Tufte, Twitter, and Chicago White Sox Slugger Adam Dunn: Friday Fun Stats

Chicago White Sox DH Adam Dunn Looking Sad

It's no secret that CNU'ers love to mine all sorts of data. And there is no greater prophet of visualizing data than Edward Tufte.

It's also no secret that many members of the CNU Staff have an unyielding love of perhaps the best game ever to grace the planet - baseball. Particularly, the stylings of the Chicago White Stockings Baseball Club of the American League.

Putting on our most amateur Tufte hat, CNU recently came to some startling conclusions when looking at data sets comparing the recent growth in CNU's social media presence, and the abysmally, cataclysmically, embarrassingly, disturbingly, horrible performance of Chicago White Sox slugger (ha!) Adam Dunn. Our conclusion? There seems to be an inverse relationship between the success of CNU's social media outreach efforts, and the continuing, intractable season-long funk of the $56 million man.

Consider: As of March 1st, 2011, according to TwitterCounter.com, CNU had 5,032 Twitter followers.

CNU's Twitter Followers - March 1st, 2011.

With one month to go before opening day, Dunn was projected by the very smart folks at FanGraphs to hit 39 home runs with 98 RBIs and a .252 batting average. The assessment? Both CNU and Dunn looked solid and steady, poised to grow together and deliver the goods.

Yet, as the year has progressed, CNU has seen an aggressive rise in followers to its Twitter feed. Through August 4th, CNU had 7,916 Twitter followers, averaging roughly 577 new followers per month since the ChiSox were putting the final touches on their spring training line-ups.

CNU's Twitter Followers - August 4th, 2011.

Dunn? At the conclusion of August 4th's game, he was on pace to have one of the worst seasons ever in baseball history (compared to a player's historical norm), hitting a beyond-paltry .167 with just 11 measly home runs and a shockingly-low 39 RBIs.

Adam Dunn's Historical Average - 2009-2011. Courtesy: FanGraphs.


Adam Dunn's 2011 Season. As CNU Tweets, Dunn Strikes Out.

The above graphs illustrate that as CNU has flourished, Dunn has floundered. A quick look at CNU's Facebook stats over the same period (March 1st - August 3rd) confirm our suspicions.

With an increase of 54% in "Likes" and 1383% in "Post Views," it seems CNU may have doomed Dunn before the season even officially started. Upon discovery of this, we immediately thought of ways Tufte could illustrate the Dunn-CNU Paradox Effect. Then, we were saddened, thinking somehow that our efforts were contributing to the futility of an institution select CNU Staffers swear by. But really, after spending some time with these stats, the conclusion simply seems to be that Adam Dunn is a McMansion of a player: out of context with the surroundings, detrimental to the environment, overvalued, and underperforming.

As the gospel of urbanism spreads via the CNU Twitter and Facebook feeds, perhaps it's time to apply a little bit of the sprawl retrofit principles to the White Sox too.


I think Dunn has done it to

I think Dunn has done it to himself notwithstanding the uptick in "likes" and post views.    As I am near giving up on this year the only question left are existential questions for Ozzie Guillen: How do we get Dunn out of the starting lineup?  Why on earth is he playing first base even occasionally?  How can he hit a home run against Verlander yet be left with a .167 batting average the rest of the time?


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