Now I’m about to make a broad assumption here, but I think it rings true in this situation. Most anime fans do not like sports. They do not watch professional sports on television, or play in organized sports with friends and family. This is perhaps the reasoning behind why most anime fans do not like sports anime; but I believe it is just the tip of the iceberg.
I personally am not a fan of any real life sport, and I certainly do not participate in them, yet I love sports anime. In some cases, the sport is not even important, similar to ninja’s in Naruto, or pirates in One Piece. If you removed ninja’s from Naruto and put something else in its place would it be the same story? Most likely. I feel sports anime are the same way, especially for the ones that are over-the-top and unrealistic, like Eyeshield 21 and Prince of Tennis. For beginners, I recommend starting with one of those series if you are interested.
What I’m trying to preach here is to give sports anime a chance, and don’t throw away just because you either hate sports, or have a bad history with sports because the football team covered you in honey and threw handfuls of army ants at you. (It didn’t happen to me, I swear!) Give sports a chance!