shame, cancelled the ad campaign, and Tanana himself played the final 14 seasons of his career without an All Star appearance.

4) The Billings Mustangs, the Reds’ Pioneer League affiliate since back in 1974, has actually not allowed a single person to attend a game since partnering with the Reds. In fact, as patrons show up with tickets for every game, they’re instead shuffled into a dark side room where they’re forced to listen to recordings of Marty Brennaman talking about playing golf until the final out is recorded.

5) That mammoth dinger Adam Dunn hit off Jose Lima back in 2004? It actually landed in Montana, just outside Butte. It left a crater half a mile wide, destroyed Ed McClatchet’s autobody shop, and the sound from the impact left Pixie - Ms. Edna Sprout’s beloved poodle - partially deaf in her left ear. The local community filed suit against the Reds for damages, but the Reds’ big wig lawyers got the case dismissed with no settlement.

6) Back in the 1950s, Senator Joe McCarthy led a wide-sweeping investigation into supposed subversion of Americana by communist sympathizers. In fact, the hysteria engulfed so much of the country that the Reds themselves felt the need to change their name to the Redlegs to avoid any communist confusion. In which state was McCarthy an elected senator? Wisconsin, which borders Canada just like Montana. Little too fishy to be coincidence if you ask me.

7) Meriwether Lewis trekked though much of Montana with compadre William Clark on their early 1800s expedition to the Pacific Ocean. After returning east, President Thomas Jefferson appointed Lewis governor of the new Louisiana Territory, and he allowed Lewis himself to choose where to reside in the new swath of American property. Lewis, of course, opted to settle in the city which he’d spent the bulk of his time in Montana raving about to the local populous, the best city in which he’d ever spent any time at all - St. Louis. Yep, there’s been deep-seeded Cardinal love embedded there for centuries.

8) We all know that the Mountain Time Zone was named after former MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, right? Right. Landis, of course, was brought in by MLB to clean up the game in the wake of the Black Sox scandal of 1919, the World Series kerfluffle that featured the Chicago White Sox accepting bribes to help throw the series and let the Cincinnati Reds win. Well, I bet you didn’t know that the bulk of the money funneled to those White Sox players came from n’er do wells in none other than Idaho, fierce rivals of Montana just over the Bitterroot Range. See, not only did Idaho pay off the Sox, they also had connived to convince Montanans to bet heavily on the Sox to win while simultaneously betting on the Reds themselves, so when the final out was recorded, Idaho won huge while Montana went damn near broke. And now, thanks to the Kenesaw Mountain Time Zone, Montanans are reminded of how the Reds broke their hearts and wallets every single time they see a clock.


Now that you’ve got the real information, the revelation becomes much less surprising. In fact, I’m shocked that we haven’t seen more public vitriol from Montana prior to this date.