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    Archive for the 'Social Networking' Category

    Sabermetrics, TV, And Not Using Too Much Of A New Color In Your Painting

    17th August 2016


    Sabermetrics is good. Thinking that programming fully centered on them as something that will reach the masses on television is not so good.

    More than once on radio or television, I’ve been asked about sabermetrics, the advanced statistical analysis in sports, most commonly associated with baseball. I’d also say I’m a firm believer in information. That you can’t have enough of it, and that the value of it in sports should never be discounted.

    This would make sense, coming from me. I was approached early on to write about the business side of baseball from internet outlets that were steeped in reaching out to those that saw not only value in the numbers game in baseball, but for some that were repeat visitors to the sites, sabermetrics verged somewhere on par with religion. Whether that was The Hardball Times, Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, or to a lesser extent Baseball America, looking at new statistics to better understand baseball was, unlike the mainstream sports media, not frowned upon.

    While I was part of this culture and never looked down my nose at it, my interests and what I covered were not known for being big sabermetrics hot beds. There absolutely were economists that centered on sports, but they were mostly in academia. You knew of Roger Noll, or Rodney Fort, but it was really only Andrew Zimbalist that seemed to move the needle in the baseball fan culture.

    That changed some with the late, great Doug Pappas. Doug most well-known metric creation was Marginal Payroll/Marginal Wins to show efficiency and effectivity of how clubs were spending on player talent. Still, myself or Neil deMause would touch on this in later years, with Neil doing adjustments to Doug’s formulas, but the honest to goodness truth was—and still is—business of baseball writers exploring advanced metrics have always been the musical version of the backing band to the rock stars that delved into looking at the players themselves. After all, people don’t go to the ballpark to watch how payrolls are constructed. They go to see the players and the teams they support.

    But that didn’t mean that those that look at the business of sports don’t have some value in this discussion. And it’s here that my spending far too much time looking at how the workings of MLB front offices, and the networks that air games, has led me to want to get to the heart of this article.

    Today, I ran a piece for Forbes called MLB Network’s ‘MLB Now’ Call Of Pirates At Giants Game Shows The Sabermetrics Battle Has Been Won. In it I described how the unique call of the game done by host Brian Kenny, my former BP colleague and now CBS Sports media member Jonah Keri, MLB.com’s Mike Petriello, and Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz would be using the Giants’ local feed of the game with Kenny providing his own play-by-play of the game while incorporating the multiple perspectives on the desk and live info provided by MLB.com’s powerful Statcast technology.

    Social media (as social media is wont to do), had some things to say about this idea. That because there was one game being shown with some sabermetric guys on a panel, did not mean that we’d be seeing something akin to PHD level physics dressed up as a baseball broadcast anytime soon. Maybe the best comments came from FOX Sports’ CJ Nitkowski:

    What CJ is alluding to is something more about how television has approached sabermetrics. Producers have seen that there’s this community of people that dig the numbers side of baseball, and have thrown programming weighted almost entirely around this. “If you dig numbers in baseball, we’re going to talk advance metrics like you’ve never seen before!” or something to that effect.

    The problem here is, while you’ll get some interested, for the most part CJ is right: it’s just not going to ever reach the masses, and in television, masses are what count.

    I don’t hang this on sabermetrics. I hang it on well-meaning producers trying to paint with one color.

    The analogy is this: there’s this new color that few have seen, but there’s a group of people out there that think it should be used more often as the establishment has largely ignored it. So, someone says, “Hey, we have a market for this new color, so let’s use lots of it. Let’s use it pretty much exclusively and we’ll reach this new audience.” Well, you know how that turns out. You get too much of one color. Yes, you’re reaching an audience, but the audience wouldn’t be nearly as large as using that new color evenly along with all the other colors in your palette to paint your picture.

    So, what CJ is saying is correct, but what I truly believe is that you don’t need to overwhelm programming with sabermetrics. It only has value within context of everything else that is out there. So, maybe you start by putting a player’s WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in the graphics for players when they step in the box or take the mound alongside the more traditional stats. Maybe you make the whiz-bang aspects of Statcast something highlighted often around replays of dazzling catches or routes around the base paths (in reality, this is already being done incrementally).

    And maybe that’s the biggest thing to focus on. That as more fans—especially younger ones—are exposed to advanced analytics, the audience grows incrementally. That what is declared “advanced analytics” now simply grows into ‘baseball stats” in the future like we look at batting average, or earned run average now. The new stats simply grow into commonplace due to exposure.

