The familiar smell of hot dogs, the energy and excitement of the ballpark, the summer day full of sunshine – who wouldn’t be happy to spend their afternoon at a baseball game? You see plenty of smiles on the faces of players watching a Major League Baseball (MLB) game, but just like only one team wins the World Series each year, there has to be just one happiest team and position.
We wanted to uncover which teams and positions those were. We took photos of players from ESPN, ran them through Microsoft’s Cognitive Services Emotion API, and ranked the teams and positions based on their appearance to find the happiest of the bunch. These are the ones that give off that vibe that they’re playing for the love of the game.
New York State of Mind
The Bronx Bombers, also known as the New York Yankees, are the happiest team in MLB. Fans love them (they’re America’s favorite team), opposing fans hate them, and networks can’t get enough of them. Those pinstripe-wearing, beardless men radiate positivity. They’ve won 27 World Series Championships, so it makes sense that they’re coming to work with a league-leading level of positivity.
The New York Mets, the Yankees’ crosstown rivals, earn a second place. They’re also the only team from the National League in the top five. Maybe the rest of the National League wishes they had the designated hitter position?
The Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Tigers, take the bat at third and fourth place; both come from the same division, the American League Central. Whatever is in the Midwest’s water supply needs to be shared with the rest of the league!
Pitching Ain’t Easy
Infield players make up the first few places – shortstop, second baseman, first baseman, and catcher – all were in the top five. You have to go to the tail end of the list to find the pitchers.
Starting pitchers ended up just ahead of relief pitchers (these are individuals who, unlike starters, are brought in more regularly and for short periods of play). It’s a lonely place on the mound, throwing a five-ounce ball close to 100 miles an hour while challenging a stream of opposing batters.
The fans love you if you head out of the game winning, but then the fate of your performance and possible worship rests in the hands of an understudy, the relief pitcher. Perhaps how quickly the love and support can fade from fans, players, and coaches makes it difficult for the pitcher population to be happy.
New York is large enough for two MLB teams, and apparently also large enough to accommodate the two happiest squads in the pros. It doesn’t matter what subway line the Yankees or Mets are being forced to take or exactly what borough they’re located in; they’re just happy.
Perhaps if these two teams could concentrate on sending some love to starting and relief pitchers around the league, it could be a happier organization overall. Who wouldn’t want to see that, even if it required the umpires to use Instant Replay?
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