Above is an infographic from Craig Robinson's indispensable Flip Flop Fly Ball, showing the lonely position of Turner, Mont. Turner is nearly equidistant from Seattle and Denver, but at 647 miles from Safeco Field, Robinson awards it the title of American Town Farthest From A Major League Team.
This month, the map was featured on A Sports Nation Divided, a blog that looks at sports from a geographic point of view. Robinson's graphic was the map of the week, in a post titled "The Saddest City In America." The author, Reuben Fischer-Baum, took some low blows at Turner, poking fun at its 14-student high school, the "Big Flat Community Grain Bin," and closed by noting that "Turner is actually more depressing than I thought it would be when I started writing this." Not mean spirited, but the kind of jokes you make about a tiny town that may as well not exist beyond a geographical quirk of MLB.
But Turner is a real place, and its residents are very real. Within hours of the post going live, the residents of Turner (2010 Census population: 192) began flooding the comment section, defending the honor of their town. A few examples:
You can kiss our country ass. You have no freakin' idea about our community, and the people who are born and raised here. I suggest that you keep your thoughts to yourself about shit you have no idea about. You should feel shame for your words and your thoughts. Also, you better hope to God you don't show up in this little community, because you'll wish you had never come. We could careless about pro-sports, because truly, what morals and values do they teach our young age? Think about it. Next time you sit down to eat a meal, you better say a little prayer and thank the small towns like Turner. We may be small, but we are mighty. We have morals, values, and work ethic. Now as you sit in your office chair overlooking the skyline of smog, high rise buildings, and traffic–think again how "depressing" our community is.
Having grown up in Turner I can tell you that we were raised with enough manners to not disrespect a place we've never been or people we've never met. To think that you can judge a town after looking at a website for 30 seconds is pathetic. Try to show a little more class next time you write an article.
Apparently, you have never attended a New Year's Eve party, wedding, or better yet, medical benefit for a community member in Turner, MT. The "14″ High School kids are raised with values and morals, unlike most kids today whose parents spend all their time attending professional baseball games. Instead of our childrens' parents worrying about the closest professional sport's stadium to attend, they spend their time attending their own children's events such as basketball, rodeo, 4-H, and church. I don't think you should be judging the ‘sadness' of the small town Turner, instead you should be judging the sadness of your ‘small' knowledge of America. We still welcome our neighbors with unlocked doors, pray together at the dinner table, and our major league baseball team practices every Wednesday night on the local field during the summer months, ages 2-80! Can you match that?
Sorry you are depressed….something we know little about.
Some days our small town of turner might be sad. Sad because someones mother, father, daughter or son passed away. then the town of Turner and everyone around for about 40 miles is sad, but to to sad about some stupid major baseball….. I DONT THINK SO. our town just like every other small town usa has heart:). today i am sad because i know theres one more idiot out there that loves to judge and forgets to judge himself…….
What's depressing about being the farthest town in the US from a place where MLB is played?
Think about it. Pro baseball is a sport where two teams, each composed of nine whiny, drug-abusing millionaires compete in front of a bunch of empty seats. Who would want to be close to that?
I don't live in Turner but I don't live too far from it. Trust me. Having a considerable distance between oneself and what passes for civilization isn't a bad thing.
Maybe you shouldn't judge Turner until you have been there. Have you been there??? I'm sure not other wise you would have a different opinion of it…Maybe you should do some research on when "apparently" their car show or any other event they host is happening and actually come see for yourself. As for I,(and I live on the hi-line but not in Turner) am glad we live the farthest form any major league team! On second thought don't come to Turner, we don't need people "like you" around!
Dude, I dare ya and invite you to come to see how awesome our little community really is! In July, we'll show you how happy we really are at our Centennial Celebration!!!
Fischer-Baum reached out to a few of the angry commenters, and earlier this week posted a follow-up in which we all learned a little bit more about Turner, and friendship, and ourselves. Well, everyone except Heather at the Chamber of Commerce:
I am sorry, I am not going to accept your apology. I am in the field of media as well and I am absolutely disturbed by people like you who do not take constructive journalism seriously. It is EXACTLY what is wrong with this entire country.
See you at the Centennial Celebration.