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.
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.
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
In previewing tonight’s national championship game between LSU and Alabama, USA Today reports that a high-scoring contest isn’t expected:
LSU and Alabama combined for just 15 points in their November matchup that saw neither team reach the end zone.
The anticipated defensive struggle Monday night will contrast with the Rose, Fiesta and Orange Bowl which totaled 83, 79 and 103 points, respectively. In fact, in those three games there were more points in eight of the 12 quarters than the previous November matchup between the Tigers and Crimson Tide.
But how have these teams scored in previous matchups? Since 1902, the Tigers and the Crimson Tide have faced off 74 times, with an average combined score of about 32 points — twice the total from this season’s earlier game.
This histogram shows the number of games in 10-point increments. Twenty games have resulted in 40 or more points (see larger version):
There have been some low-scoring games over the years, but also some real shootouts. In 2007, for example, the matchup resulted in 75 points, with LSU winning 41-34. This line chart shows the trend over time (see larger version):
We’ll see what happens tonight.
Data source: Sports-Reference.com
Here’s another look at discipline in the Spanish La Liga soccer league, this time focusing on team-by-team totals.
This bubble chart represents yellow card totals by club:
With Many Eyes, you can toggle the view to show red card stats by team (bubbles are sized based on the proportion of all red cards, so don’t compare the two charts together):