Thursday, September 26, 2013

Opening Day Minutiae

I feel like making with the silly sports statistics today. What I've opted to do is examine the age-old phenomenon of Opening Day. Always one of the big showpieces of a season, often a place where the league wants high-profile games and, hopefully, the fanbases that are most up for kicking off the new season. You always hope things get off with the biggest possible bang.

But then, there is also the matter of being fair to the teams in the league and not grossly overvaluing one over the other. The New York Yankees may be a much higher-profile draw than, say, the Milwaukee Brewers, but both are teams in the league nonetheless and both should, at the end of the day, be treated as equally as possible.

On that, the stat we're displaying is simple: whether each team in the five major North American leagues has opened their latest season at home or on the road, and how many consecutive years they have done so. (In the case of the NBA and NHL, which have new seasons upcoming, we'll use those schedules.) There is the occasional season in which a league decides to start their season overseas or otherwise on a neutral site; in these cases, it's counted how the league counts it. If it's a baseball game played in Japan, the team batting second is still the home team.

Ideally, you're hoping for something of a coinflip-looking spread. You'll get some streaks of 3 and 4 and 5 just assigning dates at random, but past 5, it may be time to start thinking about equalization and sending perpetual home teams on the road or letting perpetual road teams open at home.

Typically, that looks to happen. There are a few exceptions, though.

MLB (as of 2013 season)

23- Cincinnati Reds (deceptively low, actually; the Reds have always opened at home save for in 1990, when a work stoppage wiped out the first week of the schedule; 1966, when the opening series got rained out; and 1888, when lo and behold they were actually scheduled to open on the road against the Kansas City Cowboys)
4- Tampa Bay Rays
4- Oakland Athletics
2- New York Mets
2- Houston Astros
2- Arizona Diamondbacks
2- Pittsburgh Pirates
2- Milwaukee Brewers
1- Toronto Blue Jays
1- Washington Nationals
1- Atlanta Braves
1- Los Angeles Dodgers
1- Minnesota Twins
1- New York Yankees
1- Chicago White Sox

5- Seattle Mariners
4- San Francisco Giants
3- Boston Red Sox
2- Philadelphia Phillies
2- Colorado Rockies
2- St. Louis Cardinals
2- Kansas City Royals
1- Miami Marlins
1- Cleveland Indians
1- Detroit Tigers
1- Chicago Cubs
1- San Diego Padres
1- Baltimore Orioles
1- Los Angeles Angels
1- Texas Rangers
NFL (as of 2013 season)

4- Chicago Bears
4- Kansas City Chiefs
4- New York Jets
3- Cleveland Browns
3- Denver Broncos
2- Detroit Lions
2- New York Giants
2- New Orleans Saints
1- St. Louis Rams
1- Washington
1- Buffalo Bills
1- Seattle Seahawks
1- San Francisco 49ers
1- Pittsburgh Steelers
1- Indianapolis Colts
1- San Diego Chargers

6- Dallas Cowboys
4- Atlanta Falcons
4- Cincinnati Bengals
4- Carolina Panthers
3- Philadelphia Eagles
3- New England Patriots
2- Miami Dolphins
2- Jacksonville Jaguars
1- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1- Minnesota Vikings
1- Houston Texans
1- Arizona Cardinals
1- Tennessee Titans
1- Green Bay Packers
1- Baltimore Ravens
1- Oakland Raiders
NHL (as of 2013/14 season)

5- Boston Bruins
4- Minnesota Wild
4- St. Louis Blues
3- Dallas Stars
2- Montreal Canadiens
2- Philadelphia Flyers
1- Phoenix Coyotes
1- Carolina Hurricanes
1- Chicago Blackhawks
1- Colorado Avalanche
1- Pittsburgh Penguins
1- Detroit Red Wings
1- San Jose Sharks
1- Columbus Blue Jackets
1- Edmonton Oilers

5- New York Rangers
4- Anaheim Ducks
3- Ottawa Senators
2- Washington Capitals
2- New Jersey Devils
2- Toronto Maple Leafs
1- Florida Panthers
1- Los Angeles Kings
1- Nashville Predators
1- New York Islanders
1- Tampa Bay Lightning
1- Vancouver Canucks
1- Winnipeg Jets
1- Buffalo Sabres
1- Calgary Flames
NBA (as of 2013/14 season)

8- Los Angeles Lakers
5- Cleveland Cavaliers
3- New York Knicks
3- Phoenix Suns
2- Utah Jazz
2- Philadelphia 76ers
2- New Orleans Pelicans
2- Detroit Pistons
2- Toronto Raptors
2- Miami Heat
1- Dallas Mavericks
1- Sacramento Kings
1- Houston Rockets
1- San Antonio Spurs
1- Golden State Warriors
1- Indiana Pacers
1- Minnesota Timberwolves

29- Milwaukee Bucks
3- Memphis Grizzlies
3- Denver Nuggets
3- Boston Celtics
2- Washington Wizards
2- Oklahoma City Thunder
1- Chicago Bulls
1- Los Angeles Clippers
1- Portland Trail Blazers
1- Atlanta Hawks
1- Charlotte Bobcats
1- Orlando Magic
1- Brooklyn Nets
MLS (as of 2013 season)

16- FC Dallas (since inception)
5- San Jose Earthquakes
5- Chivas USA
5- Seattle Sounders (since inception)
3- Vancouver Whitecaps (since inception)
2- Los Angeles Galaxy
1- Houston Dynamo
1- Philadelphia Union

7- Toronto FC (since inception)
6- Chicago Fire
5- New England Revolution
5- Real Salt Lake
3- Sporting Kansas City
3- Columbus Crew
2- Portland Timbers
2- New York Red Bulls
2- Montreal Impact (since inception)
1- Colorado Rapids
1- DC United

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