When are baseball fans safe to leave the game?
July 30, 2018 3:05 PM   Subscribe

Take This Cheat Sheet To The Ballpark To Decide When To Leave [Five Thirty Eight] “According to our statistical model, based on 2010-2015 regular season inning-by-inning scoring data, you should leave after the sixth inning if the leading team is ahead by four or more runs. There is a less than 5 percent chance that the other team will deliver a miracle comeback. If the run differential exceeds two at the top of the ninth, it’s safe to head to the exits. What about blowouts in the first inning? If your time is that precious — and you’re willing to view the money spent on tickets as a sunk cost — our advice is to rev up your car’s engine if the leading team jumps ahead by six runs or more.”
posted by Fizz (76 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
The cheat sheet should read as follows:


After the last goddamn out.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 3:15 PM on July 30, 2018 [76 favorites]


File this advice under D for “duh,” but also, maybe stay for the whole game because you like baseball and that is the reason you are there, and because the conclusion of the game generally matters more than the beginning of it?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:15 PM on July 30, 2018 [11 favorites]


Had no idea 538 was still around. Assumed they all jumped off a bridge on November 9th, 2016.
posted by dobbs at 3:18 PM on July 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


Unless you're box scoring, you're probably there to eat a hot dog and kill some time on a nice day. So, pretty much leave whenever?
posted by potch at 3:20 PM on July 30, 2018 [9 favorites]


dobbs: "Had no idea 538 was still around. Assumed they all jumped off a bridge on November 9th, 2016."

Considering they gave Trump a better chance than almost anyone else, why would they have?
posted by Chrysostom at 3:22 PM on July 30, 2018 [34 favorites]


Or rather, this flow chart:
Do you care whatsoever about baseball?
      |                       |
     yes                      no
      |                       |
      V                       V
stay til the end        leave whenever
posted by potch at 3:23 PM on July 30, 2018 [35 favorites]


My family has a rule: show up late if you need to but stay to the bitter end. This rule has been applied with rigor over the last thirty - odd years of Royals and Padres games. We also stay through the end credits of movies because we are civilised humans with maaaaybe slight masochistic tendencies.
posted by q*ben at 3:32 PM on July 30, 2018 [7 favorites]


"According to our statistical model, based on 2010-2015 regular season inning-by-inning scoring data, you should leave after the sixth inning if the leading team is ahead by four or more runs. There is a less than 5 percent chance that the other team will deliver a miracle comeback. "

However, this system guarantees you will miss 100% of the miracle comebacks that everyone's talking about for the next ten years. "Oh, yeah, I was at that game, but I punked out before the 7th-inning stretch."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:35 PM on July 30, 2018 [42 favorites]


Just stay, you need to sober up anyway.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:37 PM on July 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


It is our habit to holler at people who are leaving early when our team is behind: "You're gonna miss the rally!"

You might have to watch your team lose a bunch, but the reward is that you might see your team score 3 in the 7th, 4 in the 8th, 1 in the 9th to tie and 3 in the 10th to overcome a 10-2 deficit and win 13-10.

Like the A's did last Tuesday night in Texas.
posted by rekrap at 3:39 PM on July 30, 2018 [22 favorites]


There is a less than 5 percent chance that the other team will deliver a miracle comeback

even at five percent, I'm pretty sure it doesn't classify as miracle. But more to the point, what Eyebrows McGee just said:

this system guarantees you will miss 100% of the miracle comebacks that everyone's talking about for the next ten years.
posted by philip-random at 3:45 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also, even if you want to be a data asshole, there's more than a five percent chance that the losing team will at least come back enough to make the game interesting again.

(I am a professional data asshole, though not a professional sports data asshole.)
posted by madcaptenor at 3:52 PM on July 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


Any true cheat sheet needs to include the temperature as a factor. I live in St. Louis, where it gets unpleasantly warm in the summer, so I have my own cheat sheet:
Are you hot and miserable? -- no --> stay
    |
   yes
    |
    V
    Did you pay too much for these seats? -- no -- > leave
        |
       yes
        |
        V
       stay and suffer
posted by HiddenInput at 3:56 PM on July 30, 2018 [17 favorites]


Stay, keep a scorecard, and bike home from the ballpark. It's a beautiful night.
posted by asperity at 3:56 PM on July 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


(On biking home from the ballpark: do not let your city put a ballpark in some godforsaken suburb you can't get to without a personal automobile. Atlanta, this means you.)
posted by asperity at 3:57 PM on July 30, 2018 [12 favorites]


The real model that we need is how to make this decision given that, say, two of the four members of your party are very into baseball and desperately want to see it through to the bloody end, and the other two are tired and either hot or freezing and really, really do not want to spend an hour getting out of a parking deck afterwards.

