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?