April 11, 2005
Attendance and winning (or losing)
One thing you won't see much of on the Greet Machine is statistical analysis of baseball. It's not that I don't enjoy the statistics of baseball, I just don't want to take the time to compile all the statistics nescessary, and I think other Twins bloggers do a fine job of it already. Having said that, one statistic I find very fascinating that doesn't get much attention from other bloggers is attendance. Whenever I look at a Twins box score, especially for home games, my eyes always dart to the bottom to check out the attendance. Of course, it is usually pathetic for the Twins as evidenced by their ranking in the bottom 1/4 for attendance in the American League. I wonder, though, is this such a bad thing?
Whenever I see the Twins actually break the 30,000 person mark for attendance at a single game, or whenever I hear that the Twins are expecting a big crowd for a particular game, it always 1) makes me happy since I want the Twins to be successful and 2) I always think, "They had better win." Because whenever there is a big game in terms of attendance I always think the Twins are going to play poorly. It may be my Norwegian pessimism, but my impression of the Twins is that they do not play well, they do not win regularly, when they are playing in front of a big home crowd.
Take this weekend for example. They stunk it up against the White Sox by losing the first two and winning the last thanks to the heroics of Santana and Hunter. And the crowds were huge! They drew over 118,000 fans for the three games making this the biggest opening day weekend in 9 years. In my mind, though, the fans were not rewarded for coming out to the ballpark. Another obvious example of their attendance-based futility are the playoffs where the Twins have only won two out of eight home playoff games in 3 years. That sucks.
So, in order to get to the bottom of this I decided to take a look at the Twins record in home games where the attendance was above 30,000 over the last 3 years (including playoff games). While the numbers aren't as bad as I thought they would be, they still aren't that good either:
|April 12, 2002||Detroit||W||48,244|
|April 20, 2002||Cleveland||W||30,146|
|May 10, 2002||Yankees||L||35,727|
|May 11, 2002||Yankees||L||43,465|
|May 12, 2002||Yankees||L||26,165|
|June 29, 2002||Milwaukee||L||30,125|
|June 30, 2002||Milwaukee||W||33,193|
|July 27, 2002||Toronto||W||40,306|
|July 28, 2002||Toronto||W||30,554|
|August 3, 2002||KC||W||32,567|
|August 4, 2002||KC||W||35,641|
|August 16, 2002||Boston||W||35,824|
|August 17, 2002||Boston||L||43,345|
|August 18, 2002||Boston||W||37,196|
|August 28, 2002||Seattle||W||31,414|
|Sept. 7, 2002||Oakland||L||43,628|
|Sept. 28, 2002||Chicago||W||32,072|
|Sept. 29, 2002||Chicago||W||31,270|
|October 4, 2002 (playoffs)||Oakland||L||55,932|
|October 5, 2002 (playoffs)||Oakland||W||55,960|
|October 8, 2002 (playoffs)||Angels||W||55,562|
|October 9, 2002 (playoffs)||Angels||L||55,990|
|April 4, 2003||Toronto||L||48,617|
|April 5, 2003||Toronto||L||31,421|
|April 18, 2003||Yankees||L||37,843|
|April 19, 2003||Yankees||L||36,139|
|August 13, 2003||Cleveland||L||30,082|
|August 21, 2003||KC||W||30,179|
|August 22, 2003||KC||L||36,101|
|August 23, 2003||KC||L||37,782|
|August 24, 2003||KC||W||34,265|
|Sept. 16, 2003||Chicago||W||32,921|
|Sept. 17, 2003||Chicago||W||40,304|
|Sept. 18, 2003||Chicago||W||39,948|
|Sept. 19, 2003||Detroit||W||30,013|
|Sept. 21, 2003||Detroit||W||33,396|
|Sept. 23, 2003||Cleveland||W||33,650|
|Sept. 24, 2003||Cleveland||W||32,986|
|October 4,2003 (playoffs)||Yankees||L||55,915|
|October 5, 2003 (playoffs)||Yankees||L||55,875|
|April 5, 2004||Cleveland||W||49,584|
|May 21, 2004||White Sox||L||30,116|
|July 30, 2004||Boston||L||34,263|
|July 31, 2004||Boston||W||40,283|
|August 1, 2004||Boston||W||38,751|
|August 17, 2004||Yankees||W||38,766|
|August 18, 2004||Yankees||W||41,125|
|August 19, 2004||Yankees||L||37,959|
|September 5, 2004||Royals||L||33,855|
|September 19, 2004||Baltimore||W||31,399|
|October 8, 2004 (playoffs)||Yankees||L||54,803|
|October 9, 2004 (playoffs)||Yankees||L||52,498|
|April 8, 2005||White Sox||L||48,764|
|April 9, 2005||White Sox||L||41,533|
According to the table above, the Twins have a record of 28 wins and 25 losses in home games where the attendance is over 30,000 over the last three years. So, they are barely breaking .500. This is not too bad, but it is also not very good at all. In addition, in games where the attendance mark breaks the 40,000 barrier, the Twins are an anemic 8-12. In other words, I just don't think the Twins are rewarding fans for coming out to the ballpark. I just don't think they play well in front of big home crowds. Are they nervous? Do they try too hard? The Twins may also be subliminally sending a message to fans that says if there is a big attendance the Twins will not perform well. Twins fans may also be sub-consciously thinking that they should stay away from the ballpark so that the Twins play better.
