In the first part of our review of the pre-midnight U.K. time, working week MLB games played during 2012 we focused on the weekday and monthly distribution of those games.
In this second and final part, we will focus on how the early games are divided up among the 30 MLB teams.
The data reveals how often a team played at a convenient time for fans in the U.K. to follow the action live. This may be an important factor to consider if you are new to the sport and are having difficulty in picking a team to follow.
Chicago Cubs lead the way again
It’s no surprise that the Chicago Cubs once again top the ‘early’ game charts by a considerable margin, with their total of 39 ‘early’ games being 13 more than the next highest total (the Milwaukee Brewers’ 26).
The team stuck by tradition for many years and didn’t install floodlights at Wrigley Field until August 1988. Since that point, largely due to the location of the ballpark and the surrounding area, the Cubs have been restricted by the city council in respect of the amount of home night-games they are allowed to play.
Consequently the Cubs will always be involved in the highest number of games played during the British evening and teams that play the Cubs the most (i.e. fellow NL Central division teams) can expect a small boost as well with an extra day-game or two per season.
The full list
Setting the Cubs’ total to one side, the number of ‘early’ games played range from the Brewers’ 26 down to just 12 for both the Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles (two of the lowest scorers in 2011 as well).
|Teams||2012 gms||2012 rank||2011 gms||2011 rank||Gm difference|
|San Francisco Giants||25||3rd||24||J-6th||1|
|New York Mets||24||J-4th||21||J-11th||3|
|Tampa Bay Rays||22||J-7th||32||2nd||-10|
|San Diego Padres||22||J-7th||25||5th||-3|
|St. Louis Cardinals||21||J-9th||18||J-23rd||3|
|Chicago White Sox||19||J-14th||21||J-11th||-2|
|Toronto Blue Jays||15||J-21st||21||J-11th||-6|
|Kansas City Royals||15||J-21st||19||J-17th||-4|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||15||J-21st||17||25th||-2|
|Los Angeles Angels||15||J-21st||14||30th||1|
|New York Yankees||14||J-26th||22||J-9th||-8|
|Boston Red Sox||14||J-26th||19||J-17th||-5|
The top five teams for playing ‘early’ games in 2011 – the Cubs, Rays, Tigers, A’s and Padres – all featured in the top seven in 2012. The World Series champion San Francisco Giants moved up to the third-most ‘early’ games played in 2012 compared to being joint-sixth in 2011, whilst the Brewers’ six-game increase from their 2011 total (from 20 to 26) moved them up in the rankings from joint-sixteenth to second.
The most striking trend when comparing 2011 with 2012 is how all of the AL East teams saw a decline in the number of ‘early’ games being played; the Ray’s decline from 32 to 22 being the most extreme. This will predominantly be accounted for by the fact that a team’s schedule is weighted so that they play more games against other teams in the same division. Therefore if a couple of teams in a division decide to host less day-games in a particular season, that will affect not only their own score, but also that of teams they play against most frequently (exactly how that plays out – i.e. which specific games are played at night rather than in the day time – would need to be considered on a team-by-team basis).
Looking ahead to 2013
It stands to reason that every team’s day-game total is not only affected by their own home-game schedule but also the schedules of their opponents. When looking ahead to 2013, we have to remember that the Houston Astros’ move from the NL Central to the AL West division has resulted in interleague games being played virtually all season long and the whole scheduling format being modified. Â It will be interesting to see how this effects the number of day-games different teams play over the next few seasons compared with 2011 and 2012.