I think I might like baseball better if I'd never had to go to a game when I was young.
posted by Sequence at 3:58 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


HiddenInput: I'd just take the possibility that it will be really hot into account before buying tickets.

This is why I've lived in Atlanta for four years and haven't seen a Braves game. (That, and I don't want to be surrounded by Braves fans. I married one and she keeps threatening to teach our newborn baby the tomahawk chop.)
posted by madcaptenor at 3:58 PM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


I would bike into Chavez Ravine for a Dodger game, but I'm not even sure that's possible.
posted by curiousgene at 3:58 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Atlanta, this means you.

Atlanta doesn't have a team, do you mean the Cobb County Braves?
posted by madcaptenor at 4:00 PM on July 30, 2018 [13 favorites]


she keeps threatening to teach our newborn baby the tomahawk chop.

Flee with the child while its humanity is intact!
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 4:20 PM on July 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


asperity: "Stay, keep a scorecard, and bike home from the ballpark. It's a beautiful night."

We can walk home from PNC and be home before half of the other fans get out of the parking garage.
posted by octothorpe at 4:22 PM on July 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


If you're wondering how soon you can leave an event, perhaps it's just not something you enjoy.
posted by cmfletcher at 4:23 PM on July 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


The real model that we need is how to make this decision given that, say, two of the four members of your party are very into baseball and desperately want to see it through to the bloody end, and the other two are tired and either hot or freezing and really, really do not want to spend an hour getting out of a parking deck afterwards.

Oh that's easy. Separate cars. Your two friends can flake when they want. You and your other fan stay till the end and enjoy the game the way it's meant to, till the end.
posted by Fizz at 4:28 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


cmfletcher: "If you're wondering how soon you can leave an event, perhaps it's just not something you enjoy."

Eh, even if you do like baseball sometimes when it's the 13th inning of an inconsequential game and you need to get up in the morning, you'll bail on it.
posted by octothorpe at 4:30 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


It is our habit to holler at people who are leaving early when our team is behind: "You're gonna miss the rally!"

We chant “Beat the traffic! Beat the traffic!”
posted by nickmark at 4:32 PM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


I always stay to the end, no matter how cold, or how far behind, or many extra innings and lo have earned the many Croix de Candlesticks upon my hat.
posted by jamaro at 4:34 PM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Watch carefully as Kirk Gibson hits perhaps the most dramatic home run in baseball history.

As the ball goes over the wall, do you see the car in the parking lot flash its brake lights?

That's the jackass leaving the game early, listening to the game on the radio, suddenly slamming his brakes in surprise and frustration. He's just missed baseball history.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:34 PM on July 30, 2018 [28 favorites]


Are you at a Mets game? 
|
|
Yes
|
|
Why?
posted by uncleozzy at 4:53 PM on July 30, 2018 [16 favorites]


Are you at a Mets game?
|
|
Yes
|
|
Why?


Yeah, get out of there now, before they ask you to pitch.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:03 PM on July 30, 2018 [27 favorites]


> I think I might like baseball better if I'd never had to go to a game when I was young.

I didn't understand baseball at all until I was old enough to drink beer at the ballpark.
posted by scose at 5:05 PM on July 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


I like baseball. This year we got a 10-game ticket pack for the White Sox. Sox games are fun even though the team is terrible because it's a nice park with good food and beer options and I kind of like being able to spread out when the park's kinda empty, like for weeknight games.

We leave early sometimes (like the time the first INNING took 45 fucking minutes goddammit Shields why are you the slowest pitcher in baseball you do not have to try to catch the runner leading off 1st base in between every fucking pitch) because it's a weeknight and it takes us an hour to get home via CTA and I wake up at 5am for work. I don't really care if people judge us, and doubt they do. They should be glad we're there at all, with how empty the park is some nights. A lot of factors go into the "stay or go" decision and honestly, whether our team is winning or losing rarely figures into it.

