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Atlantic article on MLB Broadcaster bias


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Pretty good read, they track the language used to describe the players over a week long span in August 2011.

It isn't racial so much as it is native born/ foreign.

While baseball discussions often reference countable statistics such as home runs, batting average, and strikeouts, they also reference intangible characteristics that cannot be listed on the back of a baseball card. Descriptors such as "scrappy," "hustling," or "plays the game the right way" are bandied about despite the fact there's no way of actually measuring these qualities.

As a general rule, these descriptors tend to fall into three categories: performance-based, effort-based, and character-based.

Performance-based descriptions often take the form of contrasting equivalents?praising a pitcher for being "a pitcher, not a thrower." or being "not just an athlete, but a baseball player."

Effort-based descriptions rely on the old standards of "grit," "hustle," "scrap" and other such synonyms that seem to rely on how much dirt a ballplayer gets on his uniform over the course of a game.

Character-based descriptions ignore the on-field product and instead describe the subject as a person. Announcers frequently like to call ballplayers "professionals" as a compliment. This category also includes praising players for "respecting the game" and being "old school."

I do find it distracting that the information is from 2011 but the teams listed for the players is from 2012.

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I wish they'd tried to look at Asian players too. It says there isn't enough data, but there's always a really obvious angle when you hear broadcasters talk about them -- it isn't about negative vs. positive, but how the praise always uses ethnically loaded terms. "Calm," "poised," "unemotional", etc. It always sounds like they're trying to turn the players into samurai from a Kurosawa movie.

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