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The subtle brilliance of Lynn Henning

February 23, 2012

It is true that I have an unusual interest not only in the Detroit Tigers but also the people who cover them.  In some ways they are as interesting or even more interesting than the players themselves. Don’t believe me? How many Tigers’ players’ names have you forgotten during the tenure of Mr. Lynn Henning of the Detroit News? The answer is 185. Plus, Lynn’s work itself is memorable. Notice I didn’t say lovable or correct, I said memorable.  Rogo from DesigNate Robertson has brilliantly illustrated that his work is fun to pick apart.

This is where Lynn is the master.  Lynn attacks with subtle, contrarian barbs that shift and change with the news.  This could simply be a product of his nature, but I suspect this is carefully crafted for maximum effect.  There is a reason he’s been around since 1979.

The key for Lynn is the hook.  It doesn’t have to be a good hook or a correct hook but just a hook.  It has to be at the appropriate level too.  Push it too far and you are a bully, let it go too easily and it loses its truthiness.  The hook is even better when it aligns with the thoughts of the fans and against the “baseball experts”.    This is why @Lynn_Henning has been terrific on twitter.  He’ll surpass most of the other Tiger’s tweeters in followers quite quickly. (even though he doesn’t RT properly). Perhaps this is also why he continues to appear on the Huge Show.  Their techniques are different, but not unrelated. Let me illustrate the hook concept by giving some examples:

Hook one: Mark Buehrle

Mark Buehrle was an important free agent pitcher this off-season.  While the Tigers have a need for a 5th starter type Lynn was “convinced” they were going to more aggressive and make a play for him.  That’s the hook. Most experts agreed that Mark would be out of the Tiger’s price range, but Lynn played the contrarian.  My research department is a little lean, but I counted 500,000 Henning tweets about the Tigers and Buerhle. In then end the Tigers had no talks with Mark. In regard to discussions on a deal Dave Dombrowski was quoted as saying: ” “We never had any. Despite people saying (so) at various times, we never had any. We really have maintained all along that we’re not after the big, long-term deal with a pitcher. We never had any.”

Hook two: Danny Worth’s worth

I won’t get into too much depth, but Lynn Henning loves Danny Worth’s versatility and disproportionately hypes him in his writing.

Hook three: Players weight

This is the big one.  Perhaps you’ll remember at Prince’s introductory press conference there was a reporter who described Prince as “husky” and asked the Tiger’s front office if his contract had a “weight clause”.  If you guessed it was Lynn, you guessed right.  This wasn’t a question on Prince’s increased weight or somehow unknown size, it was just a hook.  In a subsequent article Lynn just comes right out and drops a, “Fielder is 27 and carries way too much weight.”  According to who? The Body Mass Index (BMI)?  Babe Ruth probably thinks he’s about the right size!

I’ll quote for you (unabridged) a series of Henning Tweets:

You don’t measure Prince Fielder’s grand, sprawling tattoo designs in square feet as much as in square miles. Newspapers require less ink.

That’s the first thing noticed today about Fielder: How he can carry so much weight, create a perception of obesity, but look so in-sync.

RT @Kyle @grade_eh_tweets Estimate on the weight of both? I’d say cabby 255, prince 270? Kyle: Close on Cabrera. Prince a bit heftier.

Neat scene: All the hugs and handclasps as Tigers teammates greet one another. Nothing phony about it. The bond between athletes is heavy.

The last one cracks me up.  I’m pretty sure he took notes during Wes Welker’s feet mentioning press conference.

In the end, Lynn has a marvelous gift of subtly stirring the conversation.  Just be aware of what he’s doing. It will give you a whole other level of enjoyment.

But don’t go! Before this hook fades into the next one, may I introduce: BMI Henning.

You can make your own BMI Hennings by clicking HERE and using the image below! Enjoy!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2012 8:48 am

  2. @wardb4 permalink
    February 24, 2012 10:34 am

    Cant believe you didn’t mention my brilliant “Turns out @lynnhenning is a better follow than @lynn_henning” twitter post at you.
    Makes me all sad inside, just trying to make a name for myself!

  3. February 26, 2012 6:26 pm

    Phil, this is the first I have tuned into your blog and it won’t be the last Good Stuff. The thing about Lynn is that there is a looong history on the News of having one smart writer and one stupid one. Lynn is the smart one. I’ll let you decide on the other one. There are several candidates.


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