I wrote a nifty little computer program that will go out to MLB.com, suck out a year’s worth of box score data, and sort out all the stats by the direction of the wind. Now that I’ve got that program done, I’ll be able to continually make these tables throughout the 2005 season with little effort.
As I looked through the 2004 numbers, a few things stood out:
* My hand-collected stats back in September were slightly off. They actually won a few more games with the wind blowing out than I originally thought.
* Whenever Maddux would take the mound on a WGN-TV broadcast day with the wind blowing in, Chip Carey would always make a point of it to say that it’s a “good day for Maddux to pitch.” As it turns out, Maddux was 4-0 with the wind blowing OUT and 4-4 with the wind blowing IN at Wrigley. At first it seems counterintuitive, but the reason is simple: the Cub offense provided more run support when the wind was blowing out.
* Derrek Lee and Sammy Sosa each hit more than twice as many home runs with the wind blowing out compared to it blowing in, but it’s The Musketeer that benefit the most from the friendly breeze at the Friendly Confines. Aramis Ramirez belted a modest THREE home runs with the wind blowing in, but a whopping SEVENTEEN dingers with the wind blowing out. You can decide for yourself what might be causing this, but I think his massive uppercut swing causes a lot of high fly balls that are either carried out or knocked down.
* With a lineup full of power hitters, the 2004 Cubs didn’t just like the wind to blow out at Wrigley, they depended on it. Wind blew out, they scored 5.79 runs per game and had an impressive .667 winning percentage. Wind blew in, they scored 4.71 runs per game and had a dismal .457 winning percentage.
With the departure of two of their most prolific home run hitters, the 2005 Cubs may have to rely on methods of scoring runs other than the long ball. Or, they may just ride the jet stream whenever the wind happens to be going their way.