Interactive Pennant Races in Exploratory

I’ve been creating MLB pennant race charts for years now, covering every season from 1901 through 2019, with 2020, 2021, and 2022 to come soon. These charts have been available on the site in single charts for each season at a league (American or National) and division level (since 1969). This has always worked reasonably well, but I have always yearned for something a bit more interactive, where users could go to one place and enter the season and league they want to view. Finally, courtesy of the Exploratory Server, such a solution is now available.

Here’s a glimpse of what I’m talking about – first, the old way of doing things, which I’ll continue to maintain. The process starts with a visit to the pennant races page on this site:

Pennant races chart selection

Selecting a specific menu option will display a single pennant race, such as the 1901 American League race shown here:

1901 American League pennant race

These charts work well, and provide some interactivity, but it is strictly one chart per link, so not very efficient.

Now, here’s the alternative option using the Exploratory server. Here I can create very similar charts but with a parameter-driven menu enabling users to select a season and a league:

Exploratory pennant race seasons filter
Exploratory pennant race league filter

Here’s a case where we select the 1901 season and the American League filters, with the following result:

1901 AL pennant race in Exploratory

The real power in this approach comes with the seasons from 1969-2019, where each league had two and then three divisions. Selecting the 2019 season and the American League filter options will now deliver all three divisional charts on a single page!

You can try this out yourself; just make sure to set the Parameters interactive mode to “On” which will activate the filters; you can control the display as well to show one or more columns. I find that a single column works best for the pennant race charts.

I’ll be working more on this as part of the visualization options going forward; there are other cases where I can use similar functionality. Thanks for reading, and see you soon!

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