The Re-tweets of Victory, the Hashtags of Defeat

Open Access
Mcmurtry, Scott Thomas
Area of Honors:
Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Debra Hawhee, Thesis Supervisor
  • Dr. Jack L Selzer, Honors Advisor
  • Letters
  • Arts
  • and Sciences
  • Sports
  • Baseball
  • Social Media
  • Statistics
  • Pittsburgh
  • Pirates
  • Technology
Given the technological and informational revolution that has swept through baseball in the past decade, the experience of the avid fan has been similarly revolutionized since the turn of the millennium. Social media has provided new channels of communication, and the infusion of intellectualism into analysis has given the game a plethora of new and more accurate statistics to analyze player performance with. This thesis serves as a series of snapshots mapping these new phenomena, taken during the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2012 season. It focuses on two games and highlights the aforementioned concepts within the narrative of a thrilling Pirates campaign. The first game features a Pittsburgh win over the Detroit Tigers, recounted in prose as well as the tweets of various fans and commentators. A few “new school” statistical concepts—fielding independent pitching metrics, the eschewing of traditional numbers such as runs batted in, and the opposition to sacrifice bunting as a strategic device—are introduced while summarizing the game action. The second game, a decidedly more discouraging event, catches up with the Pirates during their late-season tailspin, and results in a gutting loss to the lowly Houston Astros. As the game progresses, the palpably disheartened tone of the Pittsburgh fan base only becomes more and more apparent once yet another winnable game begins to slip away.