Posts Tagged ‘baseball’

WHY HELLO THAR BASEBALL! I MISSED YOU!

April 9th, 2009

Baseball season started this week.  For me, it started yesterday with the first game of the season that I attended.  I saw the White Sox play the Kansas City Royals at US Cellular Field with a friend.  The game surprisingly didn’t have that many people.  I thought after last year’s performance, they would have sold more seats.   That and my efforts to get tickets to Cubs games have been loads of no fun because so few seats are available.  In order to save some money  ($4 a bottle of water, $4 for a funnel cake, $3.25 for a large hot chocolate that is a small at McDonalds, etc) and resist the urge to eat my way through the game, my friend and I went out to eat in China Town before the game.  This was a very smart decision.  I could appreciate the baseball game food with out spending huge amounts on food and feeling totally icky and disgusting afterward. I was sitting on the lower level so I didn’t have that fear of falling that I have because of how awful the upperdeck is at The Cell. (It seems like it is almost an attempt at deterring the poor people sitting up there from getting truly rowdy by making them scared of exactly that so as to limit their alcohol consumption, lest they lose their balance and fall off. Except White Sox fans in that deck drink possibly more than people on the bottom.)


The above paragraph sounds like I didn’t have fun, but I did! I did! (I’m just more Cubs fan than Sox fan.) I love baseball. I love going to games. Going to a game is unlike any other fan experience I have as part of say media fandom. With sporting events, I feel like I’m part of a community. I’m sitting there with a few thousand other fans. You can yell at the players, scream at the coach, mock the umpire, boo with everyone else. It is very much a communal thing. You’re very passionate in the moment but you can let it go when you leave. Everyone around you can get your angst regarding what is taking place on the field. When the team wins, there is collective joy and ownership. When the game is done, you can come back again and relive it. The cycle can go on and on. I love that after the game, while I’m walking around Union Station, people will randomly talk to me about the White Sox because I’m wearing a White Sox jersey. With television and movies, so much of the experience is so much more internalized. It is a solitary viewing experience or limited to a small group. Yes, you can find communities for it to discuss a show but you aren’t sharing that experience when you watch with several thousand people and after the movie ends, random people aren’t going to ask you about it.

I love baseball. I missed baseball. It just feels like a way of connecting to a larger community that can be hard to find in our society at the moment. I love it. I can’t wait to see more games this season.

Women don’t write fandom history?

January 18th, 2009

Fan History’s sports section is pretty awful. Really awful. It is downright pitiful. And that’s really sad as I’m a huge sports nut and I know my Chicago Cubs sports fandom history fairly well. I and Fan History’s other admins have just not invested time in improving it because really, sometimes, why bother?

Sports fandom has traditionally been dominated by guys and they’ve done a lot to document the history of fans. Heck, there is a whole cottage history dedicated to documenting the thuggery that goes down in soccer (football) fandom. This academic work has traditionally been done by guys. It is really well done.

Media fandom has traditionally been dominated by women and they haven’t done much to document the history of fans. There have been a few things done here and there but most of the research focuses on the product itself. If fans are looked at, it is from perspective of how they interact with the product rather than how fans interact with each other. It is totally different from sports fandom. So women aren’t writing fandom history and aren’t writing the history of their own communities.

Of course, this could be something that isn’t a gender issue. It could be a product issue. In sports fandom that tends to be historically dominated by guys, the product and fans aren’t really separate; they share an identity. You can’t really talk about the Chicago Cubs with out talking about its fans. (And if you’re a Sox fan talking about the Cubs, you can’t do it with out slagging on us.) Sports owners encourage that and really crank out the merchandise so fans can brand themselves as fans of a team. Our culture totally supports that by having “Support your team dress day!” type days at work. My local Jewel does that when the Green Bay Packers play the Chicago Bears and employees are encouraged to support their team. Sports fandom also continues on and on. Teams generally don’t collapse/disappear over night and many have histories that are 20+ years old. They have a product you can get behind and have the time to get behind as the background for your life.

Media fandom is different. The producers frequently don’t encourage that sort of relationship with the source. In a number of cases, they treated their most loyal fans as thieves or belittled them, telling them to get a life. When we think of Harry Potter and Twilight, most people outside of fandom don’t immediately think of the canon as batshit insane because the fans are batshit are insane. Most fans aren’t flaunting their relationship with the show in a way that a whole town could relate to and have special dress days for. Media fandom’s products also lack the time lasting factor. When Sex and the City went off the air, women picked a different show to watch or found another way to identify.

So women generally aren’t writing fandom history. There are a few notable exceptions. Fan History is one but our major contributors early on came from spaces dominated by guys or from educational backgrounds where the approach more systematic, quantitative, regimented. Some of the other exceptions came out of competition with other women.

