Every sport has at least one team that is universally hated by everyone except the fans of that team. In some ways, this hate makes sense. Mostly, it's illogical. Anyway, here's how I feel about each of those hated teams and why.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
I should probably preface this section with the fact that baseball bores the shit out of me so there is really no team that I give a damn about either way.
New York Yankees
People often refer to the Yankees as The Evil Empire. These people are rarely fans. I rarely refer to the Yankees as The Evil Empire. Of course, I don't ever refer to them as The Awesome Empire, either. This is a team that fails to get me fired up one way or the other. Probably because I don't like baseball. At most I feel slight annoyance during the summer when the coverage of the Yankees-Red Sox series dominates the sports columns.
Boston Red Sox
This is a team that didn't garner much nation-wide hate until recently. In fact, most of the nation was actually rooting for the Red Sox to win the World Series in 2004. Suddenly, the tide reversed and the entire nation got sick of hearing about the Red Sox non-stop. Since then, they have become the second Evil Empire. Regardless, they annoy me in the exact same way the Yankees annoy me.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
New England Patriots
Just like their baseball counterpart the Patriots never earned much hatred until recently. In fact, I almost left them off the list. However, their recent run of Super Bowl Championships has made them the NFL's version of The Evil Empire. Especially since their coach got caught blatantly breaking the rules and not owning up to it. The reason I included the Pats on the list is because there were more people who enjoyed the fact that they lost the Super Bowl than there were people who enjoyed that the Giants won.
I didn't grow up having strong feelings either way about the Patriots. In fact, the Patriots were one of the few teams that the Colts had a consistent shot at beating when the Colts were terrible. Things have changed recently. The Colts became consistent winners at the same time the Patriots did. For the past few years, the Pats and Colts have been the two best teams in the AFC and the Pats usually get the best of the Colts in the duels that matter. That's why I hate the Pats. Until the whole cheating incident, I respected the fact that they seemed to with with effort and class. Now, I'm just disgusted by them.
America's Team. It takes a real arrogant bunch of SOBs to call themselves America's Team. They are from Texas, after all. America's Team is also hated by a lot of America. I never really cared much either way about the Cowboys and didn't know that anyone did until I met my college roommate from Philly. I then began to understand the hatred that people had for the Cowboys. Even though I lived with him for three years, the hatred never really rubbed off on me but it never pushed me to root for them, either. This is another team that fails to rile me up unless they're going head-to-head against the Colts.
NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Los Angeles Lakers
The NBA kinda has me stumped. It doesn't seem like there is one team that really stands out as the team to hate. If the NBA does have an Evil Empire it is probably the Lakers (or the Celtics, see below). Anyway, I'm not a Laker fan. Nor will I ever be.
They've won a ton of championships. That's usually enough to generate a ton of hate. That hate didn't find me. In fact, I kinda like the Celtics. Watching the Celtics reminds me of the days when my dad and I would watch the NBA playoffs and root for our favorite Indiana native, Larry Bird.
Don't get me wrong, I'll always choose the Pacers but I do have a soft spot for the Celtics.
Duke Blue Devils
Man, do people hate these guys. Hate, hate, hate. East coast fans, west coast fans, southern fans, midwestern fans. Everyone. In fact, I've only ever met one person who roots for Duke and he's a graduate. I understand, though I just can't muster up the proper hate. Sure, I get a kick out of it when they bomb out of the NCAA Tournament but I don't actively root for them to lose. If they were in the same conference as the Irish I would be more than happy to reign my hate down upon them, but it's just not worth the effort as it is.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
With the exception of the Yankees this may be the most hated team in America. The Irish are like a political candidate. When the press says something good about them it's because the media has a pro-Notre Dame bias. When the press says something bad about the Irish they take heat for reporting on a team that isn't relevant anymore. You hear the same condemnations about Notre Dame over and over. Notre Dame acts "holier than thou" when they are not. Notre Dame feels a sense of entitlement. Notre Dame gets invited to bowls undeservedly because they are Notre Dame. Charlie Weis is fat.
Or maybe I'm just a little too close to it.
I could try to defend my school. I could offer counter-points to each of those complaints. If I did, I would only be wasting my time because you've already made up your mind about Notre Dame. So have I.