Sports fans love watching their teams win. When that doesn’t happen, most will settle for watching a hated rival lose. There is something appealing, maybe to our worst impulses, about witnessing the demise of a team you’ve come to loathe like a foreign aggressor.
The same goes for certain figures in the world of sports. Certain athletes inspire hate among even casual fans. Sometimes, a public scandal makes everyone form an opinion, but in other cases you’ll see familiarity breeding the contempt. By familiarity, we mean a habit of appearing in the finals, winning MVP awards, and winning titles. These things often go hand-in-hand.
Of course, some sports stars who don’t enjoy success can earn the hate of millions just by being themselves. It takes a certain kind of talent, if you think about it. Here are the seven most hated personalities in American sports today.
7. Jose Bautista
Just because no one has punched Jose Bautista lately doesn’t mean people stopped hating him. The Blue Jays slugger makes no apologies about being an agitator, once saying he “didn’t come to the [ballpark] to make friends.” Bautista has succeeded wildly on that front and, despite a drop-off in production in 2017, still manages to piss off people with an obnoxious bat flip when the mood strikes him.
We last saw him up to his old tricks during a May game at Atlanta. Down 8-3 in the eighth inning, Bautista cracked a meaningless home run, flipped his bat, and stared down the pitcher. Afterward, the Braves’ Eric O’Flaherty wondered how Bautista could be so cocky “after last year,” referring to the Odor incident. At this point, players don’t take him as seriously, but they hate him just as much. Ditto for everyone except Blue Jays fans, and even they must grit their teeth watching him play right field.