Listicles R us

April 5, 2017

Sorry, don’t know how to make a backwards “R.”

People love lists, so websites and blogs give the people what they want.  Sometimes the lists come in one long page, other times you have to scroll through slide shows, thereby increasing your time on the site which helps their analytics. Don’t get me started on that, i.e., writing for the sake of getting views as opposed to offering compelling copy.

This is the time of year when everyone comes out with what they think is a great list of new baseball titles. Forbes did one. So did the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times (featuring the titles in the photo). More will do doubt be published in the near future. Many of the books are repeaters, and deservedly so. Some are picked because they’re local in subject matter (found this from the Korean Times about their own brand of baseball.) Sometimes they don’t have to even be new; perhaps they’re an opinion of the greatest books on the national pastime ever. Like this from Austin360.

Other selections make me shake my head in curiosity about how the writers arrive at their decisions. Do they do their own research? I know I’m frequently searching Amazon to see what new and interesting things are in the pipeline. Or is it a matter of receiving press releases and/or review copies from the publisher? If the latter, is it a question of first-come, first-served in order to make a deadline? What studies does the publisher do to determine which of their many baseball titles should get a nudge?

On a related note: This is the 10th year, Tom Hoffarth, who writes the Farther off the Wall sports media blog for the Los Angeles Daily News, is doing his “30 baseball books in 30 days” feature. I’m flattered he’s asked me to offer suggestions for the past few seasons. For the 2017 model, so far, he’s covered

Needless to say, I’ll have more on this in the days ahead.






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