I am a fan of graphs (you can call me a GraphsFan) because when they are used properly, they can convey information efficiently and effectively. But they can be useless--and worst, misleading--when used in improper ways. Two months ago, I wrote about how Sportsnet, the sports network that carries Blue Jays broadcasts, have used horrible, horrible bar graphs this season, focusing on one that uses a single bar graph to compare four different statistics. Thankfully, I haven't noticed anything as egregious since that post, so good job, Sportsnet guys!
What they had kept on doing was to display pitchers' "scouting reports' (really their pitch distribution) as bar graphs. Take a look at this graphic from the September 24 broadcast:
What I don't understand about that graphic above is why Sportsnet chose to use a different typeface for "Splitter" than the rest of the graphic, but I guess that's not the point. Anyway, technically using a bar graph in this situation is not wrong (we display poll results like that), but unless there are too many categories, I think percentages are best perceived as segments on a pie chart. It not only shows how big each category is to the others, but it also clearly shows how big a segment is compared to the whole. So I'm glad to say that finally, with five games left in the regular season, Sportsnet's graphics folks have figured that out and produced this on the September 25 broadcast:
Thanks to Craig Chapman (@craigrwc) for posting the screencap.
See? Much better. Let's hope it stays that way.
Other things of note
- The Blue Jays have been having a lotta babies, which certainly brightens up this horrible season. Brendan Kennedy has pictures of little Kawasaki and little Loup. We're still waiting for Neil Wagner and Adam Lind to share theirs (and Rajai Davis too when his is born). Wouldn't it have been so cute for the Blue Jays to have won a World Series this year so all the babies could partake in the parade? In the piece, Kennedy asked Kawasaki why he gave his son "Airc" as a middle name, but he didn't ask whether Loup's daughter's middle name of "Harper" was named for Bryce or Stephen.
- In the "not news but fine I'll share it" category of links, Alex Anthopoulos is now publicly making it known that he knows how badly J.P. Arencibia has been this year, calling it a "prolonged funk." AA still thinks that starting pitching should be their focus, as they are second-last in the league in ERA.
- Elsewhere in the baseball universe, Michael Wacha lost a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth, on the 25th anniversary of Dave Stieb's failed bid.
- Interestingly, last week Bob Elliott noted that scout Tom Burns, who signed Brett Cecil among others, had left the club. Elliott also wrote that Burns was the 12th scout to leave the organization since Brian Parker was given the scouting director title last year. I know next to nothing about whether these scouts were good or bad or in between, but it is surprising to hear of such a high turnover rate. We can only hope that this is only a period of transition and that the Blue Jays would be able to find--and keep--quality scouting talent.
- Lastly, I found out that humanity took until 1801 to invent the pie chart (thanks, William Playfair).