Links roundup for 27 January 2012

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Here's a roundup of stories on sports fandom that might be of interest to fans:

  • Jane Dough cited a study on football viewership that revealed "Women, actually, love watching football. More than they like Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and American Idol. So pipe down, imaginary husbands and whiny beer commercials. Sunday Night Football is the third most popular primetime show among adult women." These current numbers demonstrate a continuity from the fandom's early days discussed in Football Girl. "Similar to the matinee girl, the football girl was a common subject of male journalistic curiosity. That someone of the "fairer sex" (gender stereotypes of women as emotional, overly-sensitive, and nurturing were alive and well in the 1900s) would be interested in watching a competitive match involving "brute" physical force was both titillating and confounding for many male writers."
  • Sadly not much has changed in sports media depictions. Baseball Nation took the show MLB Fan Cave to task on its treatment of women. "In the last few years, many media outlets have reported that women now comprise 45-47 percent of all baseball fans, making it the most gender-balanced of the four main professional sports." Yet the women who do appear on the show are there primarily for gratuitous appeal to male viewers. "The 2011 version of the Fan Cave offered nothing for the score-keeping, numbers-crunching, roster-watching woman fan. Well, if you don't count insults to her baseball intelligence."
  • The Baltimore Sports Report wrote about the personal connections in sports merchandise. "This holiday season, I am sure anyone reading this will probably wind up getting a sports-related gift of some kind, but I encourage you to consider it more than an overpriced logo or even a way to show off your team. It is a reflection of where you are in life, what you care about, and what you value. I was a UVa fan because of what I thought they represented (way in the past now, mind you), and my Dad went nuts for that jersey not just because he loved the Ravens but because he felt a meaningful and permanent connection with the city of Baltimore."
  • Meanwhile, the Baltimore Sun reported on baseball fan get-togethers which included everything from conversation and trivia games to guest lecturers. "He and his fellow conversationalists are looking forward to the next "Talkin' Baseball" on Jan. 14, when Maryland author Bob Luke is scheduled to discuss his latest book, "The Most Famous Woman in Baseball: Effa Manley and the Negro Leagues."" Manley is "the first (and still only) woman admitted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. Her story is one of a million threads in the fabric of baseball, which people such as Paulson see as a game but always, in addition, something bigger. "You never run out of things to talk about," he says."

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