Head in a Word Cloud.
Perhaps you have run into "word clouds," a visual device that represents how frequently different words appear in a text. As a historian I love it, as I can do fun things like compare Obama's 2008 Democratic National Convention nomination acceptance speech with McCain's from the Republican National Convention.
That's useful stuff. I can show word clouds like those to my students, and ask them what the clouds do (and do not) reveal.
But who cares about utility. Let's use some word clouds to navel-gaze, and check out our favorite baseball-related websites.
What does this tell us about ourselves? Eh, on the one hand, perhaps not much more than a bit of fun navel gazing. It does look like it's spring training, though. The most prominent names I see are Micah Hoffpauir, Darwin Barney, Joey Gathright and Marshall. And it looks like we're a permissive group, we like the word "allowing." I have no idea why.
However, comparing our cloud with that from Carrie Muskat's feed shows some interesting differences
"Cubs" is even more prominent for Muskat than it is for us. Perhaps not surprising, as selling the team is part of her job description. But look at that Giant Blue Sutcliffe! Muskat's readership likely is A. more interested in name-brand Cubs (and ex-Cubs) and B. more interested in human interest stories. Those differences show up elsewhere in the word cloud: check out how much more prominent Milton Bradley and his quadriceps are. LouPa features prominently, as do other marque names like Aramis and Harden. Forgive me for noticing, and remarking on, the prominence of "Carrie."
If you're really in to self-mutilation, there's Phil Rogers' RSS feed.
It doesn't look like Rogers actually talks much about baseball. Appropriate.
I should credit Rogers, though, as there isn't a larger Tribune Cubs News feed. Paul Sullivan also doesn't seem to have any sort of news feed. So instead, I cut and pasted the text of four of his "mailbag" columns into wordle, and got this. (Wordle will randomly pair different fonts and color schemes and word layout, if you don't specify any. This layout struck me as quite pretty, so I left it as is.)
I dare you to guess, from this word cloud, what the title is of Paul Sullivan's column.
Both the Sun-Times and the Daily Herald offer Cubs RSS feeds. Here's the Sun-Times' feed.
Compare that to the Daily Herald's feed.
The Sun Times appears to care far more about Milton Bradley. The Herald, the Cubs.
How does TCR compare to Bleed Cubbie Blue? Here's their word cloud.
I'm not interested in any BCB/TCR rivalry: It's a big enough fan-base to support both of us. But there are interesting differences. BCB's word cloud includes a lot more, well, internet-y words like "post" and "comment" and "link". TCR's wordle word cloud more closely resembles "traditional" news media with a higher preponderance of player names and baseball-event sort of words.
Like many of you, I read Fan Graphs religiously. Here's the word cloud on their feed.
Look much like a sabrmetric site?
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.