For Pete's Sake

Study: Royals fans are less happy now than before season started

Fans tred to catch a foul ball off the bat of Kansas City Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales during a game this season.
Fans tred to catch a foul ball off the bat of Kansas City Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales during a game this season. The Kansas City Star

The Royals hold a commanding lead in the American League Central. They have the inside track to homefield advantage through the playoffs. A 100-win season is a possibility.

But are Royals fans actually not as happy as they were before the season began?

Yes, according to a study by Rob Arthur of fivethirtyeight.com.

In his analysis, Arthur looked at fan comments on Reddit.com from February to August.

“I scraped comments from each team’s subreddit on the website and determined how happy their comments were,” Arthur wrote. “To do that I used sentiment analysis, collecting the words used by each fan base to determine their overall level of joy. More positive words (“win,” “wow,” “wonderful”) point to a happier fan base, and more negative words (“unimpressed,” “miserable,” “wrong”) suggest the opposite.”

As you can see, fans of most teams become less happy once the season starts (the notable exception is the Cubs). But Arthur made special mention of the Royals.

“The Royals have gained the most playoff probability of any team since the preseason, but they lost the fourth-most happiness from the offseason to July,” Arthur wrote. “There are any number of potential reasons for the relative grumpiness of Royals fans, but one may be that fans were more optimistic about the Royals than the projection systems. While contention in Kansas City may seem surprising to sabermetricians, it may not to Royals fans who were riding high off a World Series appearance.”

Arthur also made his statistics available:

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @pgrathoff.

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