    None of this is to say that what is going on prior with Jabocast, or Clubhouse Confidential, or currently with MLB Now is bad. What those programs are are highly targeted to the sabermetrics community.

    So, when I say that “the sabermetrics battle has been won” it’s a reflection that it’s now embraced by the league and front offices, and that it’s now part of a larger culture. Is it going to overwhelm what we see as part of television and mainstream media? No. Is it going to slowly but surely become more common in both? Absolutely. It’s a new color that the average fan deserves to see.

    Posted in Baseball Insight, Broadcasting, Social Networking | Comments Off on Sabermetrics, TV, And Not Using Too Much Of A New Color In Your Painting

    I Robot? Should Media Members Have a Personality on Twitter?

    24th June 2011

    You want to write these days? Blogging ain’t enough. Jump on the social media train, as it’s left the station. Twitter in. Blogging out.

    But, if Twitter is “in” then that begs the question: Are reporters, authors, columnists allowed to be “social” on a social network?

    Or, more correctly, am I allowed to have personality?

    It’s a thorny question. Write for ESPN or other mega-outlets, then there are social network policies. Some writers aren’t forced into policy, but the mandate from publishers are pretty clear: talk your articles up. “Promote your outlet. Keep other aspects of your life out of the social network space. It’s dangerous to us.”

    Those that follow also have an interest in whether you talk about everything from your morning cup of Joe to what’s playing on your iPod. Some have come for the information you provide. “I want your information and personally, I don’t want to wade through the chaff. Keep your life separate.”

    I get this, kind of. Twitter is a tool for many to get information. On the other hand, some Twitter’s greatest aspects are that a) by definition it’s social, and; b) it gives authors a chance to show their something besides a breathing RSS machine – a robot there to dispense news.

    It’s happened to me. I was politely asked (see below), and to that end, it provided the opportunity to ask some of the over 7,000 followers I have: “Should I keep sports biz and personal commentary in separate Twitter accounts?”

    @ Enjoyed the sports info but a lot of other tweets that didn't interest me. Suggest seperate BizOfSports acct + personal acct.
    Pony Tellagroni

    The overwhelming response was to keep it a mix. For some strange reason, people want to know what I think of music, news on autism, and other nonsense. More than one said it was refreshing and added personality. Hitting close to home, Kevin Goldstein understood something else:

    @ That would be a bad business decision to separate them.
    Kevin Goldstein

    If there’s something lacking, it’s personality from some of those reporting sports on Twitter. This maybe due to company policy. It may also be that there are some that view Twitter as nothing more than a vehicle to pimp their stories. Or, it may be that they’ve built a following to the stage where the need to show some color is deemed unneeded. Whatever the case, I hope fans get to know the writers. Some are as compelling as those they cover in the media.

    I always am astounded that there’s more than zero following me. I just don’t seem to me to be compelling. To all those that do follow, thanks for coming along for the ride. For now, take a dose of sports biz, and… get a dose of whatever else is going on in my little world.


    Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network. He is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney and Variety. He has freelanced for the New York Times, MSNBC, Baseball America, NBCSports.com, and Yahoo! Sports. His contact info is here.


    Posted in Social Networking | 1 Comment »

    Roger Clemens Should Have Listened to Momma

    10th November 2009

    If Twitter has done one thing, it’s taken a few bricks out of the wall between high profile public figures, the media, and their fans or detractors. For members of the media – alternative or mainstream – it’s another tool of the trade.

    It also is a delicate dance.

    How many stories have we read about athletes getting fined or being asked to please step away from the keyboard when it comes to Twitter? When you’re unfiltered, you can do harm, or good.

    So, it was of interest to many when 11-time All-Star and 7-time Cy Young winner, Roger Clemens showed up on Twitter. Clemens, also is embroiled in a legal battle regarding alleged steroid use from his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee. Clemens was mentioned 82 times in the Mitchell Report via McNamee’s testimony (see The Biz of Baseball’s archive on the Mitchell Report).

    Of a more serious nature, The Rocket may have lied before Congress regarding when he said he never used PEDs, especially after Andy Pettitte’s affidavit.

    Reading Clemens on Twitter is a softball affair. But, sometimes Clemens throws something out there that can relate to his current legal dilemma.

    Clemens was asked, “What is the best advice that you ever got?” Here’s the answer:

    Well…a down right to the point one came from my mother- “Never get in a pissin’ contest with a skunk” Mine would be “love and work hard at what you do” and Give time to others. Understand sometimes you will fail, pick yourself up and go at it again! One that always hit home and says it all came from our grandmother…”if your a ditch digger, be the best ditch digger you can be!”