Will this pattern radically change ever? Probably not. Women might write sports fandom history (And they do. Some have found walls that their sisters in media fandom haven’t encountered because of their gender.)  but they will probably remain in the minority for a long time. Women are so closely identified with media fandom and the source code has those identity issues that I see it as a huge barrier to overcome, and that won’t ever be overcome in terms of similar participation by men in sports fandom history documenting.

How many fandoms are represented on Fan History?

January 18th, 2009

About a week ago, I was asked by some one how many fandoms were represented on Fan History and I had problems coming up with a number. Why? Because Fan History is a work in progress. For some fandoms, we have articles but they aren’t found in a category that makes them easily countable. Some articles don’t have categories because we just have one article in that subcategory so we don’t bother. Some of our articles were created by bots. While we’ve been hard at work trying to make categories, subcategories and build the framework for them, we’re talking over 5,000 categories and that takes a lot of work.

So that aside, let’s try to get a picture of how many fandoms are represented on Fan History by seeing how big some of our important categories are.

Misc

  • Fan fiction community size – 2,111 fandoms
  • LiveJournal community size by fandom – 999 fandoms
  • Actors

  • Actor fandoms – 322 fandoms
  • Actor fans – 41 fandoms
    A lot of these articles were created because LiveJournal communities were based on them or in an effort to create articles for people who visit our site through FanPop and Chickipedia. A lot of these fandoms are smaller so high possibility that there are another 100 actor fandoms on Fan History that aren’t picked up because of LiveJournal related bots.Anime
  • Anime fandoms -304 fandoms
  • Anime fandom categories – 374 fandoms
  • Anime fans – 299 fans
  • Anime LiveJournal communities – 20 fandoms
    A lot of anime fandoms are really, really small. FanFiction.Net related bots picked them up. We just haven’t built categories for them because we haven’t always spotted them. And when we do spot them, we’re not always creating articles for them. We found an anime fandom recently where there were over 2000 articles in subcategories but no actual article about the show itself. I’d guess that’s the high number? Add another 200 and you’ll get a feel for the number of anime fandoms.Books
  • Book fandoms – 220 fandoms
  • Book fandom categories – 287 fandoms
  • Book fans – 181 fans
  • Book LiveJournal communities – 13 fandoms
    We’re planning on adding a number of new book fandoms to Fan Fiction Stat Bot, to the tune over over 100 fandoms. That should ratchet up the number of fandoms represented by another 100. There are probably another 100 not showing up because of FanFiction.Net connected bots.Cartoons
  • Cartoon fandoms – 63 fandoms
  • Cartoons fandom categories – 120 fandoms
  • Cartoons fans – 125 fandoms
    I’d hazard a guess of another 25 fandoms floating around the site. This category just doesn’t feel like it has the sheer number of fandoms to draw from to begin with to have a lot of hidden categories and articles.Comics
  • Comics fandoms – 48 fandoms
  • Comics fandoms categories – 59 fandoms
  • Comics fans – 41 fandoms
    Like cartoons, this is a pretty small type of fandom that is compounded in its difficulty to count and create articles for because of all the crossovers canon-wise, with new comics spun off based on characters, etc. There are probably another 25 fandoms not yet categorized in those groups yet.Movies
  • Movie fandoms – 221 fandoms
  • Movie fandom categories – 338 fandoms
  • Movie fans – 265 fandoms
    Movie fandoms might have some additional fan categories to the tune of another 100 or so. Like actor fandoms, unless there is more than 1 article in a category, categories generally aren’t created for it. FanFiction.Net related articles weren’t picked up by Fan Fiction Stat Bot because we wanted to get the bot done faster and generally assumed those fandoms weren’t as active. There are probably 100 to 250 wanted articles for movies on actor-related articles where we’ve listed what fandoms actors appeared in.Music
  • Music fandoms – 377 fandoms
  • Music fandom categories – 383 fandoms
  • Music fans – 67 fandoms
  • Music LiveJournal communities – 33 fandoms
  • Music images – 44 fandoms
    This broad subcategory has had a few stewards and hasn’t had the articles added by bots that the other ones have had. Where it did, most of the categories already existed. I’d guess at most that another 50 fandoms are represented.Politics
  • Politics fandom categories – 1 fandom
  • Politics fandoms – 6 fandoms
    This is one of those main categories that is a mess. There probably aren’t more than 4 additional fandoms. No one has really put the time and effort into organizing and fixing this category so it just isn’t represented. (That should really change.)Radio
  • Radio fans – 2 fandoms
  • Radio fandoms – 33 fandoms
  • Radio fandom categories – 31 fandoms
    This is another neglected category like politicians. It should have more but doesn’t. It might have another 10 fandoms, mostly ones that are part of other mediums.Science fiction
  • Science fiction fandoms – 38 fandoms
  • Science fiction fans – 2 fandoms
    These categories mostly are pulled from other categories like books, television and movies. There are probably another 300 categories but they overlap everything else ,so take that with a grain of salt. We really need someone to sort through and better categorize those shows. Our emphasis on this category so far has been conventions, culture and terminology when building here.Sports
  • Baseball – 10 fandoms
  • Basketball – 4 fandoms
  • Figure skating – 2 fandoms
  • Football – 8 fandoms
  • Football fans – 3 fandoms
  • Hockey teams – 5 fandoms
  • Soccer fans – 3 fandoms
  • Sports fandom categories – 17 fandoms
    Sports fandom is a total mess because you’re not dealing with a major broad category but a category per sport. No one has spent much time improving the organization or working on articles in this area. We have a number of fandoms based on my and Sidewinder’s sports team interests. A few were picked up by LiveJournal bot. It looks like 50 total but better counting and sorting things out from uncategorized categories and uncategorized articles, I think we’d have another 50 fandoms.Television
  • Television fandoms – 457
  • Television fandom categories – 545 fandoms
  • Television fans – 414 fandoms
    As Fan history came out of media fandom with some music and television fans, I’m not surprised this is really large. I’d hazard a guess we have another 150 categories and articles from various television fandoms floating around the site.
    Theater
  • Theater fandoms – 7 fandoms
  • Theater fandom categories – 14 fandoms
  • Theater fans – 13 fandoms
    This is just one of those other neglected fandom categories. Not much there and no one has spent a lot of time updating those articles. I’d estimate another 10 fandoms just because there hasn’t been a goal of adding categories and articles.
    Video games
  • Video game fandoms – 84 fandoms
  • Video game fandom categories – 187 fandoms
  • Video game fans – 159 fandoms
    This category is one of those that has a lot of categories because people helped complete wanted categories based on articles the bots created. Lots of articles missing but categories created. The category was better maintained a year ago when one of major contributors was more active. I’d guess another 50 fandoms here because not the biggest category ever.
    Based on the biggest number of fandoms (besides sports where we just added them up and misc which duplicated a lot of things in our existing categories) for each subheading, we have a total of 2,761 fandoms represented on Fan History. If you add up our total estimates for fandoms that aren’t counted where they are supposed to be, we probably have 3,635 fandoms represented on Fan History.

