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?
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?