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Baseball Enjoyment Index Revisited


I've been thinking about my Enjoyment Index again. For those who don't know, I want to make a predictive model to try to determine how many people will show up to a Padres game at Petco. The way I figure it, the more people that show up to the games (as a percentage of capacity), the more enjoyment we've received. This is all I want from the Padres. Enjoyment.

The correlation between attendance and enjoyment isn't proven (I'm not in front of any numbers), but seems to me like a pretty good assumption. People vote with their dollars.

I know right away some of you are saying, "You're a retard, Dex. All a team needs to do to make people show up is win games." And that's obviously wrong. Look at teams like the Braves or the Marlins. They've had winning seasons in front of empty stadiums. I mean, when the Braves can't even sell out playoff games, there's something more to it than just wining and losing. Maybe the Braves marketing wasn't good. Maybe people don't like watching dominant pitchers.

Granted, winning percentage is a huge factor, so we won't discount it, but all I'm saying is that you can't only rely on it.

Intrigued!? ME TOO. All kinds of ramblings after the jump.

It would also be helpful to know (if you're in the front office), what factors go into making any particular game well attended. First off, knowing what factors contribute to attendance (and particularly enjoyment) give you a good idea of what to do more of. Also, if we can be predictive, we can have a better understanding of how many resources any particular game might need. Ballparks should never run out of hot dogs. That right there showed everything that was wrong with the Sandy Alderson run years is the fact that Petco Park ran out of hot dogs more than once.

OK. So we're almost, but not quite convinced that we want to try to make this model. What are the factors that would go into the model? I'm writing without access to any stats right now, so I can't confirm the numbers. Better to come up with hypothesis first. First off, let's look at factors that the Padres can't really control. I'll list what comes off the top of my head and roughly in the order of how much I think they'll contribute to the model:

1. Winning Percentage - The closer the team is to 1.000, the more likely people will want to attend games.

2. Day of the Week - My guess in order of best attended games: Saturday, Friday, Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Tuesday, Monday.

3. Start time - I'm guessing night games are better attended than day games.

4. Opponent - We get lots of visiting fans in San Diego, but I'm assuming that lots of true Padres fans are kinda like me and not intimidated by the opposing fans. Also, there's no denying that Padres fans get a little more into when they're being riled by out of towners. Off hand I'm thinking the NL fans that contribute most to the visitor numbers: Dodgers, Cubs, Giants, Cardinals, Mets. Arizona when they're having good

Those first four are what are probably most obvious to people and also things we would figure are out of the team's control. If this were a SWOT analysis, those would be our opportunities and threats. You can't guarantee more people on a Saturday night game against the Dodgers when the Padres are 25-5, but it's the best opportunity to get lots of people into the seats.

Similarly, a Monday day game against the Royals while the Padres are 6-24 is an opportunity for a nice nap at the ballpark, uninterrupted by noise or passersby.

Some of the things that would be obvious to some, but not others (also in the realm of opportunities and threats):

5. Last 10 results - People are more likely to jump onto a winning streak bandwagon.

6. Milestone games - People are going to show up if there's a chance that something awesome is going to happen.

Incidentally, this number 6 is the strategy that I'm convinced the Padres were going for those years that they knew they weren't going to compete in the early 2000s, during that post WS / pre Petco period. You have Tony Gwynn finishing up a Hall of Fame career. You bring in Rickey Henderson and start touting all of the records he could break at any moment. People show up  for that and forget about the results of the games themselves.

7. Previous season winning percentage - The better we did the previous season, the more likely people are to wanting to relive the glory and fun.

8. Place in the standings - I'm pretty well convinced that this only kinda helps. People are more likely to go see a first place team, but they're also more likely to go see a third place team who's only a half game out of first place.

I'm sure I'm missing some data points here and there. What I'd like to look at next are the pieces of the puzzle that the Padres actually can control. We'll put them all together in a big ole regression analysis and then mix in some magic and we'll all be happy with the Padres forevs.