Counting baseball cliches

August 31, 2018

Topic

Statistics  /  , ,

Post-game sports interviews tend to sound similar. And when you do say something out of pattern, the talk shows and the social media examine every word to find hidden meaning. It’s no wonder athletes talk in cliches. The Washington Post, using natural language processing, counted the phrases and idioms that baseball players use.

We grouped phrases that were variations of each other together (within a one- or two-word difference) into a list of roughly 20,000 possible cliches. Then came the subjective part. From that list, we chose the ones that were the most interesting, then grouped those with similar meanings. And voila — the phrases we considered to be the cream of the cliche crop.

I can’t decide if the word cloud to open the article is a fun hook or a distraction. I’m learning towards the former, but I think it would’ve been less the latter without the interaction.