Archive for May, 2011

Do Teams Get Dragged Down by Jet Lag?

This article was originally published on

No one likes to travel. Vacations are great and changes of scenery can be nice, but that doesn’t make the cramped bus trip or the bumpy plane ride any more pleasant. The destination may be worth it, but when was the last time you stood up after an hours-long voyage with your good mood still fully intact?

This sentiment is shared even by multimillionaires who make their livings playing a children game and are cheered by thousands of adoring fans every time they go to the office. In baseball, “getaway day” is dreaded, and while jet lag alone wouldn’t make the Indians fall to the White Sox (who’d’ve thought that would be a good example this year?), a team that just got in after a long flight is seen as being at a real, if relatively small, disadvantage at the start of a series.

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When Do the Standings Matter?

This post originally appeared here

Vin Scully likes to repeat a quote from a well-known former Major League manager, “Give me 50 games and I’ll know what kind of team I have.” I don’t remember who said it, or what the exact quote is, but that’s the gist of it. Just for reference, 50 games into the MLB season usually lands around the end of May. I wanted to test this out and see how quickly we know how good a team actually is, so I did what any regular baseball fan would do: I went to and grabbed the record at the end of each month for every team since 1998 (expansion). Then, I looked at the end of month winning percentage and compared it to the end of season win total, using a linear regression. I also split each month up into bins of team winning percentage. Each bin contains about 65 teams.

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