Visual Baseball:  Introducing Season TripTik

Happy Friday. This is a bit of a departure from my usual stuff, but for a while I’ve been wanting to find a better way to visualize a team’s season schedule. A ways back I had a conversation with a casual fan who didn’t realize that a baseball season is organized into a series of homestands and roadtrips. This got me thinking about visualizing a season in those terms. Here’s a prototype of TripTik for the Red Sox 2010 season (updated through Wednesday). I find it helpful in looking back on what’s transpired (the Sox have been dominant at home lately), as well as looking forward (the Sox have a big west coast road trip looming in late July).

Likes? Dislikes?

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Comments

  1. GreggB said...

    Its very nice.  But as you anticipate, I have problems with the color choice.  I intuitively associate red with “stop” “out of money”—in other words, bad.  It is green that means “Go!”, “money”, good!

    When studying the chart, I have to constantly remind myself that red is wins and reverse my initial impression.  The whole idea of your wonderful charts is to provide intuitive, at-a-glance understanding of information.  And your continued use of red to mean good, for me, stands in the way of immediate intuitive communication.  Other than that, I love all your stuff.

  2. DavidM said...

    I really like this. It provides a great snapshot of the entire season and the progress so far.  For example, I hadn’t realized how road-heavy the next month is for the Red Sox (and I am a Sox fan).

    I have to agree with GreggB that red suggests a loss to me and I have to keep reminding myself that red is a good thing.  Maybe, colors besides red/green could be used if you’re looking for a more interesting color scheme.

    However, this really has me thinking of how I can create a similar data visualization for certain processes at work.  I think this is a good approach for data that can be tracked daily.

  3. JMeyers said...

    I really like this. Maybe each box can be a shaded in that color to indicate the closeness of the final score OR to indicate the other team’s W-L record.

  4. Kevin Dame said...

    OK, you twisted my arm.  I made a quick change, making green = win, and red = losses.  I definitely don’t want to continue to use colors that are counter intuitive.  It seems like red as a color for something good has been most problematic when referring to wins, but I haven’t gotten much push-back when it refers to a player being good (paintomatic, 5 tool analyzer, rankometer).

  5. Jason B said...

    I’m admittedly confused…you preface the chart with saying you know people have trouble with red being good, and the first comment talks about red representing wins, but in the legend at the bottom of the chart red = loss. 

    As Prof Gumby says, “MY BRAIN HURTS!”

  6. Kevin Dame said...

    Sorry Jason.  My brain hurts too (but that’s because I didn’t get enough sleep and need some coffee).  I made a change to the chart colors, but didn’t change the preface above the chart.  I’ll change that now so people aren’t similarly confused (and experiencing mind-numbing pain!)

  7. KevinM said...

    Thanks again. Your visuals are always expressive and creative.

    Here, I wonder if it would be more intuitive to organize this into two vertical columns (home left and away right). That way, one could read the schedule left to right rather than top to bottom. Plus, a vertical/left-to-right organization could assuage the impression of an average bar graph, i.e., lessen the association of value assigned to the height of each column.

    Great work!

  8. DanN said...

    How about offsetting the the top and bottom columns by half a column width to give it a more left-to-right flow.

  9. Dave Studeman said...

    Hey Kevin, I think this is excellent.

    My guess is that the confusion about red vs. green comes from the underlying data.  In general, graphics should use ROYGBIV to highlight hot to cold (more, more typically, more to less).  So, it would make sense to make red=wins and green=losses.

    However, people do tend to think of red ink and black ink.  So perhaps, when a bimodal distribution is involved (and hence only two colors), green should be the “good” thing and red the “bad” thing.

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