Just how far does Cub Kingdom stretch?

I just stumbled onto the Common Census website, which attempts to track the local cultural spheres of influence within the United States. As part of that project, Common Census has developed a Sports Map Project that tracks the popularity of sports teams by geography. Basically, it tries to color-code a map to show which sports team is most popular from place to place across all of America. They have maps for the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and NCAA Football. The MLB map has a few surprises in it. For instance, a small sliver of the east bay-area is colored brown for the Athletics, swimming in a larger sea of Red that covers northern California and Western Nevada and represents the Giants. But then, oddly, there is a brown splotch around Lake Tahoe and a big brown stripe running through north-central Nevada. What makes these regions hotbeds for A's fans? Looking at the Cubs, you see just about what you'd expect. They're color-coded light green, and the northern half of Illinois, most of Indiana and most of Iowa are bathed in the color. Their dominion expands westward just to Omaha, where I was raised to be a Cub fan. But like Oakland, the Cubs have islands of support dispersed across America. North-eastern Oklahoma and central Arkansas has its own little hotbed of Cubdom, and so does a little blotch in central Nebraska that I believe is Grand Island It's quite interesting, and I encourage you to go to the site and participate. You have to take the regular survey in order to state your baseball affiliation. It's 12 clicks total, and they don't ask for a name or email address, just an address. Let's see if we can claim a larger portion of this country as part of Cub Kingdom! I know we have many readers from beyond the continental U.S., and unfortunately Common Census does not include options to allow you to register your opinion. (Unless of course you want to say that you live in, say, St. Louis.... wouldn't it be fun to turn the St. Louis area of the map to the Cubs?)


Gotta love the disclaimer on the map:

"Note: this map is highly inaccurate..."

I'm a GIS guy, and this guy's making about the best map you can with the data he's got (he's using something similar to Inverse Distance Weight interpolation). A shame though, that no matter how much data you get, the map won't accurately portray the number of White Sox fans because Cubs fans will always outnumber them.

I'm shocked that most of southeast Nebraska is considered KC Royals territory. Based on the number of ballcaps worn per person around here (Lincoln), I'd say the Royals are eclipsed by the Cubs, Cardinals, and Braves here.

Thanks - really interesting map. As a full-time Braves-hater, it's nice to know there's also zero chance I'd live anywhere that they are the #1 MLB team.

Great article on Stoney. I miss him. Wouldn't you love to see him as the Cubs GM; gee, wonder what his first move would be? Later, Dusty!


Red Sox in Utah?
Cubs in Oklahoma and Wyoming/Montana?

And all of Colorado being Rockies fans is a load. Before the crockies were here 99.9% of CO were/are CUBS fans. Thank you WGN. Cubs games are now the only games sold out at cooors.

Apparently the Kingdom isn't even stretching through Wrigleyville these days...


Felix Pie...game #2 in the Dominican Republic

CHC F. Pie CF 4 2 3 1 0 1 .545 - HR

Is anybody from Chicago going to any Series games?

I've got tickets to game 3. Of course, that's not in Chicago...

I hate the Astros and don't live in Chicago so


Maybe the Cubs will realize they suck and need to make some improvements.

I have a ticket to game 5 in St. Louis!!

I live in Chicago and wouldn't go if I had a free ticket. My first WS game WILL NOT be at the Cell.

And I don't understand the philosophy that if the CHW win the WS the Cubs will all of a sudden start trying, feel pressure to win, spend more money, etc.

Firstly, with them being so closely tied all these years with the Red Sox, the theory should of been that with the Red Sox winning last year it should of woken up the Cubs, but with possibly the WORST offseason in ages for the Cubs, that obviously did not happen.

Secondly, the White Sox have already made it to the WS, and all the publicity and constant chatter in Chicago that goes with it. Them winning or losing really wouldn't change the thought process very much if there was anything to the Cubs feeling more pressure to win.

Thirdly, the Cubs haven't won in almost a century, and still sell out every game. The CHW winning it all will not stop that next year and they are even adding more seats amd will sell everyone of them too.

Hendry and Baker should get one more season. If they can't make this team better, make the playoffs and get this team moving back in the right direction, they both should not be resigned and the Cubs should start over. With AT LEAST Wood (mutual option), Prior, Lee, Maddux, Ramirez (can void deal) and Walker (barring any extenstions this offseason) all free agents after 2006, this next year could be the make it or break it year with REBUILDING coming up after if we BREAK it. Only Barrett, Dempster, Patterson and Z are definately going to be here in 2007 from the Opening Day roster in 2005.

