Remember lichens? Those organisms you learned about in biology that form as a partnership between fungi and algae in which both benefit? I would argue that a new such mutualistic symbiotic relationship has formed: the one between the Atlanta Braves and Waffle House. Long a revered Southern institution, Waffle House was installed at Turner Field last Friday (though it’s rumored after last week’s ankle injury that Tim Hudson prefers IHOP). Since then, the Braves have been on a tear, winning six straight, including a sweep of the (at the time) red-hot St. Louis Cardinals. Coincidence? I think not! As always, let’s take a look at the numbers.
The following charts will be broken up into two distinct periods: the first 102 games (“pre-WaHo”) and the past six games (“post-WaHo”). We’ll start with the bottom line.
If the numbers are to be believed (and Numbers Never Lie, right ESPN?) then the Braves, a strong team already pre-Waho, are now unbeatable post-WaHo. It remains to be seen if this is merely a home game effect, however. It’s also possible that the Braves are playing similar baseball post-WaHo compared to pre-WaHo and are fortunately getting better results. To investigate, let’s dig deeper into the components that drive wins: run scoring and run prevention.