I know what a lot of you are thinking right now. That this is hogwash. And I would have to agree with you that it doesn't (that it shouldn't!) make sense. There are also, obviously, a lot of other factors involved when it comes to winning and losing a baseball game. But you gotta admit, fan attendance at Twins game as yet another factor is kind of interesting. So, what is a Twins fan to do about this startling data?
What the table above might also suggest is that we need to go out to the ballpark this year like never before if for nothing more than to get the Twins used to playing in front of big home crowds. Of the 252 home games (including last night) the Twins have played over the last 3 years, they have only drawn over 30,000 fans 53 times. That in itself is a problematic number as compared with the rest of MLB. However, what I think it suggests more is that as fans we need to get over our hatred of the Metrodome and our desire to be outside and start going to more baseball games. We need to start giving the Twins more big home crowds so that when playoff time comes they are used to playing in front of more than 18,000 people.
Anyway, thanks for stopping by today. And I'm sorry if you don't share my passion for attendance numbers. As always, I just gotta be me.
Posted by snackeru at April 11, 2005 7:14 AM | Twins
I would say the most important part of this is that by-in-large these games were all against some of the better teams in the league. The Twins are winning nearly 53% of their home games against the best teams in the league, which maps out to nearly 86 wins in a full season. Not that bad against the quality teams they are playing.
Disregard the fact that they should win more often at home. :)
Posted by: bjhess at April 11, 2005 10:02 AM
Just to add a bit here, using Shane's list here is how the Twins do against teams over .500 and below .500 (not using the 2 games against the WS this year)
Over .500 14-14
Below .500 13-3
Just using the Yankees, the Twins are 2-6 regular season and 0-4 in playoffs. Given that just about every team has a problem with the Yankees, it would be unfair to penalize the Twins for that as well. Taking those games out they would be a home winning % of .675 in big crowd games. That is division winning percentages there.
I would think that Shane is focusing moreso on the Yanks as the mountain the Twins have to climb. Yes, it's depressing when the Twins get a large crowd and lose, but again a .675 winning % is great.
Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at April 11, 2005 11:43 AM
Craig, thanks for the comment. Yes, I was just thinking about the same thing at lunch, that perhaps my statistics show that the Twins have more of a problem with the Yankees than with big crowds. Ha! Thanks for looking it over. A .675 winning % is indeed very good for a baseball team.
Posted by: Shane at April 11, 2005 12:16 PM
Any discussion of the Twins home opening series this past weekend needs to discuss Fiday night's very special episode of the "Kiss Cam". Is this a PG rated blog or can we verge into PG13 rated territory and recap this for folks who were not at the opener. For me it ws the hightlight of the night (actually pretty easy to do considering the game).
Posted by: Jim in St. Paul at April 11, 2005 1:13 PM
OK, Jim, you have definitely piqued my interest. What happened with the Kiss Cam? I love the Kiss Cam so I look forward to your tale!
Posted by: Shane at April 11, 2005 2:14 PM
After a few standard kiss cam shots; the tentative peck by the seniors, maybe a full on kiss by a young couple, the camera focused on the next pair. Before the female of the pair even realized she was on kiss cam, the guy grabbed her head and shall we say directed it down to his lap. The reaction of the crowd was like did that really just happen? Luckily my 12 year old daughter was getting ice cream at the time. A few of us males in my section wondered how long that guy will be in the dog house.
Posted by: Jim in St. Paul at April 11, 2005 5:02 PM
Hilarious, Jim. My wife would divorce me, I think.
Posted by: Shane at April 11, 2005 9:52 PM
Refreshing statistical analysis (theres a statement not used much!)
Posted by: TwinsJunkie at April 12, 2005 6:42 PM