Very important offseason and season next year. Hopefully Hendry can get the right kind of players needed to fill some gaping holes.

Has anyone commented that the Sox and Astros have identical (and low) team OBP: .322.

So much for moneyball...

Of course nobody will mention that...it goes against one of the main complaints of many on here about Hendry and Baker.

I have mentioned previously about Florida having an OBP in 2003 of .333 (8th in NL) and they won it all, but I was told that was a freak occurance or exception to the rule.

Again, the reason these low OBP teams CAN still win is PITCHING PITCHING PITCHING. In 2003 the Cubs did not have a good team OBP (.323 - 12th in NL) and still won the division. WHY?? They had the one of the BEST starting pitching staffs in all of baseball.

Yes, having a high OBP is nice, but I would much rather have a stud pitching staff. I think if you ask Boston fans they would say the same. They had the best OBP in AL but got swept in the playoffs...WHY?? NO PITCHING!!

I admire your patience, Manny. I also don't understand where these Sox-motivate-Cubs sentiments come from. If the Cubs were owned by an individual, then sure, maybe. As it is now, it's 100% profit, and it's fun to see people pretend otherwise.

"Moneyball" philosophies were, are, and will continue to be "find assets that are undervalued and buy them, take assets that are overvalued and sell them." It has little to do with OBP qua OBP: OBP just happened to be the asset that was undervalued when the book was being written. I have no idea what the "buy low" will be this offseason, but "sell high" will almost surely be punchless speedsters.

Also, with the exception of the Reds and Rockies, of the top ten teams for OBP in 2005, five made the playoffs and the others weren't eliminated until the final days of the season. There's no one ingredient for guaranteed success, but baserunners don't hurt.

I wonder if McPhail and Hendry think they'll sell 3 million seats if the Cubs have a losing record again this year. 95% (made up) of season ticket sales are based on what the team did the previous year. You would think that the # of season tickets would drop headed into 2006, and that the Cubs will need to be competitive right from the get-go to get their $120 in stadium revenue.

I'd suggest you're only half-right, Ron. Quite clearly Moneyball is above all about the exploitation of market inefficiencies, but it does also lay out the importance of on-base percentage to the creation of runs. It goes further than just saying that on-base percentage is undervalued, it goes so far as to suggest a more appropriate value for the metric.

Quite what Manny's on about, as always, I'm not quite sure. The 2005 Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros had low on-base percentages, but they also hardly scored any runs: the White Sox ranked 9th of 14 in the AL in runs scored, the Astros 11th of 16 in the NL. The 2003 Florida Marlins meanwhile were merely middle of the pack (8th of 16 in the NL) in runs scored too.

It therefore remains the case that a high on-base percentage makes an excellent contribution to the scoring of runs, and a low on-base percentage does not. Cub fans as a result are entirely justified in bemoaning the continued failure of their organisation to get runners on base, for it's doing our offence more harm than good.

But scoring runs isn't even quite half the game, and on-base percentage probably isn't even quite half of scoring runs, and no-one has ever justifiably said that there's nothing more to winning games, or even scoring runs, than on-base percentage. Certainly it's possible to win games and to score runs without OBP, but it's a great deal more difficult, and that's all that's ever justifiably been said.

Why are the White Sox and Astros where they are? Indeed, because their pitching staffs have performed sensationally just about all year long, well enough indeed to hide the many sins of their offences. But who ever said that pitching wasn't a significant contributing factor to the winning of ballgames? And who ever said that pitching and defence combined weren't the most significant contributing factors to the winning of ballgames? Exactly, the grand total of Joe Morgan.


And making his annual return trip to the "All-Stupid List", Dusty has once again shown he has absolutely no clue how to manage a pitching staff to minimize risk of injury on his pitchers. In a burnt, meaningless season where the team really was never close to the division lead, and was never within the top 3 or 4 Wild Card contenders, Dusty has managed his staff enough to have Z and Prior #2 and #3 in pitcher abuse points per BP (Take that for what it is worth...)

This franchise is built on pitchers. Interpret Dusty's managerial skills in terms of managing a staff however you want. Defend him - defile him...whatever...

Real Neal,

I'm not sure if the cubs really need to fill three million seats but I did quickly go over attendance figures since 1984 and they have been above or near two million every year since then. And there have been some damn awful teams in there. In fact, only in '94 and 2000 were they in the bottom half of the league in attendance and even then, just barely.

I think it would take quite a string of Cub teams that just can't compete, maybe approaching ten years, for Wrigley Field to empty out. And given the payroll, dogs on telephones could put together a team that hangs around .500 season after season.

