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link to larger image Turn to page 76 of your Indians Annual. There you'll see the 2008 AL Central...

2008alcentral
link to larger image Turn to page 76 of your Indians Annual. There you'll see the 2008 AL Central Pennant Race feature. I was delighted when I saw this in the Annual - and then crushed. I'm a fan of baseball graphs myself and was elated to see their inclusion, but the two styles shown are vastly inferior to what I present here. The reasons are thus: the "Winning Percentage" graph is crazy and meaningless near the start of the season - note that the graph doesn't even begin until April 30 - and the rest of the season is "compressed" together, as more games played means the more resistant the percentage is to change. The "Cumulative Wins" graph is just five lines with minutely different slopes. I think the weaknesses of this format speak for themselves. Shown above is the 2008 AL Central presented in the "Games Over/Under .500" format. It looks like a pennant race. Everyone starts out at the same spot - zero. A win will change your position on the graph just as much in September as it will in April. The teams diverge noticeably, and it's easy to tell why one team changes places with another in the standings. Why did Detroit pass Cleveland for third place in June? It wasn't an Indians collapse (yet); Detroit was just red-hot. Some notes about the graph: the x-axis is rendered in days, not games played. Double-headers are compressed into the day played. This unfortunately means splitting a double-header looks the same as a day off. I could fix this if I wanted to be precise. Full disclosure: the above is my personal summary of a chapter from John Davenport's fantastic (out-of-print book) Baseball Graphics (1979).
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