Framing the game through a sabermetric lens: Major League Baseball broadcasts and the delineation of traditional and new fact metrics

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This purpose of this dissertation was to first understand how Major League Baseball teams are portraying and discussing statistics within their local broadcasts. From there, the goal was to ascertain how teams differed in their portrayals, with the specific dichotomy of interest being between teams heavy in advanced statistics and those heavy in traditional statistics. With advanced baseball statistics still far from being universally accepted among baseball fans, the driving question was whether or not fans that faced greater exposure to advanced statistics would also be more knowledgeable and accepting of them. Thus, based on the results of the content analysis, fans of four of the most advanced teams and four of the most traditional teams were accessed through MLB team subreddits and surveyed. Results initially indicated that there was no difference between fans of teams with advanced versus traditional broadcasts. However, there were clear differences in knowledge based on other factors, such as whether fans had a new school or old school orientation, whether they were high in Schwabism and/or mavenism, and how highly identified they were with the team. Post hoc analyses were conducted to account for two of the teams in the content analysis having disparities between graphics and commentary in their advanced or traditional nature. These analyses generally revealed the hypothesized pattern of higher knowledge for fans of teams with more advanced broadcasts. Implications for learning and unlearning are discussed as the results here show that heightened exposure, endorsements from trusted sources, and the old and new information being shown concurrently offer greater opportunities for learning and accepting lesser known information.

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