Over the next 12 weeks, I will be examining a question that at first glance may seem simple to answer: Are you confident that the local baseball team os going in the right direction? The poll in the top-left corner of the page is one way to try to answer this question, but I'd like to try some more scientific methods.
First, the weekend's attendance. Thus far, we have three data points to work with, which I feel is enough of a sample from which to draw an informed conclusion from:
Obviously, something happened during or just after the first game to destroy the confidence of the fans. I did pore over the transaction log, and no player went on the Defective List, so it could not have been an injury. My next step was to check the game time weather for those three days, since weather can have a singular effect on mood. A person's mood can be deflated not only during bad weather, but also if they merely know that bad weather is coming. For the purposes of this examination, I will assume every potential attendee watched Dick Goddard's forecast the night before, and therefore was accurately informed of the forecasts for the following days.
This, however, did not tell the whole story, as I later learned. It did rain later on both April 2 and 3, and even rained during the April 3 game. So, assuming Dick Goddard forecasted rain for these two days (and since it rained, it is certain that he did), rain does partially explain why the attendance significantly declined from the April 1 game. But it does not completely explain it, as it is theoretically impossible for rain to dampen a fan confidence level by more than 33%. So if just rain was the cause, the attendance on April 2 would have dropped only to 27,535, +/- 3%.
So something else must be at work here. I therefore looked for some clues in this fine site's Game Comment Forum for April 1, and I was able to gather some interesting data points.
The forum started out with this comment:
So far, so good, as apparently "Dortmunder Gold" is a revered local alcoholic beverage.
But less than an hour later:
I'm assuming the above post is not referring to a type of music.
So it appears that something happened after the game started to sap the confidence of the fanbase. This last exhibit makes this hypothesis crystal clear:
It was then that I thought of the final score of the game. The home team did in fact lose, though they only lost by 5 runs. So while this outcome would have a further eroding effect on fan confidence, it should have reduced the next game's attendance only by another 5% (to 25,867 +/- 3%).
I am left with some unpleasant possibilities. There may be some as yet unexplained effect that took place on April 1 that caused the precipitous effect on attendance. Or perhaps (and I say this with a heavy heart) attendance is not a proxy for fan confidence.
Obviously, more data is needed.