Posted on: April 29th, 2010 by Jen Mueller

Interesting story recently in the Wall Street Journal about the most hated team in Major League Baseball.  Most people would guess the Yankees or Red Sox – but surprisingly enough according to their formula – Cleveland is the most despised team.  It seems a little strange since the Indians have only been to the playoffs twice since 2000. It’s an interesting read, and a great conversation starter.  Why?  Because despite the ‘formula’  there really is no right or wrong answer.  It’s all a matter of opinion and it’s a great way to get a baseball fan talking.  Here’s how the conversation might go..

Did you see the article about the most despised team in baseball?

No, is it the Yankees?

No, according to the Wall Street Journal its Cleveland.

Hmm.  Not what I would have guessed.

What do you think?

That opens the door for a great conversation.  You don’t have to know any specifics about any of the major league teams.  The article gives you an interesting jumping off point.  It’s as easy as that.

Of course it does help to know your audience.   If you mention the article to a soccer fan who doesn’t follow baseball you might end up hearing crickets instead of easy flowing conversation.   It doesn’t take much effort to learn about your audience, listen to what your co-workers talk about, pay attention to what your spouse or significant other watches on tv, or just ask.  A simple “Do you follow baseball?” works just as well.

Why does it matter?  Because ultimately you want to make a positive connection with that person.  Perhaps it’s a work colleague.  It’s much easier working with someone you know and like.  Taking an interest in your co-worker enough to engage in a conversation about his/her favorite sport is a good step in that direction.  With minimal effort on your part, you can establish a better work environment, become more productive at the office, and open the door for better communication between your co-workers.

All because you saw an interesting article.  Trust me, I didn’t become a talking expert by accident.