The Texas Rangers start the season today in Kansas City. On Monday, the team will play its home opener at Globe Life Field, the only Major League Baseball stadium opening at 100% capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people have questioned the wisdom of this. But this isn’t about that.
This is about a map that caught my eye this afternoon. Shared by the team at Google Trends, it shows the most-searched MLB team in each county in the United States. This is tallying team names entered in the search engine only between March 18 and 25, and Google searches aren’t necessarily a representation of support. Having said that—kind of cool, right? And there must be some patterns we can detect in the data visualization.
— GoogleTrends (@GoogleTrends) April 1, 2021
At a glance, there’s nothing too surprising to see here. Texas is split about evenly between Google searches for the Astros and the Rangers, although there appears to be a strong Los Angeles Dodgers contingent in El Paso. The Yankees and both Chicago teams make some unexpected appearances in smaller Texas counties (maybe retirees in Port Aransas and South Padre?) and I couldn’t tell you why there’s no team shown for Roberts County, population 929, in the Panhandle. No baseball fans or no Wi-Fi, I would imagine.
Here’s what I really can’t explain, though. Why are the Rangers the most-searched team in Calhoun County, Iowa, and in Blaine County, Montana? These are both sparsely populated places (fewer than 20,000 souls combined), so it wouldn’t take many searches to skew the results. And neither is especially close, geographically speaking, to a major league team to call their own. Montana is all over the map, while most Iowans are drawn to either the Cubs or the Minnesota Twins.
If you’re a Rangers fan in counties Calhoun or Blaine, please hop in the comments and shed some light on this.