On media hype, and the hyping of media hype

On media hype, and the hyping of media hype

Post by Roger Lust » Tue, 10 Jul 1990 12:23:50


So, media hype makes it harder to hit .400, get 60 homers, or whatever?
I'd like to find out whether that's true.

What IS media hype?  Well, when someone gets some nifty numbers going,
everybody starts talking about it.  Nothing new about that; heck, there
was a hit song about DiMag when the streak got to 46 games or so.  Pete
Rose and Paul Molitor Don't even have candy bars...

Now, we have lots more access to stats, and more interest in them these
days, so the media like to find unusual ones for us.  But does that mean
that the pressure is any greater, and that players who wouldn't normally
wilt, do?

Let's take Lenny Dykstra.  Here's a guy who hit .400 for two months.
Now, to hit .400 for the year, he'd have to REPEAT the incredible feat
of hitting well over 100 points above lifetime average -- twice!!  It's
a six-month season, after all.

Now, what are the odds of that happening?  Even assuming that his
beefing up over the winter turned him into a .320-type hitter (which is
unlikely), .400 for the year, given that he hit barely .400 over two
months, is near impossible!

Even Brett, in 1980, was just around .400 for most of the year; ditto
Carew in his .388 year.  To give them a chance of finishing at .400,
you'd have to see them hitting .430 or so at midyear; after all, you
can't EXPECT numbers as outlandish as that to continue, can you?

So, what I'm saying is this: LOTS of people have hit 30-game streaks, or
.400 on June 1, or Ruth's HR pace for a few months.  Thanks to media
hype, we see it whenever it happens.  But the LACK of media hype in the
past means that we DON'T remember all those guys in the 30's and 40's
who did the same thing, and then faded.  We only remember the successes
from back then.

Finally, what would George Brett have said about the reporters camping
on his lawn, if he HAD wound up hitting .400?   Something like 'I knew
America was behind me all the way' or similar, I'll bet.  Maybe he
wouldn't have used the word 'behind.'


Disclaimer: I thought it was a costume party!

 
 
 

On media hype, and the hyping of media hype

Post by Scott Barm » Wed, 11 Jul 1990 04:49:01

Roger, I'm not sure what you are getting to, but there are many differences
between "then" and "now".

Quote:

>So, media hype makes it harder to hit .400, get 60 homers, or whatever?
>I'd like to find out whether that's true.

>What IS media hype?  Well, when someone gets some nifty numbers going,
>everybody starts talking about it.  Nothing new about that; heck, there
>was a hit song about DiMag when the streak got to 46 games or so.  Pete
>Rose and Paul Molitor Don't even have candy bars...

For one thing, Joe DiMaggio didn't have at least a half dozen (if not
more) cameras in front of his face that will beam his image coast to
coast.  Nor did he have the dozen-or-so microphones from radio either.
Or the numerous newspapers, reporters with tape recorders in hand.  In
the days leading up to Rose breaking Cobb's basehit record, Cincinnati
was reporting issuing the same number of credentials it normally does
for a playoff game!  There is more media because there are more people
to read it and there is more of it!

Quote:
>Now, we have lots more access to stats, and more interest in them these
>days, so the media like to find unusual ones for us.  But does that mean
>that the pressure is any greater, and that players who wouldn't normally
>wilt, do?

Because it is available now and quicker to a wider audience.  Five
minutes after the game ends, there are ten people with deadlines wanting
an interview with the subject.  Too many people, not enough time.  All
the same questions!

Quote:
>So, what I'm saying is this: LOTS of people have hit 30-game streaks, or
>.400 on June 1, or Ruth's HR pace for a few months.  Thanks to media
>hype, we see it whenever it happens.  But the LACK of media hype in the
>past means that we DON'T remember all those guys in the 30's and 40's
>who did the same thing, and then faded.  We only remember the successes
>from back then.

It's not that we remember only the successes... it's all that is
written on them.  There are plenty of records, etc. recorded. But the
stories that survived are only the the real good ones.  Can you tell me
the top hitting streaks of the 1970's?  Like the 30-gamers of the 30s
and 40s, these too have slipped with time.  It's that these other feats
have happened more recently is why you remember them.

The Difference Between Then and Now:
I work in the same building as the general counsel hired by Major League
Baseball in the Steinbrenner affair.  Walking through the lobby last
Thursday, I counted *32* remote cameras and radio packs (for remote
broadcasts).  A Rockerfeller Center guard said that there were over 50
people there waiting for Boss George--there were a lot of print media
people there, too.  In contrast, how many people covered the trail and
other matters concerning the Black Sox?  If you look it up, most of the
stuff written references the Chicago papers.  TV and radio did not exist
then!

Quote:
>Disclaimer: I thought it was a costume party!