Did stay to the bitter end yesterday, though, when the Sox blew a 1-run lead by giving up 5 runs in the 9th. Sigh.
posted by misskaz at 5:15 PM on July 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


Which is to say, I do care "whatsoever" about baseball, and sometimes I leave early and fuck the gatekeeping nonsense that people can't make different decisions about what to do with their time. Especially families or people with other obligations - you don't necessarily know why someone is leaving early and maybe they make some sacrifices to be able to see even half the game, and cared enough to do so.
posted by misskaz at 5:18 PM on July 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


Yeah I came in here to say basically what misskaz said. I am a big fan and a die hard sticker-outter of baseball games these days, but well into my teens I left early when the score looked dire* because I'm the oldest of three and my parents didn't want to be wrangling cranky overtired kids if they could just go home. Don't be a dick; let people have the baseball game experience they want to have.

*Which was often, because we're talking about 90s O's, Cal Ripken Jr. notwithstanding, and RFK-era Nats here. DC sports R fun.
posted by capricorn at 5:28 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Ugh, I hate going to games with my brother-in-law. He insists on leaving in the 8th inning "to beat traffic," except we never beat traffic! What is this shit?!
posted by dirigibleman at 5:39 PM on July 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


My girlfriend and I just went to our first Portland Pickles game and I’m beside myself with how affected I was by it. It was SO. MUCH. FUN. I had been to a baseball game once before that was incredibly boring, but this was just a blast. We got $7 tickets on the “left berm”, which we didn’t realize was a spot of green grass at the park/Walker Stadium where you can bring your own chairs and sit, so we just sat on the grass eating our hot dogs and crackerjacks and drinking beers. It was a nice summer night with a slight breeze. There were snow cones and a larger mister and baseballs being signed and it was just great. We know nothing about baseball but had a blast regardless. Their last home game is Aug 11th and we’re definitely going more prepared. I felt like I was in Dazed and Confused, and now all I want to do the rest of the summer is do classic America stuff like cruise and go to the pool hall.
posted by gucci mane at 5:39 PM on July 30, 2018 [22 favorites]


“Oh, yeah, I was at that game, but I punked out before the 7th-inning stretch."

This would be a problem if there were any possibility of a fan (or a human) copping to having just missed out on the miraculous.

Every third person in this city, for instance, seems to have been crammed into the ballpark the magical night the worst-to-first ‘06 Tigers clinched the pennant and advanced to the World Series on the back of a Magglio Ordonez deep ball.

That is, if you ask them :)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:40 PM on July 30, 2018


(radio call of said HR - if you listen carefully you can hear me screaming from outside a bar eight blocks from the stadium)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:47 PM on July 30, 2018


Assuming you went on the night when people are allowed to bring their dogs to the stadium, definitely don't leave before you see a Great Dane. They're incredible.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:58 PM on July 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


Yeah, but can they throw a slider?
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:00 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


"*Which was often, because we're talking about 90s O's, Cal Ripken Jr. notwithstanding, and RFK-era Nats here. DC sports R fun."

The best part about going to those games was that many of them weren't televised and they went almost as fast as minor league games. It's easy to stay till the last out in a pitchers duel than ends in the ninth at 1-0.
posted by mattamatic at 7:02 PM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


The best way to avoid traffic is to go to minor league games.
posted by duffell at 7:06 PM on July 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


Atlanta doesn't have a team, do you mean the Cobb County Braves?

They aren't the only ones! (*not just baseball)
posted by solotoro at 7:07 PM on July 30, 2018


A couple of years ago I accompanied a friend to a Blue Jays game because her son's class was singing the national anthems and her husband was taking care of their other son, who was sick. Anyway, in the bottom of the 1st inning she turned to me and said "Baseball is so boring" in the same tone of voice you might use when you talk about a natural disaster where a lot of people died. She was lucky, because it turned out to be a pitcher's duel and the game raced along about as fast as a baseball game can, but when it was going into the bottom of the ninth I told her she had better hope the Jays score because baseball games can't end in a tie (her son wanted to stay until the end because he wasn't going to give up on the chance of catching a home run ball, especially after one got hit close-ish to us in the middle of the game). You should have seen the look on her face when she realized I wasn't trolling her (fortunately for her, they did).
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:10 PM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


At any rate, as long as you're savagely uncucking your baseball experience by unleashing a can of big data whoopass on your trip to the ballpark--why stop at leaving at the bottom of the first inning? Just crunch the numbers on the odds of your team winning and stay home if the odds don't look good. Spare yourself the trouble of ever accidentally enjoying a game where your team might lose. DATA! FUCK YEAH
posted by duffell at 7:11 PM on July 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


Does literally any other activity in the world exist?--> Don't even show up.
posted by runcibleshaw at 7:12 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm definitely a stay putter, sometimes to the Mrs' chagrin. I have been talked into an early exit in events of companion discomfort, or stupid early work hours the next day, but otherwise I'm in to the end. The rarity of late inning rallies makes them that much sweeter to witness in person. Nothing matches that energy.
posted by calamari kid at 8:12 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


I was once at a DiamondBacks game that went a number of innings well into the teens and lasted between 5 and 6 hours. I stayed for the whole thing.

