For those knowing baseball, Max Scherzer has almost officially signed with the Washington Nationals for lots and lots of cold hard cash. Over $200 millions’ worth. But how do these big dollar contract pitchers compare over the years? Thankfully the Washington Post took a look at that for us.
Baseball’s Winter Meetings often provide fans with lots of trade news and free agent signings. As a Red Sox fan, one of the unfortunate signings was the Cubs picking up Jon Lester. For my friends back in Philly, Jimmy Rollins is headed to Los Angeles. But then for Boston, at the time of writing it appears a deal may be imminent for Arizona’s Wade Miley in exchange for Allen Webster and Rubby de la Rosa.
The reason I mention all those names is that they reminded me of a series of graphics from last month that looked at the longest transaction trees for each team. Put simply, how far back can one guy being traded for another guy being signed as compensation for another guy leaving get you back in history. The following graphic tracks a different Red Sox trade, of Anthony Ranaudo and Brandon Workman in 2014 back to the signing of Ken Ryan in 1986.
But what reminded me more specifically was the note that followed the above graphic that had Allen Webster as the longest trade-only tree for Boston. That starts because of the Hanley Ramirez signing in 2000—who returned to Boston only a few weeks in a free agent signing. Similarly, Jimmy Rollins was the longest transaction tree for the Phillies since his signing back in 1996. But that will now change once the players in exchange for Rollins are made clear.
Was ten years ago this time in October. Boston was on their way to winning their World Series in 86 years. But to get there, they had to go through the New York Yankees. And they did it in dramatic fashion, winning a riveting best-of-seven series. Why riveting? Because it had never been done before. (Nor since, actually, but that’s not included in the graphic.)
Tonight is Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. For those of you who do not follow baseball, this is the semi-finals for the national championship called the World Series. Anyway, hitting a baseball is hard because you have so little reaction time. The Wall Street Journal has an article about how some baseball teams are beginning to experiment with neuroscience. The idea is to better train hitters to recognise pitches earlier, in essence, giving them said reaction time. The article is accompanied by an illustration showing just how little time there is to hit a pitch.
Time for some sports. Okay, I’m admittedly thinking of it because company softball started up again. And for some reason, the teams have a horrible habit of horrendous injuries. So what better way to commemorate (a week late, whatever) the start of the season than a nice illustration of Tommy John surgery. For those of you unfamiliar with it, in baseball the injury that requires the procedure typically befalls pitchers—though not always—and keeps them away from the game for at least a year.
Credit for the piece goes to Bonnie Berkowitz and Alberto Cuadra.
This past weekend was some good Red Sox baseball. Okay, so we only won two of three from Oakland, but that second game was fantastic. John Lester dominated. Last fall I mentioned a studio called Statlas that was visualising the World Series. They continue to update and tweak their product and so it was great to see Lester’s performance documented.
Though, as you can see, Lester so dominated the Athletics, you can see almost nothing happening from Oakland’s batters. But, I will skip the near ninth-inning implosion of Boston’s relief corps that nearly cost us the game. Mostly because the visualisations of the game tell a great story. And so if you like baseball and data visualisation, you should check it out.
Baseball is back. And thankfully the New York Times has mapped out most of Major League Baseball’s fans. The glaring exception is, of course the omission of Canada/Ontario, home to the Toronto Blue Jays. The piece maps the data of Facebook likes down to the zip code and then offers details on a few border regions in particular.
And apparently back home, I am not the only person cheering for Boston.
Credit for the piece goes to Kevin Quealy, Josh Katz, David Leonhardt, and Tom Giratikanon.
Well, okay, actually there is. But the cultural reference would have made even less sense if I omitted the negative. Anyway, in honour of the two baseball games I am seeing this week—last night’s and tonight’s Red Sox games—here comes this piece from Pew Research Center.
It’s a simple but fairly clear graphic. We are looking at the ethnic breakdown of baseball since 1947, when Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier. My only qualm, as ever, with this stacked area chart is that while you can see the clear trend upward in white share, it is a bit more difficult to see the directions the other ethnicities are moving.
Credit for the piece goes to Pew Research Council.
Spring training has begun for baseball fans. The glow from the Red Sox victory last October is fading as we now wonder if we can repeat. Fans of other teams now wonder if this is their year. Over at SB Nation, an article plotted 29 baseball teams—ignoring the Dodgers— and looked at their chances in the upcoming years. The article continues using the chart to explain which teams fall where.
And for the designers, note the type choice for “Nope”.