How Far Above (Or Below) .500 Did Each MLB Team Finish This Season?

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

I live in South Korea, where it isn’t always easy to watch American baseball (unless you’re a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Texas Rangers). So I’m catching up with data.

NFL Geography: Where Were Professional Football Players Born?

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics, Sports

nfl-players

Are states proportionally represented on the historical list of National Football League players? That’s the question I had four years ago when I posted two simple state-by-state maps summarizing players’ birth places.

That post has been surprisingly popular, so I decided to remix the visualization a bit — replacing the old choropleth maps with tile grids.

Editing O.J. Simpson: Charting Changes to His Wikipedia Page

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Crime, News, Sports

I’ve just finished watching ESPN’s fabulous O.J.: Made in America, a five-part documentary about the Hall of Fame football player.

Somewhere in the process of digesting this latest — and, perhaps, best — telling of O.J.’s story, I scoured Wikipedia for details about his life. I discovered that the page has been edited more than 4,000 times since it went up in 2003, back when Wikipedia user “Vera Cruz” posted the first biographical snippet.

Since then, users have slowly edited — and vandalized — the current bio’s 5,000 words, a process I’ve charted below.

Charting NFL Injuries

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

The Washington Post has a fascinating story today about NFL players and injuries, with the local peg being Robert Griffin III’s knee injury. The gist:

Interviews with more than 50 doctors, players, agents, owners and medical ethicists suggest that what the NFL Physicians Society calls the game’s “unique clinical challenges” can result in inconsistent standards in treating players and cause some doctors to depart from best medical practices and safety norms.

These charts, which visualize the league’s injury reports over time, accompanied the story:

NFL injuries: 2010

Charting The Premier League Season

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

Last fall I posted some Tufte-inspired sparkline charts to visualize how Major League Baseball teams fared during the 2012 season.

I’ve created something similar for clubs in the English Premier League, where the season is winding down with Manchester United holding a strong lead in points. This chart shows how they’ve done it — by winning, not just drawing, with their opponents. United has 21 wins so far, while their cross-town rivals — Manchester City — have just 15.

Matches that end in draws are still important to a club’s success in the league, but I wanted to see their performance in wins and losses. The lines on the chart represent the total number of games over .500 for all 20 clubs. Click here to see the interactive version.

TheDailyViz

TheDailyViz

Charting Missed Field Goals

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

Earlier today, Kansas City Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop missed a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns, prompting the announcer to say something to the effect of, “You don’t see many field goals missed from that distance.”

That’s true.

This histogram shows the nearly 500 field goals missed in the first quarter since the 2000 season. The misses are aggregated by distance, and, as you can see, the average miss length is about 42 yards. Only 16 missed field goals were shorter during that period. Sorry, Ryan:

Data source: Pro-Football-Reference.com

Charting the FSU-Florida Rivalry

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

As a kid growing up in Tallahassee, I both cherished and dreaded the Florida State vs. Florida rivalry. As a ‘Noles fan, the game too often ended in defeat, occasionally dashing my team’s national title hopes.

But I’ll always remember the best game of the rivalry — the 1994 “Choke at Doke” — in which the Gators gave up a 31-3 lead in the fourth quarter, settling for a 31-31 tie. (FSU won the “fifth quarter” rematch that season at the Sugar Bowl).

This chart shows the point differential between the two teams since 1958. You can see that FSU dominated the rivalry in the 1990s. Florida largely owned the 2000s.

We’ll see what happens today. Go ‘Noles!

Build your own rivalry table at Sports-Reference.com.

Charting MLB Standings With Tufte-Inspired Sparklines

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

Last week I attended a day-long session with Edward Tufte, the “Leonardo Di Vinci of data,” as The New York Times once dubbed him. The session has inspired me to take the blog off paternity leave. About time.

Inside Tufte’s book “Beautiful Evidence” is a section on “sparklines,” which are small, word-sized line graphs. The section includes a visualization of a baseball season, with lines for each team showing their day-to-day trends above or below the .500 line.

The line graphs I made below, inspired by Tufte’s sparklines on page 54, show each team’s progress in the 2012 season.

First, the National League West, which includes the eventual World Series winner San Francisco. The Giants passed Los Angeles around the middle of the season and never looked back. The chart also shows Colorado’s steep collapse at the end:

Now the National League East, in which Washington led for most of the season and Philadelphia closed strong to finish its season above the .500 win-loss line.

And the National League Central, in which Houston had a terrible season:

In the American League East, New York held off Baltimore’s surge after the all-star break, and Toronto and Boston collapsed in August and September:

Detroit overtook Chicago during the last days of the season in the American League Central:

In the American League West, Texas closed poorly finish second to late-surging Oakland:

Finally, I added all the teams to one graph to show the difference in team performance. This makes color-coding lines impossible, so I included a table with each squad’s over-under .500 figure. You can see how San Francisco performed in bold black:

Notes: The charts depict each day of the season, not each game. Also, the charts should be viewed separately. Because of the variance in each division, the y axes differ. I’ve uploaded the data to Google Docs. Feel free to download the file and send me visualizations of your own.

Data source: Baseball-Reference.com

Charting Presidential Mascot Races — And Teddy’s Odd Inability To Win

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

Washington Nationals fans have all seen the spectacle, the fourth-inning “race” featuring the Mount Rushmore mascots: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. They trot around the stadium wearing period costumes and huge caricature masks. Hilarity ensues.

The first three presidents in the last seven seasons have had their fair share of wins in the races, which are known for hijinks that make their outcomes unpredictable. The latter president, a man remembered for his “robust masculinity” and adventurous spirit, has been (tragically?) shut out. He just can’t seem to win, no matter how much of a lead he takes from time to time. He gets distracted, or someone trips him, or he fades — or something else prevents him from crossing the finish line first.

Here’s how the other presidents have fared since the races began in 2006*. Abe won nearly 60 percent of the races in 2008, but the mascots’ winning percentages have leveled over the years. George is leading this season so far, through July 8 at least:

WHY, though, can’t Teddy get a win?? These word trees, made with Many Eyes, parse the short highlights of each contest since 2008 released by Let Teddy Win, a blog devoted to the races. Using the interactive version, you can search for specific words or phrases and see words around them in context.

Teddy “fades”:

Teddy “stops”:

Teddy “is”:

Someday he’ll win. I just hope I’m there to see it.

* Excluding “ties,” non-presidential mascot winners and extra-inning bonus races.