Baseball is a pastime. I think it's the only sport without a clock.
posted by hippybear at 9:24 PM on July 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


Yeah, whooole lotta gatekeeping happening in this here thread.

I'm actually rather appreciative of the info, since I have a friend coming to town in a couple weeks and part of his trip is he wants to catch a Jays game. However, he's not the best night driver, and we'd all rather he arrive back home alive, as opposed to fall asleep at the wheel and crash somewheres.

So this is useful info to have in case the game is running late and he's getting tired and we need to know when is reasonably safe to leave.

Baseball's just baseball, y'all. No need to be a dick about it.
posted by Imperfect at 10:01 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


The good thing about Jays games is that Union Station is literally right nextdoor, so many if not most people take transit in and out. Makes the trains super crowded, but keeps the roads clear to be completely jammed up by regular rush hour commuters as usual.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:02 PM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


(And you can drink all the $10 beers you want!)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:04 PM on July 30, 2018


Watch carefully as Kirk Gibson hits perhaps the most dramatic home run in baseball history

I love watching old baseball broadcasts.
Back when the lack of cameras meant they had to focus on the action, not on fans in the seats, or the dugouts, or the press booth for some damn reason.
When there weren't a dozen graphics covering half the screen, and popup ads for other shows or some crap.

you forget how shaky the camera work was, though, without dampening and servo controlled cameras.
posted by madajb at 11:46 PM on July 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


Also, look how small McGwire was!
posted by madajb at 11:47 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


The nice thing about baseball is they have plenty of day games, even during the week (which of course I hated when I lived near a stadium because that meant my commute home was going to suuuuuuuck).

I stay to the end of games because I paid for a ticket for the whole game dammit! If I'm going to a night game during the week, I've already decided to stay up past my bedtime, so I'm not leaving early. We lived in Arlington, so Texas Rangers, and the heat is not going to make me leave. If you're going to a game in Arlington in the summer, don't be surprised that it's hot. (None of this is judging any of you! You do you and all that. I just don't get people who are surprised that it's hot in Texas in the summer)
posted by LizBoBiz at 12:33 AM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


I took 99%+ of the “gatekeeping” in here as good fun. Also, it’s a baseball thread: ten of us tops will read it.

Does literally any other activity in the world exist?--> Don't even show up.

Then there’s the guy who shows up to let us know how much this particular band sucks. Ignore him :)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:27 AM on July 31, 2018 [8 favorites]


Expos fans like me never left early. The team did.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:37 AM on July 31, 2018 [12 favorites]


TIL about the Croix de Candlestick. Giants fans are legit.
posted by whuppy at 8:13 AM on July 31, 2018


Regardless of how you feel about baseball, you should leave before the majority of people do so you are not caught in a crowd and subsequent traffic. This applies even if your team has score 1 million points more than the other as they've suddenly turned into baseball monsters somehow scoring runs faster than the naked eye can see. Yes, very amazing, but nothing is worth enduring avoidable traffic.

It's not like anything exceptional happens at the end of the game, they don't do a cool dance, or anything. Do they even make a hand-bridge and let players pass through it while giving high fives? I think not.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:14 AM on July 31, 2018


Driving Lyft, I picked up a guy from the April 14th Cubs game. He needed a ride all the way out to Algonquin, in the far NW suburbs. When I picked him up, the Cubs were down 10-3 after the sixth. They had something like a 1.3% chance of winning at that point and the guy was tired of getting rained on. During the 75 minute drive out to Algonquin, the Cubs scored eleven times, coming back to win 14-10 in one of the most amazing comebacks in recent baseball history.

This was a fan who, upon entering the car, explained he was a big believer in playing the odds on when to leave, so that he didn't waste time.

Upon dropping him off, this was a person overcome with disgust at himself who emphatically no longer believed in trying to find the safe moment to leave early.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:57 AM on July 31, 2018 [14 favorites]


Not only do I stay until the end of a Phillies game, I stay until I can sing High Hopes with Harry Kalas. (sniffle)
posted by kimberussell at 10:16 AM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


How I love the fact that there’s a BART station at the Coliseum complex so that any Warriors or A’s game does not require a beers or traffic calculation and staying until the bitter end is easy.

