In The Defense Of Nationals Fandom: Part II

DC Sports Nexus ---- Thursday, May 24, 2012

Each Thursday We Let A Nats Fan Sound Off, Because Quite Frankly, The Fans Know More Than We Do
This Week's Entry Is a 3-Parter Written By A Huge Nats Fan From Twitter:  @TClippardsSpecs
Part II: Statistics 

(Go Back To Part I)
“There Are 3 Types Of Lies.  Lies.  Damn Lies.  And Statistics”
-Mark Twain

So are Philly fans really "lifers" as many of them claim to be?  Does the fan-base as a whole stick with the team through thick & thin?  Are the fans that much better than Nats fans in times of trouble?

To determine this, let's have data show us the way:

For the Nats, I took their attendance and win-loss record from their entire history (2005-2011).  For the Phils, I took the same stats from their recent losing seasons (1996-2000, 2002).  That gives us 7 years of Nats data and 6 years of Phils data to compare.  The Nats avg 70 wins per season during their years, and the Phils avg 72 wins.  All data from Baseball Reference.

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During the years in question there are some stark similarities...Let's break it down visually:

Stadium Effects:  During the Phils seasons of note, they played in the old & decrepit multi-purpose Veteran's Stadium.  During the Nats seasons, they played some in the old & decrepit multi-purpose RFK, and some in the new and cozy Nats Park.  So I looked at various comparisons:

You can see in the chart how each combination of stadiums has outperformed the Phillies during these down years.

The highest capacity ever at the Vet was during the World Series trip in 1993 when it was a whopping 61% filled.  The Nats at RFK filled the stadium just as well (percentage-wise) as the Phils best year.

Quantifying the Un-Quantifiable:

There is one variable of attendance that I really can't quantify with any veracity; the amount of fans in the stadium that aren't fans of the home team.  Proximity of a good team to a bad team during a series is a big factor.  While this doesn't skew the numbers too much, it should be noted.

There has been a lot of hubbub the last couple of years over Philadelphia fans 'taking over' Nationals Park – a.k.a 'Citizens Bank South' – it's obvious that the composition of the crowd at each of these home games is not 100% Nationals.

Philadelphia has had their own park infestation in the years we are looking at, in the form of New York Mets fans who made the Vet their home away from home -- 'Shea Stadium South', if you will.

So what does this mean going forward for the Nats?  We look at the future in Part III

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