David Ortiz Still Has 500 Home Runs

So what I was saying yesterday about there not being a new Boston Globe piece about David Ortiz’s 500 home runs. I was wrong. I missed it. But, here you go, in its semi-splendour (not digging the illustration of the baseballs /quibble). There are some merits to the piece in terms of the filtering—you can by season, opponent, or the teams for which Ortiz played (only 58 for the Twins)—but let us not lose fact of the fact that this is all about No. 500.

I have seen a few in my years, including that one.
I have seen a few in my years, including that one.

Credit for the piece goes to Patrick Garvin.

David Ortiz Has 500 Home Runs

This past weekend, David Ortiz hit his 500th home run, a significant milestone in Major League Baseball attained only by a handful of players. This piece from the Boston Herald commemorates the feat—with too many photographs and embellishment for my liking—by putting his season totals on a timeline while putting Ortiz at the bottom of the 500+ home run club.

The timeline of the home runs
The timeline of the home runs

The following piece dates from April 2015 and was about the impact of defensive shifting on Ortiz, but it has a nice graphic on his home run output. It’s just outdated by most of this season. But, from a data viusalisation standpoint, I find it a far more useful and telling graphic.

A look at Ortiz's home runs
A look at Ortiz’s home runs

Credit for the Boston Herald piece goes to Jon Couture.

Credit for the Boston Globe piece goes to the Boston Globe graphics department.

Red Sox Hire Dave Dombrowski

The Boston Red Sox made big baseball news last night by announcing the hiring of former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski to head Boston’s baseball operations. The second big piece of baseball news, Boston’s GM, Ben Cherington, has resigned as he does not want to work under Dombrowski.

As you might figure, I enjoy data’s role in baseball. That Dombrowski is not the biggest analytics-embracing GM worries me a bit. But after re-reading FiveThirtyEight’s piece on the value he brings—naturally through some data and analysis—I think I will at least give him a season or two before calling for his head.

Where Dombrowski fits
Where Dombrowski fits

Credit for the piece to Ron Arthur.

Pedro Martinez Was Amazing

So the Red Sox in 2015 are godawful, terrible, bloody bad baseball. But, go back 11 years and they were amazing, fantastic, great and awesome baseball. 2004 was, of course, the year the curse was broken and that was in no small part due to the pitching efforts of Pedro Martinez, who would head down to Flushing in the off-season to end a seven year run of Pedro pitching for Boston. Well, this weekend, after being elected in his first year of eligibility, Pedro enters the Hall of Fame and then will have his number retired at Fenway.

The Boston Globe looked at Pedro, his arsenal, his career, and his best game ever: the 1999 17-strikeout, one-hit performance against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium. The whole piece is worth a looking. But this screenshot shows just how devastating his changeup was, especially in the context of an upper-90s fastball.

Pedro's circle change
Pedro’s circle change


Who’s your daddy?

Credit for the piece goes to

Foul Balls at Fenway

Happy Friday, everyone. Foul balls are the souvenirs of fortune at baseball games. (Home runs as well I suppose.) You can’t buy them, you can only hope to be one of the lucky few who catch one. So the Boston Globe ran an article with an integrated interactive piece that told the story of a select few foul balls caught by fans at ten games at Fenway. But from the data visualisation side, they plotted where each foul ball landed. But, the real gem is that they then had a few small multiples showing where various Boston hitters tended to deposit their fouls.

Ten games' worth of foul balls
Ten games’ worth of foul balls

Credit for the piece goes to Stan Grossfeld, Rachel G. Bowers, and Luke Knox.

Who Are the Red Sox?

As Massachusetts and Maine celebrate Patriots’ Day, the Boston Red Sox are set to play their earliest game of the year with an 11.00 start time. (Yes, there is also a marathon today.) So after two weeks or twelve games, the question people want answered is what Red Sox do we get this year? FiveThirtyEight looked at what they called roller-coaster seasons of late, primarily using a box plot graphic to show just how much whiplash Boston fans have endured of late.

Projected vs. actual wins
Projected vs. actual wins

So who are the Red Sox this year? The cellar dwellers of 2012 and 2014? Or world champions like in 2013? Who knows?

Credit for the piece goes to Neil Paine.

Some of the Best Baseball I’ve Ever Seen

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.)

The improbable comeback
The improbable comeback

John Lester Dominates

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.

Lester dominates
Lester dominates

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.

Credit for the piece goes to Statlas.

Visualising the World Series

Last week the Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series. I did a wee bit of celebrating and so I did not have the chance to post today’s post until, well, today. A company called Statlas charted each game of the World Series. One of my coworkers pointed me in the direction of these visualisations, unfortuantely I missed out on most of them for the playoffs. Here, though, is when I started feeling a lot less nervous about Boston’s chances for winning Game 6.

When the Red Sox won the game and the World Series
When the Red Sox won the game and the World Series

There is a lot to see and look at in these games. And I will be curious to see where Statlas takes these—if they take them anywhere—for the 2014 season. Baseball is a game rich with statistics and data and teams and fans are increasingly using them to play and understand the play in the games. It’s about time somebody starts doing some valuable visualisations.

Credit for the piece goes to Statlas.

Baseball Payrolls

The World Series starts tomorrow night and for all but two teams, that means focusing on the upcoming 2014 roster. And rosters are often defined by payroll flexibility. A co-worker of mine forwarded along today’s interactive graphic that looks at team payrolls through stacked bar charts.

The Red Sox payroll
The Red Sox payroll

The design is certainly a bit clunky with heavy black outlines and garish colours. But the story told is clear, especially if you begin to look at different teams. Which teams have players locked up for the long-term and thereby have little flexibility?

The Red Sox, of course, sent most of that bar from 2011 to the Los Angeles Dodgers near the end of 2012. That allowed them to pick up the free agents like Mike Napoli, Johnny Gomes, Shane Victorino, and Koji Uehara. You know, the guys without whom the Red Sox would not have advanced to the World Series.

Credit for the piece goes to Phil Roth.