It’s crazy to me that the Warriors are moving away from so much, including a dedicated train station.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:46 AM on July 31, 2018


Reminds me of all of those times as a young boy that I would stand at the makeshift homeplate in the backyard and say dramatically: "game 7 of the World Series, behind by 3, bases loaded, 2 outs, bottom of the ninth, full count....guess I'll put my toys away because it's statistically unlikely I'll hit a grand slam."
posted by aliasless at 12:26 PM on July 31, 2018 [10 favorites]


That explains a similar attraction to DnD at the same age (for me and my friends, at least): no matter the odds, there’s always that (remote) hope for a critical hit.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:34 PM on July 31, 2018


I guess I’m saying a grand slam is a really critical hit.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:34 PM on July 31, 2018


This thread puts me in my mind of the 1992 game between the Braves and the Pirates--a game that every Braves fan who was alive at the time remembers vividly. I do, even though I quit watching before the end. I was a rabid fan and the pain of seeing the Braves go down in defeat was more than I could endure. I left and went to bed, while my partner insisted on staying until the bitter end. Sometime later, when I'm weeping into my pillow, my partner comes in and whispers in my ear: They won. I knew he was just being cruel, so I refused to believe him. But then I noticed the faint sound of cheers from the apartments around us. I sat up. It was true! Oh my god. From heartbreak to unbounded joy in one moment. We spent the rest of the night watching the replays of Sid Bream's winning slide into home base over and over again. (I'm looking at an autographed and framed photo of batter Francisco Cabrerra on my wall as I write this.)

From that experience I developed the superstition that if I kept watching the game when the braves were behind, they would lose. To put it the other way, if I quit watching when they were behind, they would WIN. And, as history proves, it was true: the Braves (almost) won the pennant because of ME. So everyone who is saying otherwise is wrong: the BEST fans leave the game before the end when the home team is behind.
posted by Transl3y at 1:35 PM on July 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


Every third person in this city, for instance, seems to have been crammed into the ballpark the magical night the worst-to-first ‘06 Tigers clinched the pennant and advanced to the World Series on the back of a Magglio Ordonez deep ball.

That is, if you ask them :)


I really was at that game. I have the pictures to prove it. Have not been to a winning postseason game since, but that's OK, if that '06 game is the only one I ever see that's fine by me. The sound was worth it alone.
posted by axiom at 2:08 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


The roar was, for a few years at least, restored. Jim and Dan’s call still gives me goosebumps.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:17 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also, look how small McGwire was!

Try a Google search of "Barry Bonds size comparison."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:21 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Uh.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:27 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Transl3y: "This thread puts me in my mind of the 1992 game between the Braves and the Pirates--a game that every Braves fan who was alive at the time remembers vividly."

Pirates fans do, too. Thanks so very much for bringing it up.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:43 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


I haven’t been to a Mariner’s game in years, but there used to be (and probably still is) a visible exit movement every night along about the sixth or seventh inning as the boat people (as we fondly call them) have to leave to catch the last ferry to Bainbridge Island.
posted by lhauser at 7:37 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Look, it's not being judgemental, it's just a scientific fact that if you leave the game early you are not a good person. That's OK, not everyone is.

Also if you use the term "gatekeeping".
posted by bongo_x at 10:55 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


hippybear: "I think it's the only sport without a clock."

Cricket and other ball/bat varients, Tennis, curling. And while Quiddich has time keeping elements duration of play is determined by snitch capture not a predefined time.
posted by Mitheral at 12:44 AM on August 1, 2018


I think it's the only sport without a clock.

They did add a pitch clock a couple of years ago.
posted by LizBoBiz at 2:10 AM on August 1, 2018


The best way to avoid traffic is to go to minor league games.

Unless you live in a city with an urban major league stadium, in which case going to a minor league game on a weeknight involves crawling through rush hour traffic with all the commuters. (Someone invited me to a weeknight Potomac Nationals game - getting there SUCKED even though I left work several hours before game time). I love minor league baseball but I'd rather just bike to Nationals Park in 15 minutes. I've been wanting to see the Bowie Baysox on a weekend but can't make it to the meetup 😢

And yes, I stayed for the entire duration of the longest playoff game ever.
posted by exogenous at 1:37 PM on August 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


27 outs. Unnerstan?
posted by sfts2 at 2:00 PM on August 1, 2018


exogenous, the Frederick Keys are fun, too, although if anything, the traffic would be even worse. Maybe a Saturday game?
posted by Chrysostom at 2:03 PM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


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