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Directed Research
Rob Bratney • Tom Klinkowstein
The Problem

Baseball statistics are at the heart of understanding the
game of baseball, but the way in which they are currently
presented to a broadcast television audience create
unnecessary barriers to widespread comprehension.

What can Design do to create a more less prohibitive
environment, and make mass consumption of baseball
statistics easier?
The Hypothesis
This thesis presents the hypothesis that a system of simple,
interactive data-visualizations that use shape, size, and color to
represent some of major league baseball’s most basic statistical
measurements could be more effective at representing detailed
information to a wider broadcast television audience than the
current system of numbers and acronyms.
The statistical metrics that are currently presented during television
broadcasts rely heavily on numerical representations, and while
these traditional numbers are valuable, they can only be understood
by a limited few. Adding visual representations to the environment
of baseball statistics may help lower the current learning curve and
make baseball easier for more people to understand.
The Research Outline
I. Overview

What are baseball statistics, and how are they useful?
	 • Brief history of important people and events, etc.
	 • Commonly-used statistics today, traditionally
	 • Definition of several specific metrics, to be referenced
	 throughout
II. The Problem & Hypothesis

III. Analytical Statistics Companies Today and Their
Proprietary Software/Visuals

 Introduction to today’s baseball statistics landscape
		 1. Sportvision
			 PITCHf/x, HITf/x, FIELDf/x, COMMANDf/x,
			 Pitch Location & Stats, Virtual Advertising, MLB
			 At-Bat app
		 2. STATS
			 X-Info
		 3. Baseball Info Solutions
			 Defensive Runs Saved
IV. Current Statistical Visualizations Used/Developed by
Statisticians & Designers

Data-visualization tools by statisticians
	 • Gapminder Chart
	 • Chord Chart
	 • Milestones in the History of Statistical Graphics
	 • Visualization and Data Mining Software
	
By Designers
	 Nicholas Felton’s Annual Report
	 Flip Flop Fly Ball by Craig Robinson
	 Information Graphics by Sandra Rendgen
III. Applying the Visualizations Used By Statistics
Community to Baseball Statistics

IV. Using What Was Learned to Create Our Own, Better
Solutions
	 • Recontructing, then outlining visually-based approach
	 • Interactive graphic displays that show and tell
	 • Applying new approach to example pool of raw data
	 and in television broadcast
	 • Applying new system to television broadcast
V. Projections of Implementations for New Tool
	 • In Major League offices
	 • Online, fan sites
	 • Apps & proprietary software
	 • Television Broadcasts

V. Conclusion
Resource List

Baseball Stats (Definitions, history, and reference information):
	 • http://www.baseball-reference.com/
	 • http://www.fangraphs.com/library/
	 • http://www.baseballprospectus.com/

Data Visualization Tools:
	 • Chord Chart
	 • Statistical Graphics Throughout History http://www.
	 datavis.ca/milestones/
	 • Gapminder
	 • Data Mining and Visualization Software: http://www.	
	 kdnuggets.com/software/visualization.html
Infographic Designers
	 • Nicholas Feltron’s Annual Report
	 • Flip Flop Fly Ball by Craig Robison
	 • Information Graphics by Sandra Rendgen

Data Visualizations in Baseball Today
	 STATS, Inc.’s X-Info
	 Sportvision
Books
• The Numbers Game: Baseball’s Lifelong Fascination with
Statistics by Alan Schwarz. 2005
• Moneyball by Michael Lewis. 2003
• Baseball Between The Numbers: Why Everything You Know
• About The Game Is Wrong by The Baseball Prospectus
Team of Experts. 2007
• The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract by Bill
James. 2003
• The Graphical Player by John Burnson. 2010
• Flip Flop Fly Ball by Craig Robison
• Information Graphics by Sandra Rendgen

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20120706 dir res_pres4_02

  • 1. Directed Research Rob Bratney • Tom Klinkowstein
  • 2. The Problem Baseball statistics are at the heart of understanding the game of baseball, but the way in which they are currently presented to a broadcast television audience create unnecessary barriers to widespread comprehension. What can Design do to create a more less prohibitive environment, and make mass consumption of baseball statistics easier?
  • 3. The Hypothesis This thesis presents the hypothesis that a system of simple, interactive data-visualizations that use shape, size, and color to represent some of major league baseball’s most basic statistical measurements could be more effective at representing detailed information to a wider broadcast television audience than the current system of numbers and acronyms. The statistical metrics that are currently presented during television broadcasts rely heavily on numerical representations, and while these traditional numbers are valuable, they can only be understood by a limited few. Adding visual representations to the environment of baseball statistics may help lower the current learning curve and make baseball easier for more people to understand.
  • 4. The Research Outline I. Overview What are baseball statistics, and how are they useful? • Brief history of important people and events, etc. • Commonly-used statistics today, traditionally • Definition of several specific metrics, to be referenced throughout
  • 5. II. The Problem & Hypothesis III. Analytical Statistics Companies Today and Their Proprietary Software/Visuals Introduction to today’s baseball statistics landscape 1. Sportvision PITCHf/x, HITf/x, FIELDf/x, COMMANDf/x, Pitch Location & Stats, Virtual Advertising, MLB At-Bat app 2. STATS X-Info 3. Baseball Info Solutions Defensive Runs Saved
  • 6. IV. Current Statistical Visualizations Used/Developed by Statisticians & Designers Data-visualization tools by statisticians • Gapminder Chart • Chord Chart • Milestones in the History of Statistical Graphics • Visualization and Data Mining Software By Designers Nicholas Felton’s Annual Report Flip Flop Fly Ball by Craig Robinson Information Graphics by Sandra Rendgen
  • 7. III. Applying the Visualizations Used By Statistics Community to Baseball Statistics IV. Using What Was Learned to Create Our Own, Better Solutions • Recontructing, then outlining visually-based approach • Interactive graphic displays that show and tell • Applying new approach to example pool of raw data and in television broadcast • Applying new system to television broadcast
  • 8. V. Projections of Implementations for New Tool • In Major League offices • Online, fan sites • Apps & proprietary software • Television Broadcasts V. Conclusion
  • 9. Resource List Baseball Stats (Definitions, history, and reference information): • http://www.baseball-reference.com/ • http://www.fangraphs.com/library/ • http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ Data Visualization Tools: • Chord Chart • Statistical Graphics Throughout History http://www. datavis.ca/milestones/ • Gapminder • Data Mining and Visualization Software: http://www. kdnuggets.com/software/visualization.html
  • 10. Infographic Designers • Nicholas Feltron’s Annual Report • Flip Flop Fly Ball by Craig Robison • Information Graphics by Sandra Rendgen Data Visualizations in Baseball Today STATS, Inc.’s X-Info Sportvision
  • 11. Books • The Numbers Game: Baseball’s Lifelong Fascination with Statistics by Alan Schwarz. 2005 • Moneyball by Michael Lewis. 2003 • Baseball Between The Numbers: Why Everything You Know • About The Game Is Wrong by The Baseball Prospectus Team of Experts. 2007 • The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract by Bill James. 2003 • The Graphical Player by John Burnson. 2010 • Flip Flop Fly Ball by Craig Robison • Information Graphics by Sandra Rendgen