As we’ll hear today from SMU alum and Fox 4 weekend sports anchor Edward Egros, more news organizations (and even major sports leagues!) are using data to engage their audiences and to help people explore things for themselves.
During class today, we’ll dive into data ourselves, splitting into small groups for a short exercise:
Which playoff matchup favors the Texas Rangers? The Toronto Blue Jays host the Baltimore Orioles in tonight’s American League Wild Card game. The Wild Card winner travels to Texas to face the Rangers on Thursday and Friday. For the next 10-15 minutes, your group’s mission is to research statistical trends for the Rangers, Blue Jays and Orioles and then agree as a group on your best educated answer: Which team should the Rangers want to play on Thursday, and why? Is one team more prone to strikeouts than the other? How did each team fare on the road during the regular season? Which team plays better during the day compared to at night, on grass versus turf, etc.? A few resources you may want to consult:
- The playoff schedule
- MLB.com’s sortable statistics page
- Baseball-Reference.com’s 2016 American League Statistics
- One amazing fact about every playoff team.
Once you’ve settled on your answer, discuss how you could visualize the data in a way that other sports fans can understand. Pick a spokesperson to share your group’s pick, rationale and ideas for visual presentation.