Baseball Esoterica

April 21, 2006

Another Big Start!

Sorry I haven't been posting...just got a new job.

I remember a couple of years ago when Kaz Matsui homered in his MLB first plate appearance, that was pretty cool. Then, last year, when he did it again, that was really cool. So I was looking forward to his return to the Mets lineup. First time up tonight? Not out of the park...but he circles the bases for an inside-the-parker! I don't have the data, but I bet no one's ever hit homers in his first plate appearance of the year three years in a row, never mind in his first three years. I mean, if Albert Pujols did it, nice--but Matsui is no home run hitter. This is a guy who hits a home run once every hundred plate appearances when not leading off the season. So the tally stands at: 3 homers in 3 first-of-the-year PA's, 8 homers in 805 non-first-of-the-year PA's. Wow. Interestingly, Matsui's trifecta occurred in the same game as Julio Franco becoming the oldest player to ever hit a homer.

Extra Esoterica
In 2004, Matsui went 88 plate appearances until his next homer. In 2005, it took him 110 plate appearances to hit another one.

April 03, 2006

What's So Special About Opening Day?

Happy Opening Day, aka, Christmas!

We're always hearing about team's won-lost records in season openers, like the Red Sox not having won since 2000, or the Mets being 27-9 since 1970. Yes, it's significant since it's the first game of the year, but looking at teams' records for Game 1 of the season is really no more significant than their records for Game 101. So, I decided to do just that: I have checked the handy-dandy database for the best records for any particular game of the season...and came up with a few awesomely Esoteric tidbits. Here are the top five (since 1960, as usual, for team games).

5. The best record in a particular game for teams that have played in every season, and for games that have been played in every season (the schedule expanded from 154 games to 162 in 1962) is 34-12 (.739), shared by three teams: the Dodgers in Game 62, the Braves in Game 77, and the Reds in game 103.

4. The Yankees are 7-0 in game 163, and 1-1 in Game 164. For the record, there have been 50 Game 163's and five Game 164's (not counting the LA-SF three game playoff in 1962. If you keep that in, there was actually one Game 165!). Oddly, in 1964, almost half of the 20 teams (nine) played in more than 162 games.

3. Despite their .397 winning percentage in all other games, Tampa Bay is a perfect 8-0 in Game 156's!

2. Colorado does even least Esoterically. Since their inception in 1993, they have never won the 21st game of the season, putting up a surprising (even for a bad team) 0-13 mark! Just for good measure, they're also 12-1 in Game 114!

1. Because of the sheer volume of baseball games played, there are always some nice outlier stats. Those are nice. Then there are the extreme cases, which are totally sweet and totally Esoteric! San Diego can proudly claim one of those extreme outliers. Here's why. Since their inception in 1969, they have played the 36th game of the season 37 times...and won...wait for it...five of them! Yep, that's an Esoterially rapturous 5-32 (.135) record. And that's even after winning that game last year. No one else really comes close. The second worst record (in at least 37 games) is Montreal/Washington with 8-29 (.216) record in Game 32.

So, you can see, the arbitrary Opening Day stuff doesn't really mean anything...but that doesn't mean it can't be fun!

Extra Esoterica
The team with the best worst-game-of-the-year record is Boston, whose worst is their not-so-terrible 18-28 (.391) mark in Game 93.