I don't know that three million is any magic number for the Cubs. And who knows how much the Trib makes on their scalped tickets? If they don't hit 3 million for a few years I doubt they will panic. They will still be in the top tier attendance-wise in the NL.

On a related "isn't the Trib evil note," I know that as a weekend/night game plan season ticket holder, unlike in '03, we are no longer offered every postseason game. Whether this is because of demands of major league baseball or if the Cubs, having started scalping their own tickets, wiil hold them to sell at inflated prices is up for debate. Okay, the debate's over. To hell the Trib. It'll be interesting to see if the addition of 2000 seats will give the Cubs the wiggle room seats-wise to once again give us all postseason games. I'm not holding my breath.

Here's the problem with the OBP thing...

If the component of OBP that is undervalued is the WALKS, maybe there is a reason? Maybe that's because you need your OBP to be high due to lots of HITS with some walks, rather than some hits and lots of walks?

Think about it this way...When push comes to shove, against the best pitchers on the best teams in crunch time, are they guys who will issue lots of walks? No they are not. Look at the post season so far - nobody is walking a lot. Contreras went another QS without yielding a walk. The Sox as a team have yielded 12 walks in 9 games. The teams that are doing the best are the teams that are HITTING the best, not walking. Walking is important, but you can't build a team JUST around walking. You have to build a balanced team that hits, walks, fields and pitches.

Dusty's dislike for walks is a problem. But so is the Beane/Moneyball unmitigated love for them. You need to make pitchers throw strikes, and hit them. If they don't throw strikes, then you canwait for pitchers to throw balls so you can get on base. But if walking is your strategy, you will struggle against good pitching like you will see on the best teams in the game.

You need to make pitchers throw strikes, and hit them. If they don't throw strikes, then you can wait for pitchers to throw balls so you can get on base.

Well said X.

My take on OBP is that working the count is where the value is. Getting the best pitch to hit takes patience. The net consequence of making a pitcher throw more pitches is that he will be less likely to go deep into a game. In that way to offense can subtly affect the opposing pitching staff.

The 2005 Cubs like Neifi/CPat are at the bad end of this spectrum...and our pitchers Prior/KW/Z are also at the wrong end of this spectrum. The league knows the Cub pitchers won't throw enough strikes and that their hitters will swing at pitches out of the strike zone. That means it's an obvious weakness (which unless it's addressed will continue) and that's what makes players like CPat with glaring weaknesses look good in flashes but over the long haul take a beating.

There is good value in getting walks but it is just one measurable entity, pitches per at-bat is the one I like better. Ten plus pitch at-bats...Priceless.

I posted this on the last thread:

I was just reading BCB and Al has been hearing these rumors:

* FLA has OFFERED us Pierre for Cpat and Hill, but Hendry will not do it because he does not want to give up Hill.

I don't like Pierre but if they only reason he does not want to make this trade is not giving up Hill his reason better be he is trying to use him in a Dunn or Manram deal.

* Hendry wants to make a run at Giles and Ryan in FA.

Great idea Jim.

I never meant to say anything that could be interpreted as pro-Dusty.


Thanks for the correction, John. I actually haven't read the book in awhile; revisiting it might be a good offseason project.

"Thanks for the correction, John. I actually haven't read the book in awhile; revisiting it might be a good offseason project."

I'm also looking forward to the book coming out sometime this year that is supposedly the counter-arguement to Moneyball about the Atlanta Braves organization. As I was explained, it is about the value of scouting and how scouts analyze players and build strong farm systems that are able to constantly generate value either for the MLB club, or for trade bait to keep a team winning over the long haul.

For all the Yankees win because of money, they also should be credited with developing the core of players that won them all the WS in the recent run. Jeter, Posada, Rivera, Pettit, etc. were all homegrown products and were critical in winning. (Sure, having the highest payroll in baseball and being able to go out and get the best FAs has helped - but the core to the 4 WS and 10 straight playoff appearances was mostly homegrown. (now they spent millions to keep them home - again - I am not denying they are capable of doing this because of deep pockets) They have been, more than most franchises in the past 15 years, skilled at drafting, developing, and eventually utilizing talent on the major league club.

Re: Sports Census,
I noticed that Boston and Chicago Ranked 1 and 2 respectively in Baseball, Basketball and Football in terms of teams getting the most votes.
That seems odd.
There is some sort of new england/chicago bias.
There is no way the celtics are more popular than the lakers...

Recent comments

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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the mlb.tv internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup equation...plus joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.