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Maurice Vergeer and Leon Mulder

popular there. Why some players are extremely popular while others are less popular is a question that has not yet been addressed by academics: Does online popularity result from players’ performance on the pitch or from the mere fact that they play with a successful team? Or could the key factor be their

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Al Figone

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Jimmy Sanderson

This research explored people’s expression of parasocial interaction (PSI) on Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s blog, 38pitches.com. A thematic analysis using grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) and constant comparative methodology of 1,337 postings on Schilling’s blog was conducted. Three parasocial aspects emerged from data analysis: identification, admonishment and advice giving, and criticism. The findings of the study provide support for previous research that suggests identification is a PSI component, and given the large presence of admonishment and criticism, the findings extend PSI theory by suggesting that PSI theory must account for and encompass negative relational behaviors. The results also indicate that people’s use of information and communication technologies is reconfiguring parasocial relationships as fans take an active role in soliciting and communicating with professional athletes, subsequently creating more opportunities for PSI to occur.

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Charles C. Alexander

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John Sugden and Alan Bairner

The political crisis in Northern Ireland has been met with a wide range of responses from the British state. Apart from a manifest increase in its coercive powers, in an attempt to maintain hegemonic supremacy there have been state sponsored initiatives directed toward penetrating and influencing various aspects of the Province’s popular culture. Because of the close relationship between sport, leisure, and the separate cultural traditions that underpin the political conflict, this area of popular culture has proven to be highly contested terrain. While traditional Marxist approaches to the study of superstructural formations have been greatly enhanced by the application of categories drawn from Gramsci’s political analysis, the Northern Ireland case reveals that Gramsci’s distinction between political and civil society is only useful so long as its application is flexible enough to accommodate the widest possible range of social divisions.

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Wilbert M. Leonard II

This study refined and extended Christiano’s recent inquiry on race and salaries in major league baseball. Instead of merely dichotomizing the independent variable into black and white, the data were trichotomized into white, black, and Hispanic categories; pitchers, because they were not studied, provided the focal point. A model of salary for pitchers was both specified and tested. Unstandardized regression coefficients (after disaggregating the units of analysis by race/ethnicity) revealed several instances of salary inequities but small ns precluded systematic testing. Hence, the verdict is still out as to whether or not the salaries of baseball pitchers varying in race/ethnicity are consistently different while holding other theoretically relevant variables constant.

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Kamiel Reid and Christine Dallaire

( Foucault, 1977 , 1982 ). Drawing on this theoretical framework, we focus on the concepts of discourse, subject and power to examine the ways in which the women described their experiences on the soccer pitch. That is, we explore social (discursive) practices and actions ( Foucault, 1977 ) that constitute

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Brenda A. Riemer

This study is an examination of the identity formation of lesbians in sport and how lesbians interpreted the softball environment with regard to social support and the ability to be open about their lesbianism. Twenty four women on summer slow pitch softball teams, and 5 spectators, participated in qualitative interviews. Responses were consistent with a model of lesbian identity formation that included preconformist, conformist, post-conformist, lesbian conformist, and lesbian post-conformist levels. The support these women received from softball players helped them to come out to others and to enter the lesbian community.

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Ketra L. Armstrong

Women’s sports is at an all-time high, as evidenced by the emergence of a number of professional women’s sport leagues (such as basketball, baseball, and fast-pitch softball). Notwithstanding the growth and popularity of women’s sports, these leagues will have to compete with other forms of leisure for consumers’ discretionary time and resources. Since financial stability is vital to the longevity of the developing women’s leagues, the competition for consumers will require a greater need for the marketers of women’s professional sport organizations to understand the variety of factors that influence sport consumers’ behavior and shape the composition of their respective markets. Presented in this article are the results of a study in which the consumers of one of the professional women’s basketball teams that competed in the American Basketball League (ABL)were investigated. The teams’ spectators are profiled as sport consumers, factors that influenced their attendance, are identified and implications for effective marketing strategies are noted.