Archive for Chart or Graph

Inserting Derek Jeter into the 20 Basic Plots of All Fiction

New Needs

In 1970, American psychologist Abraham Maslow presented the amended version of his Hierarchy of Needs pictured here. For a number of reasons — like, for example, how slowly retiring Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter hadn’t even been born yet — the work was dismissed as the product of senility. Maslow would die of a heart attack in June of that year, the original iteration of Hierarchy the only one to outlive him.

A black-and-white Gatorade commercial released today, however, confirms what was obvious to the prescient Maslow four decades ago and has become ever more clear during the Captain’s 20-year career — namely, that there seems to exist a deep and pressing need to render into glowing narrative terms the works and days of Derek Jeter.

With a view, then, to helping the whole world perform this vital act more ably, the editors of NotGraphs have produced the following — that is, a summary of Ronald Tobias’s 20 basic plot structures featuring Derek Jeter’s name inserted into all of them, with a view to increasing both the quantity and quality of Jeter narratives of the future.

1. Quest
Derek Jeter searches for something, someone, or somewhere. In reality, he may be searching for himself, with the outer journey mirrored internally. He may be joined by a companion, who takes care of minor details and whose limitations contrast with Derek Jeter‘s greater qualities.

2. Adventure
Derek Jetergoes on an adventure, much like in a quest, but with less of a focus on the end goal or the personal development of Derek Jeter. In the adventure, there is more action for action’s sake.

3. Pursuit
In this plot, the focus is on the chase, with one person chasing Derek Jeter (and perhaps with multiple and alternating chases). Derek Jeter may be often cornered and somehow escape, so that the pursuit can continue. Depending on the story, Derek Jeter may be caught or may escape.

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Using Statistics to Forecast the Death of Baseball

In the idyllic indie film Terminator 2: Judgment Day, director James Cameron tells the story of Skynet, a computer which has been created to ease the tedious labor of a shambling, bone-weary humanity. Skynet is doing great, fixing routine traffic congestion and playing Zaxxon, until it attains self-awareness on August 29, 1997 and proceeds to nearly eradicate all life (if not for a couple of meddling humans). Though much of the film was realistic, particularly in its depiction of how cool mercury looks, this particular plot point was hard to swallow. After all, computers have been ruining things long before 1997.

Take chess, for example. Chess has beguiled and tormented the great figures of history since it evolved from shatranj in the thirteenth century. For seven hundred years, people played chess according to various “styles”, having “fun” by playing risky gambits and discovering breathtaking and unforeseen combinations. This means they were playing suboptimally. Once the computer arrived, it took only a handful of decades to distill the game down to the memorization of thirty-five move opening books and a demand for a heartless positional struggle slithering toward an inevitable rook-and-pawn endgame.


Deep Blue and his pals aren’t necessarily killing baseball, because baseball is doing that itself, with its three true outcomes and five-hour games. But they do open up the possibilities of statistical calculation, which previously demanded far more arithmetic than the average person could do by candlelight. Now we can dump all the numbers of existence into a single spreadsheet, spend half an hour formatting the data, and arrive at the horrible truths that await us in a previously mystifying and vaguely interesting future.

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Default Excel Chart: Top MLB Payrolls by Croatian Kuna

Kuna Chart 2

Despite having joined the European Union at the beginning of last July, Croatia remains excluded from the Schengen Area — a place both different from and also similar to the Swimsuit Area. As a result, the citizens of that same proud republic (i.e. Croatia) still conduct their money business by means of the kuna.

Apropos of his recent visit to Croatia, the author has produced a default Excel chart of the top-five MLB payrolls as expressed in either kuna or maybe kune, the latter representing the plural nominative form of the relevant noun.

Somewhere over 1.25 billion kuna, is how much the Dodgers are currently spending on their roster — enough, that, to purchase approximately 18.75 million liters of travarica, a strong herbal liqueur, from Caffe Bar Lero, located in central Zadar.

Graph: Hours Played of Sports Video Game vs. Shame, By Age


The author, a person in his mid-30s, has recently (i.e. today) allocated what might reasonably be called a “shameful” number of his waking hours to a sports-related video game. What video game — or even what sport, precisely — is beside the point. The point is that the author has also hastily fashioned, by way of free graphics-editing software, the graph pictured here, which depicts certain findings the author has found.