Oh, but it is!  :-)

--
scott barman                            NBC Systems Development

{philabs,crdgw1}!nbc1!scott             New York, NY  10112     +1 212/664-2787
  (This does not represent any [un]official opinions of NBC or its affiliates)

 
 
 

On media hype, and the hyping of media hype

Post by Michael Nol » Wed, 11 Jul 1990 12:49:43

Quote:

> So, what I'm saying is this: LOTS of people have hit 30-game streaks, or
> .400 on June 1, or Ruth's HR pace for a few months.

Oh yeah!  What league has this been happening in.  It surely wasn't the
National or the American Leagues!!

The only difference between today's hype and that in the 20's, 30's, 40's,
50's or even 60's is that the media seems to believe that the only thing
there is to do is hype.  But this is a national phenomenon, not just limited
to baseball, or even to sports.  Go back and read the old newspapers during
the Babe's 60 homer season, or Maris's 61 homer season.  Look up the number of
stories on DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak. The hype has always been there,
it's just that now there is little or no substance behind it.  If you don't
believe this, compare today's crop of sports columnists to those of 30 or
40 years ago.  Many of those old columns would be eminently readable today,
probably even still accurate as applied to today's sports.  

Mike Nolan

 
 
 

On media hype, and the hyping of media hype

Post by Roger Lust » Thu, 12 Jul 1990 05:01:53

Quote:

>For one thing, Joe DiMaggio didn't have at least a half dozen (if not
>more) cameras in front of his face that will beam his image coast to
>coast.  Nor did he have the dozen-or-so microphones from radio either.
>Or the numerous newspapers, reporters with tape recorders in hand.  In
>the days leading up to Rose breaking Cobb's basehit record, Cincinnati
>was reporting issuing the same number of credentials it normally does
>for a playoff game!  There is more media because there are more people
>to read it and there is more of it!

You're kidding, right?  Read about DiMag's life sometime.  Try Maury
Allen, or David Halberstam, or perhaps Dom's new book about '41.

Between the fans and the reporters, Joe D had to wait an hour after the
other players had left, and THEN would leave the park by a side exit
in an unmarked car that was parked under the stands.  He had friends
who would protect him when he went out; the hype never let up and
continues to this day.   World events were pushed off the front pages
in the summer of '41; and, yes, there WAS radio, perhps not in the
clubhouse, but it sure made a difference.  And people stayed glued
to the radio every day during the streak.

Quote:
>>Now, we have lots more access to stats, and more interest in them these
>>days, so the media like to find unusual ones for us.  But does that mean
>>that the pressure is any greater, and that players who wouldn't normally
>>wilt, do?
>Because it is available now and quicker to a wider audience.  Five
>minutes after the game ends, there are ten people with deadlines wanting
>an interview with the subject.  Too many people, not enough time.  All
>the same questions!

You're giving a reason for something we don't even know exists! Kindly
show me that people DO wilt faster from these things nowadays.

Quote:
>>So, what I'm saying is this: LOTS of people have hit 30-game streaks, or
>>.400 on June 1, or Ruth's HR pace for a few months.  Thanks to media
>>hype, we see it whenever it happens.  But the LACK of media hype in the
>>past means that we DON'T remember all those guys in the 30's and 40's
>>who did the same thing, and then faded.  We only remember the successes
>>from back then.
>It's not that we remember only the successes... it's all that is
>written on them.  There are plenty of records, etc. recorded. But the
>stories that survived are only the the real good ones.  Can you tell me
>the top hitting streaks of the 1970's?  Like the 30-gamers of the 30s
>and 40s, these too have slipped with time.  It's that these other feats
>have happened more recently is why you remember them.

Meaning what?  Were the streaks back then more/less frequent?  Longer?
Shorter?

Quote:
>The Difference Between Then and Now:
>I work in the same building as the general counsel hired by Major League
>Baseball in the Steinbrenner affair.  Walking through the lobby last
>Thursday, I counted *32* remote cameras and radio packs (for remote
>broadcasts).  A Rockerfeller Center guard said that there were over 50
>people there waiting for Boss George--there were a lot of print media
>people there, too.  In contrast, how many people covered the trail and
>other matters concerning the Black Sox?  If you look it up, most of the
>stuff written references the Chicago papers.  TV and radio did not exist
>then!

OK: demonstrate that media hype, which obviously DOES exist, has an
effect on stats.  That ballplayers SAY it does is pretty irrelevant.

One example: 50-homer seasons.  We've had two since I started watching
the game.  Is media hype to blame?  Or do larger parks, better pitchers,
changed rules, etc. have more to do with it?

Every year, SOMEBODY gets on Ruth's pace for a month or two or three.
Always they fail.  Media's fault?  Or the fact the EVERYBODY has
failed, with one exception?  (And there was plenty media hype in '61,
too.)   Getting on a pace for half a season means nothing; to have a
reasonable chance to achieve the goal, one must be far AHEAD of the
pace, for one cannot expect to continue playing over one's head,
and even Babe Ruth failed to hit 60 homers all but one time.