    OK, ignore the misspellings (I now have a better understanding of his use of “misremembered” now)…  thinking of how Clemens might view McNamee, I saw what mother said, and latched onto it.

    “I think you should have listened to mom. Certainly, not listened to Rusty. Get in front of it, like the others.”

    “Getting in front of it” is a reference to the likes of Pettitte and Jason Giambi who realized that if they admitted – even vaguely – to using PEDs, the public (and more importantly, Congress) will get off your back and eventually move on. Look at Pettitte. His hGH use was barely mentioned during the World Series.

    Roger’s reply?

    Trying to decipher Clemenspeak, the reference to “how do you prove a negative” appears to be a reference to McNamee. As for “wallet chaser”… well, I guess we know how he feels about Rusty Hardin these days.

    Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown’s full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

    Follow Maury Brown on Twitter

    Follow SPORTS BASH on Twitter

    Posted in Baseball Insight, PEDs, Social Networking | Comments Off on Roger Clemens Should Have Listened to Momma

    You Twit: NBA Players Make MLB Look Anti-Social

    4th November 2009

    Twitter can be both good and bad for businesses, and sports is no different. Athletes having an unfiltered line to millions of fans, media, and yes, their respective clubs, can have unexpected consequences.

    But, Twitter is here to stay, and is being embraced in a big way by athletes from all leagues… just some more than others.

    Case in point, MLB vs. NBA players. Below is a definitive list of verified MLB players, courtesy of the @MLB blog:

    Player Twitter Account Club
    Jeremy Affeldt @JeremyAffeldt Giants
    Coco Crisp @coco_crisp Royals
    Carlos Delgado @carlosdelgado21 Mets
    Chad Durbin @ShowcaseU Phillies
    Curtis Granderson @detroit_tigers Tigers
    Jason Grilli @GrillCheese49 TBD
    Blake Hawksworth @BlakeHawksworth Cardinals
    Dirk Hayhurst @TheGarfoose Blue Jays
    Orlando Hudson @orlandohudson Dodgers
    Matt Kemp @mattkemp27 Dodgers
    Matt LaPorta @Gator4God Indians
    Seth McClung @73_MC Brewers
    Jamie Moyer @moyerfoundation Phillies
    Joe Nathan @JoeNathan36 Twins
    David Ortiz @davidortiz Red Sox
    Roy Oswalt @royoswalt44net Astros
    Ryan Rowland-Smith @hyphen18 Mariners
    CC Sabathia @cc_sabathia Yankees
    Joakim Soria @joakimsoria Royals
    Nick Swisher @nickswisher Yankees
    Mark Teahen @ESPY_TEAHEN Royals
    Rich Thompson @chopper63 Angels
    Todd Wellemeyer @todalion Cardinals
    C.J. Wilson @str8edgeracer Rangers

    Also, the Reds’ Chris Dickerson co-founded @weplaygreen.

    Conversely, the NBA has so many players using the micro-blogging, social network site that a comprehensive study has been released of 130 players on Twitter by Sysomos.

    Key notes of the massive study:

    • The most popular NBA players (having the most followers on Twitter) are the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Shaquille O’Neal, followed by the Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce and the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard
    • The most active NBA players (having the most NBA friends) is the Phoenix Suns’ Jason Richardson, followed by the Milwaukee Bucks’ Andrew Bogut and the San Antonio Spurs’ Roger Mason Jr.
    • The most active NBA player on Twitter (average number of tweets per day) is the Boston Celtics’ Marquis Daniels, followed by the Toronto Raptors’ Reggie Evans and the Washington Wizards’ Fabricio Oberto
    • The most “dense” team (players following their teammates) is the Philadelphia 76ers
    • The most “NBA social” team (players following players on other teams) is the Detroit Pistons
    • The most popular team on NBA (having the most NBA followers from other teams) is the Cleveland Cavaliers
    • The most “Twitter social” team (players following the most people on Twitter) is the Chicago Bulls
    • The most popular team on Twitter (in terms of its players being followed by the most people on Twitter) is Cleveland Cavaliers, not surprising given the Cavs’ players include superstars LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal

    Select the image below to see how NBA players on Twitter connect:

    So, MLB, you may have us enthralled this 2009 World Series, but when it comes to being social on Twitter, well… you’re small fry compared to the NBA

    Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown’s full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

    Follow Maury Brown on Twitter Twitter

    Posted in Baseball Insight, Social Networking | Comments Off on You Twit: NBA Players Make MLB Look Anti-Social