Dirty, dirty science, is what we have on all our hands now.

For Reference: Mordecai Brown vs. Django Reinhardt

Django Brown Chart
Totally click, totally embiggen.

In his film Annie Hall, Woody Allen (playing Alvy Singer) suggests to Diane Keaton (playing his ladyfriend and the title character, Annie) that “life is divided up into the horrible and the miserable. Those are the two categories.”

He continues:

The horrible would be like terminal cases, you know? And blind people, crippled. I don’t know how they get through life. It’s amazing to me, you know. And the miserable is everyone else. That’s all. So when you go through life you should be thankful that you’re miserable, because that’s — you’re very lucky to be miserable.

One might reasonably assume that — per Allen’s definition — that losing function/the entirety of one’s digit(s) would place the victim of such a misfortune among that class known as the Horrible. Indeed, perhaps in many cases, this is the result. In the dual cases of great right-hander Mordecai Brown and great jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, however, such an injury actually facilitated invention and greatness.

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Solve This Math Equation

These numbers appear on our website in different places, and the equation makes sense, if not math sense. Do you know what this means?

10.7 (24.7 + 23.4) = 4:19

Rejected FanGraphs Spin-Offs

A few months back, Rotographs editor and Fangraphs writer Eno Sarris created Beergraphs, a site dedicated to the analytics of beer. It’s a fantastic site, focusing on beer stories (“Barely Beer”) and the analysis of user beer ratings, trends, ingredients and more (“Beergraphs”).

The site uses some of the Fangraphs intelligence and means of evaluating baseball players to evaluate and rate beers. If you consider the connection that exists between beer and baseball – whether that be drinking at the park or drinking away your sorrows – it’s a logical spin-off.

What many people don’t know, though, is that this wasn’t the first spin-off idea that was tossed out there. For every “Fraser” there are some “Joey”s. Thanks to some internal emails the powers that be thought were destroyed, I was able to find out what these rejected spin-offs were.

Synopsis: Analyzing the sales volume of ballpark snacks.

Sample graph:

Reason rejected: 100 percent of husbands and wives vetoed the idea for a “Super Size Me” style feature on eating nothing but Boomsticks for a month.

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Every Major-League Ballpark, Ranked by Walk Score

About an hour ago, the present author published a post in these absurd electronic pages in which he attempted to assess objectively the relative merits of all 30 major-league ballparks by location using the population density of each park’s attendant zip code.

About 59 minutes ago, concerned reader The Wrong Alex (and also other concerned reader Bryan) suggested that perhaps using Walk Scores (from might be the most effective proxy for what the author is attempting to represent. A Walk Score, according to the relevant site, “is a number between 0 and 100 that measures the walkability of any address.”

And here’s a more detailed explanation of the significance of different scores:

Rating Image

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Rating Ballpark Locations Objectively: A Very Crude Attempt

See the updated version of these ratings using Walk Score here.

Last night, the author attended with his wife/PCA an independent Frontier League game between the Schaumburg Boomers and Traverse City Beach Bums at the latter’s home park in Traverse City, Michigan. While so doing, that same author and that same wife stumbled into a discussion of what ballparks — major-league or otherwise — might be said to have the most appealing locations. Wrigley Field, for example, is excellent in this regard: it’s situated in a lively urban neighborhood, surrounded by bars and restaurants*, and is accessible by public transit — more easily than by car, in fact. From the author’s experience, much the same can be said for Fenway Park in Boston and San Francisco’s AT&T Park. Angels Stadium, on the other hand — as with any park surrounded entirely by parking lot — offers little in terms of this sort of ambiance.

*Although, it should be noted, not necessarily bars a reasonable person would find him- or herself patronizing.

It occurred to the author that there might be a means by which to assess objectively the relative merits of a ballpark’s location. The table below — of all 30 major-league ballparks sorted by the population density of their relevant zip codes — represents an entirely preliminary and very crude attempt at doing that. The author’s reasoning is thus: areas with many bars, other sorts of businesses, etc., tend also to be densely populated; areas that are surrounded by parking lots and accessible almost exclusively by car will tend to be less densely populated.

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An Annotated Google Trends Chart for FanGraphs

FG Trend

For reference.