Padres News: Padres Fans among the Most Literate in Baseball

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The interwebs are filled with people with varying degrees of skill in expressing themselves.  While on one hand you can find the brilliant writing of Noam Chomsky and Robert Anton Wilson, on the other you can find the practically illiterate rantings of, well, I don’t suppose you need any help finding examples of those writers.  The web is littered with the rantings of the illiterati.

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Sports writing, as a microcosm of the web, also spans the spectrum of erudition. While baseball fans have access to the brilliance of Jonah Keri, Peter Gammons, and Jayson Stark, we are also quite likely to stumble across any of the myriad wannabes (myself included) who butcher grammar as they stumble through awkward phrases in their quest to share their often not-so-original opinions.

And the continuum of writing levels doesn’t stop when the author’s article is complete. Once you scroll past the ads for the One Sneaky Trick Celebs Use to Outsmart Fatty Foods, we find the sports fan’s favorite place to express herself: the Comments Section. Which leads to the inevitable question: Which team has the smartest fans?

The Wall Street Journal set out to find the answer.  And the news for San Diego Padres fans is great.

WSJ hired Grammarly, an automated proofreading company, to evaluate the writing of MLB fans who post on their teams’ home pages, using grammar, spelling, and punctuation as their criteria. And among the 30 major league teams’ fans, Padres fans were ranked second, making fewer errors than any teams fans except the Cleveland Indians, who topped the poll.

The quality of comments at Friars on Base seems to be consistent with this finding. Frequent commenters like ballybunion and Zippy_TMS regularly put up cogent, rational comments that follow the rules of English grammar. It’s a pleasure to read their work.

So, take a bow, Padres fans. Those hours you spent paying attention in English class have finally been noticed.

At the other end of the spectrum are Phillies and Mets fans, who brought up the rear in the study. These are among the comments I saw in five minutes of research at mets.com:

“No not Jason I could do better than that Fool!”

“do not go after Cole Hamels 4 more years left on his contract,do not go after Johnny Cueto they want top prospects,if you go after anybody it should be a lefty Scott Kazmir last year of his contract.”

Whatever happened to the period?

But the news is not all good. Geoff Foster, who penned the WSJ article, makes an interesting point:

"Other fan bases have clearly benefited from not staying up late on school nights in October. The five teams with the best grammar and spelling (Indians, Padres, White Sox, Mariners, Cubs) root for teams that have collectively won four titles in the past 100 years."

I suppose we could stand to see fewer Oxford commas if  it meant the Padres would win the World Series.

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