May 5, 2012
Sketches: How Mariano Rivera Compares to Baseball’s Best Closers

One of the best things about working at a newspaper is that you can come into work and do something different every day. Yesterday I had planned on spending the day doing some longer-term work in preparation for the Olympics and generally phoning it in Friday-style when a handful of us got assigned a daily – a graphic that looked back on Mariano Rivera’s career in light of his A.C.L. injury on Thursday. I was totally going to do an insane 3D-video that analyzed his cutter, but apparently someone did that already, so we went with charts instead. I looked at saves over time of top pitchers while my colleague Tom Giratikanon, who just started this week, compared Rivera across different categories.

We had a broad idea for what we were going for, which Matt Ericson sketched out by hand:

matte drawing

I scraped the data for the players with the most saves from baseball-reference.com (using an old template Shan Carter made using hpricot, which I learned is now “over”), then sketched the top 250 or so in R. This only takes a couple seconds to read about,  but it was in fact at least two hours of screws ups and swearing before I saw this chart:

first chart

Which eventually turned to this (we export odd colors to pick them up easily in Adobe Illustrator):

preprint

And the final print version:

Final print

Online, we took basically the same approach, except we wanted to make them interactive, so Shan Carter pitched in some D3 expertise and Tom made his in Raphael, and six painless hours later, after all the programming, browser checking, conditional loading (which might not be a term) and Matt Ericson VPNing in from New Jersey to fix everything, we had a nice interactive, mostly mobile-friendly graphic:

web

Our approach wasn’t revolutionary or anything – in fact, Amanda and I used an identical charting form to chart home runs a couple years ago – but the package worked well, and if anything, Rivera stands out more in the saves chart than Barry Bonds does in the homers chart. And it was a promising start to the possibility of turning around this kind of work on deadline. 

  1. woodguarded reblogged this from chartsnthings
  2. zipmale reblogged this from chartsnthings
  3. pumpedrugby reblogged this from chartsnthings
  4. gearsbrick reblogged this from chartsnthings
  5. spikypint reblogged this from chartsnthings
  6. harmonyhome1 reblogged this from chartsnthings
  7. mongoosesun reblogged this from chartsnthings
  8. umpireswan reblogged this from chartsnthings
  9. spoilnodule reblogged this from chartsnthings
  10. famousknee reblogged this from chartsnthings
  11. comparesheds reblogged this from chartsnthings
  12. bloatshock reblogged this from chartsnthings
  13. shushslow reblogged this from chartsnthings
  14. summerycrate reblogged this from chartsnthings
  15. ticketstosh reblogged this from chartsnthings
  16. bundlestubbed reblogged this from chartsnthings
  17. acrobatcompany reblogged this from chartsnthings
  18. magmaburnt reblogged this from chartsnthings
  19. nebulousegad reblogged this from chartsnthings
  20. brandyrapid reblogged this from chartsnthings
  21. bootygerman reblogged this from chartsnthings
  22. upbeatmiss reblogged this from chartsnthings
  23. greedyheating reblogged this from chartsnthings
  24. bootsneigh reblogged this from chartsnthings
  25. hairyscared reblogged this from chartsnthings
  26. chartsnthings posted this