    That’s a lot of fandoms. And we haven’t even begun to really document many of those are touch all the fan communities that are out there.

  • Baseball season is over…

    October 7th, 2008

    Okay. Baseball season isn’t officially over. There are still a few games left to play with two division championships and the World Series still to go. If you’re a Chicago fan though, the season might as well be over.

    The season has been an exciting one. I’ve really loved it and from April until yesterday, it was probably the most important fandom in my life. I obsessed over it. How are the Chicago Cubs doing today? Did we win? Did we lose? Can I name the players? For the first time since I was 21, I saw a game. For the first time since I was 12, I saw more than one game. I saw seven: Two Cubs games at home, two Cubs vs. Sox games at the Cell, the last White Sox game of the regular season, the one game play off game and a White Sox American League Division Series game. To top that off, also saw a Chicago Cubs minor league game played at Wrigley Field. My team, the Chicago Cubs, did really well. The other team that as a Chicago baseball fan I cheer for also did well. … Until they both got knocked out of the playoffs. Ouch.

    Being a baseball fan in Chicago can be challenging because you can never escape the Cubs vs. White Sox rivalry. This year, I tried to put all that aside and cheer, cheer, cheer for the White Sox. (So that they could end up playing the Chicago Cubs in the World Series in the post season and losing to the Cubs. Because I’m special like that.) To the extent that I really, really, really wanted that outcome, I went to the last regular season game and that one game play off game to watch in person to make sure that happened. It was a great experience. White Sox fans are great. US Cellular Field is not a bad experience, unless you’re sitting in the upper deck and have a fear of heights. The drunken fan contingent was about equal to that of the Cubs so I don’t get why White Sox fans bash on Cubs fans for being a bunch of boozers. US Cellular Field though isn’t a place to go if you’re a Chicago fan who leans towards the Cubs. There were fans who would happily wear their anti-Cubs shirts, who’d yell at people that “This isn’t Wrigley!” and bash on the Cubs when the White Sox did poorly. It means that if you’re a Chicago fan leaning Cubs, you’ve got to keep your mouth shut in a lot of instances at the Cell and when there are White Sox fans nearby. Such a challenge! Really. I mean it. Loyalty to your team can run really deep and with very little social stigma for obsessing over sports, it is easy to start babbling about the greatness of your team with the person next to you on the train.

    But baseball season is over. The Cubs and Sox are both out of it. My hopes of a crosstown classic are officially dashed. My tolerance for Cubs bashing has ended. The little adventure into looking like a White Sox fan (gotta dress in all Black for Black Out games) is done. I have a few months off and then back to cheering like mad for the Cubs, annoying my friends with Cubs talk and going to a few more games. But for now, a much needed break.

    Click here for pictures from the White Sox September 30 game versus the Minnesota Twins.

    Blog entry by Laura.

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