If you’re a New England sports fan, there are certain rules:
In basketball, detest the Lakers above all others. Also, cheer against Philadelphia, because they’re the only other team to pose a significant threat to the Celtics in the 80s and there was that whole Wilt Chamberlain thing as well. It’s also good to hate any team that features a player who’s been called “better than Larry Bird,” but only while that player is active. No point hating the Chicago Bulls at this point, for example.
In baseball, the Yankees are the spawn of Satan. Everything else is inconsequential, although you must always root against the Mets in retribution for 1986. If the Yankees and the Mets meet in the World Series, then you must explain that baseball is a shadow of its former self.
In football, mostly hate other AFC East teams. Miami and the Jets are the prime targets. Also, hate the Oakland Raiders, because there was some sort of disputed call a century or so ago and the Raiders won the game as a result. Any disputed calls in Raiders/Patriots games that go for the Patriots are merely karma. Karma should continue pounding the Raiders forever.
In hockey, it’s really only worth hating the Original Eight. Any other team is basically an expansion team and beneath your notice. This attitude may explain why the Bruins haven’t gotten very deep into the playoffs for a while. Hate Montreal in particular, because they don’t speak English, the freaks. Don’t bother hating Hartford anymore. It was wrong of them to invade New England, but they have since moved and you’ve forgotten what their new name is.
When trying to figure out who to hate in a playoff game that doesn’t involve a New England team, the above rules take precedence. Also, hate any team from LA on general principles. General principles involve the Lakers, whose miasma of evil infects all teams in the vicinity. Besides, LA thinks it’s such a great city. (Note that this is an additional reason to hate the Raiders — they went to LA on purpose. How dorky.)
The same sort of thing goes for New York teams, which are all infected by the Yankees. And New York thinks it’s a great city too. What do they know? It’s hard to say which city should be more hated. If the Knicks play the Lakers, cheer for the Knicks. If the Yankees play the Angels, cheer for the Angels.
Come to think of it, any city which thinks it has an edge on Boston needs some stern boos, unless it’s a cute little city, in which case treat it like your adored pet terrier. Nobody would ever mistake any city in Texas for a great city, for example, so it’s just cute when the Mavericks do well. But Chicago, there’s a city that gets too big for its britches.
This guide has been brought to you by the Major League Soccer championship game, in which (on my TiVo) the New England Revolution and the LA Galaxy are tied 0-0 with ten minutes to go in regulation. The announcers have made approximately fifty comments to the effect that the Galaxy are glamorous and the Revolution has a blue collar team-oriented approach. This is, I believe, obligatory any time you have an LA team and a New England team playing.