Statistics Prove It: Last Night’s Yankees Game was the Second-Worst Regular Season Game to Watch in Franchise History

After last night's games, fans of both teams featured here will be happy to hear that I've developed a new statistic to measure a much under-appreciated aspect of the game we all love: FAR*, or Fan Agony Rating adjusted for Torture Factor.

Unlike most stats, FAR* can be computed in multiple ways using different variables and I look forward to the iterations that others here might propose.  For now, inspired by the Yankees' performance last night, I'd like to focus on one – FAR* as calculated by:

 # of Base-rUnners in the gaMe for the team that ultimately loSt that game (which I'll call BUMS for ease of reference)  /  # of innings that game took to play; Adjusted by Torture Factor


Now a FAR of more than 1.5 is fairly high as it means in a 9-inning game you would have had upwards of 13 baserunners.  In a 16-inning game, 24 baserunners.  And yet, you lost.

But we're not done yet.  After all, some methods of losing are more agonizing than others.  Run differential is one consideration: if your team gives up 12 runs in the first inning, you pretty much know the outcome and can turn to better pursuits.  The band-aid has at least been ripped off quickly.  Run-production is another: if the game is a high-scoring affair, at least you got to watch some fireworks — your team's offense put on a show, even if the pitching and/or defense lost the game for them.  

BUT, if the game was tight the whole way and a low-scoring affair with tons of BUMS, it means your team was practically a single hit away from taking control of the game in pretty much every inning of that game.  FAR does not take that Torture Factor into account.  So we first cut off all games in which your team scored 4 or more runs and then we divide FAR for the remaining games by the ultimate run-differential in the game-score to yield FAR*. 

A FAR* of 1.5 or more is really pretty seriously agonizing, for you were perpetually on base, but ended up stranding an entire village on the basepads, and were really a single clutch hit away from being in the driver's seat all night long.

For practical application, consider last night's Yankee-Royals game:  21 BUMS/11 innings = a FAR of 1.91.  Wow.  With a final score of 4-3, the FAR* was also 1.91 last night.  Double wow.

For some historical perspective.  In the long and glorious history of the Yankees, only nine times (including last night) have they gotten 21 or more men on base and scored 3 or fewer runs.  They actually won three of those games so they are irrelevant to FAR calculations.  (Think of those as games that were frustrating to watch but hey, we won, so all's good)

We are then down to six losses in Yankee history with 21 or more BUMS and fewer than 3 runs scored, which I've listed below from highest Fan Agony Rating* to lowest:

May 21, 2006 vs. NY Mets: 21 BUMS / 9 innings = 2.33 FAR / 1-run loss = 2.33 FAR*

May 11, 2011 vs. Kansas City: 21 BUMS / 11 innings = 1.91 FAR / 1-run loss = 1.91 FAR*

Sept 25, 1925 vs. Milwaukee: 21 BUMS / 13 innings = 1.62 FAR / 1 run loss = 1.62 FAR*

July 20, 1998 vs. Detroit: 27 BUMS / 17 innings = 1.59 FAR / 1-run loss = 1.59 FAR*

Sept 3, 1963 vs. Detroit: 21 BUMS / 15 innings = 1.40 FAR / 1 run loss = 1.40 FAR*

June 5, 1989 vs. Baltimore: 21 BUMS / 9 innings = 2.33 FAR / 13-run loss = 0.18 FAR (practically FUN to watch!)

As you can see, only the 2006 game vs. their cross-town rivals was more painful to view than last night's debacle.

QED…

(and thanks to Paul for guidance on how to mine for such stats.)

8 comments… add one
  • This is great, IH! Is the takeaway that these always (or almost always) end in one-run losses? I guess because they are for mostly extra inning games that’s a more common outcome.
    As an architect I deal with FAR all the time. But for me this refers to “Floor Area Ratio”, which tells us how much area can be built on any given site. In NYC, say, an FAR of 5 on a lot that is 20×100 (2000sf) means that one can build 10,000sf of space.
    Just a stupid aside.

    SF May 12, 2011, 2:35 pm
  • The take-away for me is frankly some short-term much-needed therapy. At 11:15pm last night I hated myself for remaining glued to the game. And yet I couldn’t pull away. And like krueg, I awoke this morning still pissed. Finding a way to prove to myself statistically that I really wasn’t crazy and that last night really WAS especially awful viewing has allowed me to stop looking for cuddly creatures to kick today.
    Interesting architectural aside. The cross-references are everywhere. For instance, when I read “10,000sf”, I run the other way :)

    IronHorse (YF) May 12, 2011, 2:44 pm
  • I don’t need your fancy pantsy stats to tell me what my eyes saw IH…WORST GAME I HAVE EVER SEEN!!! I’ll be over it when we destroy them tonight. Maybe.
    Seriously though, I could get onboard with these IH-metric statistics! :)

    krueg May 12, 2011, 2:48 pm
  • Holy shit this gave me a huge laugh this morning. I knew there was a way to calculate this!
    By the way, I’ll be at the Rays-Yankees game on Monday. Should be Burnett vs Price. Anyone else going?

    Atheose - SF May 13, 2011, 7:40 am
  • “…Anyone else going?…”
    i wanted to ath, but i never got tickets…think there’s any left? ;)
    i usually go with my daughter, but she has to work every night next week…i don’t know anybody around here that likes baseball…judging by the rays and marlins attendance, it appears to be an epidemic…if i had gator tickets, i’d have lots of friends…i think the yanks’ll be back later on in the season…hopefully i can go then…

    dc May 13, 2011, 11:58 am
  • and yep, let me add my thanks to IH for my laugh of the day…to say this yankee team can be downright painful to watch at times is a gross understatement…it’s good that we finally have a way to quantify it…

    dc May 13, 2011, 12:00 pm
  • Glad to bring a smile to your faces…we could all use it after the last 48 hours of baseball. The Yanks went out last night and proved the relevance of FAR*…while they lost and it stunk, by falling down by 6 so early, the pain was severe but short-lived – concentrated almost entirely in the top of the 2nd inning.

    IronHorse (YF) May 13, 2011, 1:47 pm
  • I haven’t grabbed tickets either dc, I’m just going to grab them at the door since they never sell out, even when the Yanks/Sox come to town.

    Atheose - SF May 13, 2011, 3:22 pm

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