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November 14, 2013
Rereading Nate Silver: 7. Day Men, Fighter Of The Night Men
In which Nate tackles a subject close to home.
Are the Cubs at a Daytime Disadvantage?
Abstract: After another round of Cubs personnel complaining that their unusual schedule puts them at a competitive disadvantage, Nate examines whether the home team generally plays worse in day games than in night games, particularly when, in a scenario almost exclusive to the Cubs, the day game follows an away game the previous day. By breaking down day/night performances, and looking for other ways a team might be affected by an unusual schedule, he can draw many conclusions, some of them related to the Cubs and some simply interesting:
Thus, we are left in the uncomfortable position of not being able to validate the day game curse, but not being any more able to reject it out of hand. With that in mind, it's important to remember that the effect, if it exists, is minimal. ...
Follow-up: Rather than replicate the entire inquiry--which involved thousands of games and fairly convincingly found nothing--I want to look at the late-season collapses, as positive findings are more likely to get published and therefore merit extra scrutiny. Nate’s findings, specifically:
In the 11 years since:
Opposites! Freaky Friday! Etc.
Tack Silver’s time period with the 11 years since and it cuts the September effect in half: The Cubs now have a .481 winning percentage through August and .460 after. That’s a smaller effect but, of course, a bigger sample, so it’s entirely possible that this is a real effect that really affects. If you were using this to bet against the Cubs over the past 11 Septembers, though, you’d have lost a few bucks on the hypothesis.
Acknowledgement of the existence of sex: “So far as I am concerned, there is only one thing worth waking up early for, and I tend to fall right back asleep after that is said and done.”
On the Nate Silver Must-Read Scale: 2