As lifelong Kansas City Royals fans, it has been a long time the last time the boys in blue were spotted in the MLB Playoffs. As you can imagine, twenty-nine seasons, particularly in baseball, provides a wealth of data begging to be visualized. We used public data available at Baseball Reference to create a consolidated record of every single game – all regular season – that the Royals have played since their last playoff appearance in 1985.
Being that it feels like Royals playoff appearances are approaching Halley’s Comet rarity, the first thing we wanted to do with this data is attempt to answer how we may fare in our home playoff game this week. This game was already a rock solid sellout, including standing room only tickets, before the team even earned a playoff spot officially. Our gut told us that the Royals have not historically performed well in a few of the highly attended games we have made it to over the last three decades, such as Opening Days or against popular opponents. So we set out to determine if there is a correlation between the team’s winning percentage and their home attendance.
Explore the viz for yourself by clicking a circle to filter the graphic and the data below. You can also filter the statistics by each five-year ‘generation’.
- Over the past twenty-nine years, there is a loose correlation between the Royals’ winning percentage and the number of fans in attendance at Kauffman Stadium. In general, as the attendance increases, their winning percentage decreases.
o Remember, correlation does not necessarily indicate causation. The highly attended Royals games are typically against popular opponents, who have many of their own fans in attendance and are also typically historically competitive franchises.
- There were nine games with the highest attendance possible, 41,000 – 41,999. The Royals won seven out of those nine games for a winning percentage of .778.
o However, the current generation of Royals, defined as those who have played during the past five seasons, has never played in front of more than 41,000 fans at home.
o Further, five of those seven wins were contributed from 1986 – 1990 Royals, who had a perfect winning percentage in front of the maximum crowd.
The bottom line: This data provided several interesting insights into the Royals’ performance at home during our lifetime, but who are we kidding, no Royals fan that is in town and can get their hands on a ticket is going to miss this game. We expect a record crowd regardless of what the statistics say.
Did we mention it has been 4,627 games since the last time this happened? Here is a complete record of those games. Hover over a square to get the game date and result.