Media hype is there.  But I'm not convinced as to its effect.


Disclaimer: I thought it was a costume party!

 
 
 

On media hype, and the hyping of media hype

Post by Roger Lust » Fri, 13 Jul 1990 05:23:26

Quote:


>> So, what I'm saying is this: LOTS of people have hit 30-game streaks, or
>> .400 on June 1, or Ruth's HR pace for a few months.
>Oh yeah!  What league has this been happening in.  It surely wasn't the
>National or the American Leagues!!

Well, Cecil Fielder is near Ruth's pace right now, esp. if
you look at Ruth's actual pace -- he hit 15 in Sept.  Mitchell looked
good for a while there last year, and back in '87 there were several,
as I recall.

Perhaps you misread me; I was referring to the last decade or two, not
this year.  I said:

lots of people have hit 30-game streaks,

not

lots of people have 30-game hit streaks.

Quote:
>The only difference between today's hype and that in the 20's, 30's, 40's,
>50's or even 60's is that the media seems to believe that the only thing
>there is to do is hype.  But this is a national phenomenon, not just limited
>to baseball, or even to sports.

Huh?  Baseball coverage is a LOT more fact based than it used to be;
the old columnists and reporters were far more biased than anything you
read today.  We get more sensible stats, albeit to the point of nausea;
and we get coverage of the whole league.  People like Buddy Myer and
Harlond Clift are forgotten because the writers from the big cities
hardly ever saw them, and rarely saw them on a winning side.

Quote:
>Go back and read the old newspapers during
>the Babe's 60 homer season, or Maris's 61 homer season.  Look up the number of
>stories on DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak. The hype has always been there,
>it's just that now there is little or no substance behind it.  If you don't
>believe this, compare today's crop of sports columnists to those of 30 or
>40 years ago.  Many of those old columns would be eminently readable today,
>probably even still accurate as applied to today's sports.

Again: we remember only the best.  There was a lot of drivel back then,
even from respected names like Dan Daniel and the guy in Boston who had
it in for Williams.  Nowadays we have Roger Angell, Tom Boswell, Peter
Gammons, Tracy Ringolsby (well, OK, maybe not him) and TV people like
McCarver and radio voices like Jack Buck.

And because we DO have the numbers, it keeps the better writers
very honest.


Disclaimer: I thought it was a costume party!

 
 
 

On media hype, and the hyping of media hype

Post by Scott Barm » Mon, 16 Jul 1990 15:08:20

Quote:


>You're kidding, right?  Read about DiMag's life sometime.  Try Maury
>Allen, or David Halberstam, or perhaps Dom's new book about '41.

Gee... if I only had the interview DiMaggio did with Gregg Gumbal a
couple of years ago, I clearly remember DiMaggio say that as bad as the
media and fans were, that it was worse today and would *probably* be a
bigger distraction.

Quote:
>>>Now, we have lots more access to stats, and more interest in them these
>>>days, so the media like to find unusual ones for us.  But does that mean
>>>that the pressure is any greater, and that players who wouldn't normally
>>>wilt, do?

>>Because it is available now and quicker to a wider audience.  Five
>>minutes after the game ends, there are ten people with deadlines wanting
>>an interview with the subject.  Too many people, not enough time.  All
>>the same questions!

>You're giving a reason for something we don't even know exists! Kindly
>show me that people DO wilt faster from these things nowadays.

Oh it doesn't?  How many times have you heard the after-the-game
interview where the reporter asks some question like "did you know that
was the third time you homered in the eighth inning with two on and the
team down by two?" and watched the player stammer through an answer?
Translate that into your work and tell me how many times that messed
with your mind for at least an hour!

Quote:
>>It's not that we remember only the successes... it's all that is
>>written on them.  There are plenty of records, etc. recorded. But the
>>stories that survived are only the the real good ones.  Can you tell me
>>the top hitting streaks of the 1970's?  Like the 30-gamers of the 30s
>>and 40s, these too have slipped with time.  It's that these other feats
>>have happened more recently is why you remember them.

>Meaning what?  Were the streaks back then more/less frequent?  Longer?
>Shorter?

It means we remember only the successes because they were written in
"the history."  It means we don't know about other streaks, etc. because
there were not recorded, or if they were, their significance has slipped
with time.

Quote:
>One example: 50-homer seasons.  We've had two since I started watching
>the game.  Is media hype to blame?  Or do larger parks, better pitchers,
>changed rules, etc. have more to do with it?

And how many 50-homer seasons were there before you started watching and
what is to be credited for that?

Quote:
>Media hype is there.  But I'm not convinced as to its effect.

I NEVER said it was the only effect but I believe it has more of an
effect than you are convinced of.

--
scott barman                            NBC Systems Development

{philabs,crdgw1}!nbc1!scott             New York, NY  10112     +1 212/664-2787
  (This does not represent any [un]official opinions of NBC or its affiliates)