Posted by mike in Predictions,Sports at 8:20 pm on October 6, 2009

Fan Stats
Last year, I claimed that I watch about 130 Cubs games a year, and listen to another 25 or so. After writing that, I got curious as to what the actual numbers were, so this past season, I kept track. I present here, then, my personal “fan stats” for the 2009 season. Of the 161 games my team played, I followed 143 of them (for a “fan rate” of 89%, a bit less than the 95% I’d estimated last year—though, I think somewhat understandably, I was more interested in the team last year than I was this year). The breakdown of the games I followed goes like this:

  • I watched 116 games on TV, most thanks to the MLB Extra Innings package
  • I listened to 20 games on XM radio, either at work, at home, or in the car
  • For 2 games, I watched half on TV and listened to the other half in the car on XM
  • I listened to 2 games on AM radio while driving between Chicago and Champaign
  • I attended 3 games: one in Chicago, and two in San Francisco

And the games I missed can be summed up like so:

  • I missed 8 games due to the Fox Saturday monopoly on baseball and the resultant blackouts (this number would’ve been higher, but I sometimes listen on XM on Saturdays while working on something around the house)
  • I missed 5 games due to being on vacation, traveling, etc (including one on my wedding day—although I was able to catch a couple of innings backstage before the big event got underway)
  • I missed 2 games because my DirecTV DVR randomly screwed up recording them, for no apparent reason
  • I missed 3 games towards the end of the season, when the Cubs were eliminated from playoff contention, out of sheer indifference

I don’t know if anybody besides me finds this interesting or not, but I’d love to hear similar “stats” from other fans. If you’re a baseball fan, consider keeping track of how you follow your team for the 2010 season—I’d love for you to share the results with me here at the end of next season. (I just kept a text file in my home directory, and added a line for each game; the summaries above are then easily obtained by using grep.)

Regular Season Reflections
My pre-season predictions were quite a ways off the mark this year. I went out on a limb where I shouldn’t have, and didn’t stick with what I should’ve known in too many cases. I only picked 2 correct playoff teams in the AL, and 1 in the NL. Here’s a brief division-by-division summary of how the season went:

  • NL West: I had the Dodgers picked to win the division, and they did. I also correctly picked the NL Wild Card to come out of this division, and the Giants almost proved that you can do that with pitching alone, but not quite. Instead it was the Rockies who took the last NL playoff spot (and they actually contended for the division title, but finished 3 games behind LA).
  • NL Central: My “third time’s a charm” mentality for the Cubs didn’t pan out, as their off-season moves proved to be as damaging as they could’ve been. The Cardinals led the division for most of the year, with the Cubs only briefly sniffing at first place before trailing off quietly.
  • NL East: I was probably more wrong about the Mets than any other team, who were mostly out of it right from the start. The Phillies rode the momentum of their World Series win from last year for another strong season. I also underestimated the Marlins, who ended up being somewhat involved in the Wild Card race.
  • AL West: I couldn’t have been more wrong about the Angels, who cruised to another division title. The Rangers did, as predicted, make a push, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
  • AL Central: The White Sox were never truly in the race, instead giving way to the Twins and Tigers to play a 163rd game to decide the division (the second year in a row for the Twins, this time with better results).
  • AL East: While I had the Yankees taking the Wild Card, I completely underestimated their ability to rebound from a thoroughly disappointing season last year. Instead they were the best team in baseball, winning 103 games and walking away with the division. The Red Sox did take the Wild Card.

I suppose the one thing to hang my hat on was picking the two divisions that the Wild Cards came out of, meaning my judgment of the 6 MLB divisions as a whole wasn’t very far off, even if my appraisal of the individual teams proved to be less than accurate.

Playoff Predictions
I said before the season started that I thought it’d be the Dodgers over the Red Sox in the World Series, and while that still remains a possibility, I’m not so sure how likely it is. Here are my picks for the round-by-round playoff matchups:

  • NLDS: Colorado Rockies vs. Philadelphia Phillies
    The Rockies finished the season strong, but the Phillies are more experienced and have the home-field advantage. I think it’ll be a close series, but the Phillies will take it in 5.
  • NLDS: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
    The Dodgers really seem to have backed their way into the playoffs, while the Cardinals have only been looking stronger and stronger the second half of the season. I think they’ll win it in 4.
  • ALDS: Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees
    The Twins are likely happy just to have snuck into the postseason, but I think they’ll have enough momentum to win a game and avoid the sweep. The Yankees are just too strong all around, though, and they’ll win it in 4.
  • ALDS: Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    Is this the year the Angels finally get past the Red Sox in the playoffs? Don’t count on it. I think it’ll be yet another sweep.
  • NLCS: Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals
    The Phillies had a great run last postseason, but the Cardinals are a team you can never count out in October—I’m just not sure if it’s because of, or despite Tony La Russa. Either way, I think they take the series in 6.
  • ALCS: Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
    In this familiar match-up, I think the age of the Red Sox will give way to the new-look mix of youthful talent and proven veterans that the Yankees field. It wouldn’t be baseball if a Sox-Yankees series didn’t go the distance, though, so I’m predicting it to take all 7.
  • World Series: St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Yankees
    The Yankees have been the dominant team in baseball all season, and with their pitching staff, well-rounded lineup, and home-field advantage, I think they’ll ride it all the way to a championship. The Cardinals will put up a bit of a fight, but not enough to get past game 5.

If the above predictions hold true, I won’t be watching very closely. That’s pretty much a summary of how I’ve felt about the whole 2009 season, though, so it’d only be appropriate.

Comments (5)

5 Responses to “Baseball 2009 In Summary”:

  • Comment by Mark J. at 8:44 pm on October 9, 2009

    No Sox sweep of the Angels, although at this stage (Game 2, 7th innning) a sweep by the Angels is a possibility. Sox bats have been pitifully quiet for all but one inning of the last 25 post-season innings.

  • Comment by Mark J. at 8:01 pm on October 10, 2009

    Surprises already. I expected the Cards to do much better also, and now they’re gone. Tomorrow may be it for the Sox as well.

  • Comment by Mark J. at 1:03 pm on October 11, 2009

    Yep, El Sweepo. Thanks a ton Papelblown. Sox just couldn’t get it done when it counted. At least now I won’t care about missing the post-season while we’re away for two weeks.

  • Yeah, these playoffs are turning out to be even less interesting than I thought they’d be.

  • Comment by Mark J. at 8:41 am on October 13, 2009

    Could end up being an all-LA series. Won’t that ruin viewership with the games being played at 10PM ET.