Friday, January 31, 2014

Lies, Damned Lies, And Statistics

So I am sure we've all read Aviv's post earlier this morning. It touts this "study" that says Connecticut is somehow split between Yankee fans and Red Sox fans. I say "study" because the super-accurate method they used for this study was trolling Facebook pages, followed with a dash of "I like clean borders so I am going to ignore some of my findings".

So here's this stupid picture. The only thing it has right is that Red Sox, like in the AL East, are above the Yankees. Other than that, it's highly suspect.

For one, it's based off of Facebook "likes". If this is the future of how we statistically determine what people follow and/or like, I'm expecting a Candy Crush movie sometime in 2015 and NBC to be bought out by Buzzfeed so they can run a prime-time show telling me the 18 worst things for left-handed people (Spoiler: It will star Matt LeBlanc and the #1 answer is spiral notebooks).

Second, and by the author's own admission "I decided that a border should be contiguous...My border tried to maximize the number of towns with more than 50% Sox fans on the Red Sox side and the number of towns with more than 50% Yankee fans on the Yankee side."

Well, this isn't the 19th Century and we aren't the Brits carving up Africa any which way we want because we want pretty borders. My hometown, Farmington, gets lumped in with the second-rate side from the Bronx because Avon happens to be Yankee territory. Which isn't surprising if you know anything about Avon. But because that one town barely leans to NY...six other towns that are 50%+ Boston territory get thrown in the pit. Because little Durham is a Yankee town, the much larger and Sox-friendly town of Wallingford gets stuck behind the lines. I call shenanigans. All told, 13 Sox-majority towns are stuck in the doldrums of Yankee-land. Only five NY-majority towns get lumped in with the superior Sox.

And then there is this. Aviv says "My good friend Dave often dismisses the poll, saying Fairfield County, the county that is closest to New York City and has the densest population, isn't really part of Connecticut and doesn't count."

And he's right. Fairfield County isn't part of Connecticut. I mean, sure, legally it's part of Connecticut. But everyone knows that New England actually stops somewhere west of Bristol and south of Southington.

I want you to look at the image on the right. Click on it if you need to make it bigger to read it. Dunkin Donuts, I think we can all agree, is quintessential New England. It's what we drink, it's who we are, it's how we give directions to get anywhere. What, my friends, does it say at the bottom of this coupon?

"Good at participating US Dunkin Donuts locations in CT, excluding Fairfield County."

That is in every coupon ever distributed in a Connecticut newspaper. They always exclude Fairfield County. Because it isn't part of Connecticut; it's an ex-urb of New York.

So why would we even put it in a study of fans in Connecticut? The whole study is flawed, among other reasons, because it includes Fairfield County to begin with. Combine that with the crazy borders and you can't believe any of this.

But fear not, good people. I have crafted a map of my own, using equally-valid borders and reasoning:



I think we can all agree that this makes more sense, even if it looks like it was drawn by a three-year-old on a sugar binge. Proof positive that Connecticut is solid Sox country and Fairfield County has poor taste in baseball teams.

However, Aviv and I can agree on one thing. 262,500 people like the Red Sox and the Yankees? That's the same as saying you enjoy being a vegetarian AND eating 20 oz ribeyes*. Do us all a favor and take your fandom to a city and club where they don't care if you come in the fifth inning if at all. And they certainly don't care where you finish in the standings and if you make the playoffs.

For you, my 262,500 wayward souls, I think Tampa is calling your name.

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* In that example, Sox fans are the people who like steak.

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