The Bordens Go to a Baseball Game; You Won’t Believe What Happened Next

It seemed a like a perfect summer night, warm and a little muggy.

Our calendar was open for the evening, and so at the last minute we decided to buy some tickets to watch the Wilmington Blue Rocks play the Lynchburg Hillcats. The Blue Rocks are an advanced Single-A league in minor league baseball affiliated with the Kansas City Royals.

We were able to get tickets about 10 rows behind home plate (my favorite place to watch a game) for only $13 a ticket. It’s a relatively short drive to Frawley Stadium where the Blue Rocks play, and parking is free.

We got to our seats just in time to watch the first pitch of the game, so everything was going according to plan.

Unfortunately, about 40 minutes into the game it started drizzling. Not enough to stop the game, but enough to make most people leave their seats and watch the game from the concourse. We watched for about another 45 minutes as the Blue Rocks started to fall behind. When one of the Hillcat players hit a grand slam, we decided to call it a night and head back home.

If you’ve read this far in anticipation of something dramatic to happen because of the headline, well that’s the end of my baseball game story.

What I really wanted to see was whether I could write a headline that would be compelling enough for a reader to click on the link and read the story.

Classic click bait.

But apparently it works.

In Originals, Adam Grant’s fascinating book about the impact of non-conformists, he relates a story about the web site Upworthy, and how it tries to make its content go viral. Upworthy had posted a video about monkeys reacting to receiving cucumbers or grapes as rewards.

Eight thousand people watched the video when the headline was “Remember Planet of the Apes? It’s Closer to Reality than You Think”. A different headline led to 59 times more views, enticing nearly half a million people to watch the same video: “2 Monkeys Were Paid Unequally; See What Happens Next“.

Here’s the video:

Upworthy’s rule is that you need to generate at least 25 headline ideas to strike gold. “Once you start getting desperate, you start thinking outside the box,” the Upworthy team writes. #24 will suck. Then #25 will be a gift from the headline gods and will make you a legend.”

I’m not sure my headline above will make me a legend, but I am curious if it does anything for my view count. I’ll let you know in a couple of days.

If it does work, watch out for some more click bait creative headlines in the future.

Game update: I just checked the score; it is now 15-3. Despite the outcome and the weather, it is still a great place to watch a game.

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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