Archive | Sports

RSS feed for this section

Baseball Teams and Jet Lag

Do baseball teams that have to travel across time zones, and are therefore subject to jet lag, more likely to lose games? This question, resulting in the concept of circadian advantage, was taken up in a letter in Nature back in 1995:

Many factors undoubtedly contribute to winning baseball games, but our data indicate that one critical, previously unrecognized component of the ‘home field’ advantage of east and west coast baseball teams involves previous transcontinental travel by the visiting team within the preceding two days, but only if the direction of travel is eastward…

While the performance decrements described her might seem small in magnitude, their consequences for competitive athletics are substantial.

More here (subscription required).

The Steagles

No, this is not about Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle. The Steagles were a football team for only the 1943 season. They were a merger of the Steelers and the Eagles, due to the military service of many football players. Interestingly, this merger turned out to be the first winning season for Philadelphia.

City Size and Baseball

Common wisdom holds that the larger city teams in baseball have the advantage, with all their added financial resources and the like (think George Steinbrenner). Well, as discussed in the most recent WSJ Science Journal article by Sharon Begley, A New Study Shows How Baseball Myths Can Hurt the Game, the economist J.C. Bradbury has quantified this effect, among many others. While it turns out that it’s a real effect, it’s not huge:

Oh, and the big-market/small-market question. Every 1.58 million residents produces one extra win per season, Prof. Bradbury calculates, using data from 1995 to 2004. Based on population alone, the Yankees should win 10.61 more games than Milwaukee.

Calculating “population-adjusted wins,” he shows which teams did better than their city’s size predicts — and which did worse. I’m talking about you, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Milwaukee.

Cities and Sports Teams

In honor of the upcoming Super Bowl, here is a collection of links about cities and sports teams:

Wondering which cities have teams from the four major American sports? Wonder no longer. And while we’re at it, here are the states (yes, entire states) that lack a major sports team.

Here is Paul Lukas’s take on America’s most livable cities, sports-wise.

And here is evidence that sports teams and economic boosts for their cities do not go hand-in-hand.

Enjoy the I-65 Super Bowl.