July 28, 2010
Honorable Mention: Most Hated Teams
1990 Argentina national soccer
David Cannon/Getty Images

Having won the 1986 World Cup thanks in part to the most dishonorable goal of all time, the Albicelestes weren't exactly the feel-good story of Italy 1990 as they attempted to become the first back-to-back champions since Brazil in 1958 and '62. With twice the pride of the '86 team but a fraction of the attacking ability, Carlos Bilardo's squad played a style of negative, pessimistic soccer that would make the Italians blush. Following a humiliating loss to Cameroon in the opener, an unseen Diego Maradona (pictured, #10) handball against the U.S.S.R. ensured progress from the group stage. For the entirety of the knockout round, the undermanned Argentines put 10 men behind the ball and played for penalties -- surviving wars of attrition with superior opponents Brazil, Yugoslavia and Italy. Only the soccer gods made sure an Argentine side that mustered just five goals in the tournament (with none from Maradona) was beaten 1-0 by West Germany in the final. -- Bryan Armen Graham

2000 New York Yankees
Al Tielemans/SI

Any grudging respect engendered by the dignified excellence of Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Tino Martinez and Joe Torre was sorely frayed in 2000 by the Yankees' fourth trip to the World Series in five years. The presence of glowering hurler Roger Clemens (pictured, right, with Torre) was a disagreeable spice in the dynastic mix, especially when Clemens hurled a chunk of broken bat at Mets catcher Mike Piazza in Game 2 of the World Series. After the game, Clemens offered an answer straight out of The X-Files, saying he did not see Piazza running and threw the bat because he was overflowing with energy. Yes, the Subway Series was not exactly a heartwarming development for New York haters everywhere, a fact reflected by the lowest TV ratings for a Fall Classic. For those folks, the worst possible outcome ensued: The Yankees won their third successive championship, in five games. -- John Rolfe

2002 Ohio State football
Damian Strohmeyer/SI

Fans and media dubbed them "The Luckeyes." In just his second season, coach Jim Tressel led Ohio State to the sport's first 14-0 season and the school's first national championship since 1968 -- but not a lot of folks outside of the Midwest appreciated it. With a conservative style befitting its senatorial coach in his sweater vest, Ohio State's Big Ten games were close and ugly, with scores like 13-7, 14-9 and 10-6. Half its wins came by a touchdown or less. Precocious freshman running back Maurice Clarett (pictured) became a villainous figure even before his criminal activities several years later. Few gave the Buckeyes a chance against defending national champion Miami in the BCS championship game, and even when they did pull off a double-overtime upset, it was marred by controversy. Miami appeared to have won at the end of the first overtime, but an unusually late pass-interference flag by field judge Terry Porter saved the Luck ... er, Buckeyes. Because most of OSU's key players returned the next season, the resentment carried over when the Buckeyes started 10-1 and threatened to return to the title game before losing to Michigan in their regular-season finale. -- Stewart Mandel

2007 Boston Red Sox
Damian Strohmeyer/SI

Three years after they were scruffy and lovable, mounting a historic comeback and breaking an 86-year-old hex, the Red Sox had a $143 million payroll, a pitcher from Japan who demanded $52 million just to negotiate a contract and an overflowing bandwagon of new fans whose definition of "long-suffering" meant two seasons without a World Series. You could pick them out in every ballpark by their flat-brimmed caps and crisp white jerseys, reminiscing about the good old days of Dave Roberts and Kevin Millar. What happened between 2004 and 2007? The Red Sox had enough books written about them to fill a branch of the Boston Public Library. They celebrated themselves more than a Miami Hurricanes receiver. By the time they swept the Rockies in the 2007 World Series, with the chemically enhanced Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz (both pictured) leading the way, the nation was exhausted by Red Sox nation. The Japanese pitcher with the astronomical posting fee, Daisuke Matsuzaka, had a 4.40 ERA. The clubhouse, which once could have passed for a Phi Delt chapter room, felt more like a corner office at Goldman Sachs. The Red Sox won the World Series, sure, but they also became what they hated most: the Yankees. -- Lee Jenkins

Alinghi, the 2003 America's Cup winner

To paraphrase Bob Dylan, money doesn't talk, it sails. Or litigates. The America's Cup, established in 1851 as Friendly Competition Between Nations, had seen its share of wealthy adventurers who left their manners on the dock, but from 2007 to 2010, Swiss pharmaceutical magnate Ernesto Bertarelli, in his fight with software magnate Larry Ellison, outdid them all. The final 2007 Cup race was a wind-shifting, lead-changing, nail-biting tete a tete the Swiss won by one second, a race even non-sailors found good sport, signaling that sailing stood to gain an actual fan base. But Bertarelli spoiled it. Under the century-old Deed of Gift, it was up to him to pick a Challenger for the next race, and he opted for a bogus yacht club, one with no members and no yachts. So began Battling Billionaires Behaving Badly: The Cup entered New York State courtrooms with a bevy of Wall Street lawyers. By the time the boats finally set sail, in February 2010 -- mercifully, Bertarelli lost -- it was estimated that the race had cost about $1 million per minute on the water. -- Nancy Ramsey

1905 New York Giants baseball
Charles Colon/TSN/Icon SMI

"He ate gunpowder every morning and washed it down with warm blood," an umpire once said of John McGraw (pictured), the Giants' firebrand manager. Otherwise known as "the Little Napoleon" and "Mugsy," McGraw was an infamous ump-baiter and ruthless bench jockey who instilled his sandpaper personality in his players. Pirates star Honus Wagner complained that Giants infielders tried to trip him while he legged out a triple. McGraw drew ire by refusing to let the Giants play Boston in the 1904 World Series because he believed the American League was inferior. In 1905, his Giants became the most hated team in baseball as they went 105-48 en route to the Series title, a four games to one pounding of the Philadelphia Athletics and Connie Mack. How hated? They were involved in rock-throwing melees with fans in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (the Giants threw the rocks back), and partisans in Brooklyn made spears from umbrella tips to toss at their outfielders. -- John Rolfe

1993 New York Mets
John Iacono/SI

They were a famously bad baseball team (59-103, 7th in the NL East) with famously bad actors. Most famously, Vince Coleman threw a firecracker from a parked car at Dodgers Stadium that injured a 33-year-old woman, an 11-year-old boy and a 1-year-old girl. Three months earlier, Coleman injured pitcher Dwight Gooden's arm by swinging a golf club in the clubhouse. Then there was outfielder Bobby Bonilla (pictured, left, with Gooden), a miserable cuss who threatened a reporter with the now-historic "I'll show you the Bronx" line. What else? An anti-social and ornery Eddie Murray and Jeff Kent in the starting infield, and the still-stuck-in-a-fraternity Bret Saberhagen, who tossed a firecracker near reporters in the clubhouse at Shea Stadium and later sprayed them with bleach in a water gun. Not even the presence of the classy Willie Randolph could wipe the stench off this malodorous group. -- Richard Deitsch

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