December 3, 2020

Redrawing the MiLB Map: An Update (FanGraphs)


On Monday, we published a piece detailing how MLB’s proposal to reimagine the minor leagues would alter in-person access to professional baseball across the country. We were interested in how many people would lose their ability to watch affiliated baseball in person, or see that access shift from the minor leagues to more expensive major league parks. To arrive at those numbers:

[W]e took the geographical center of each ZCTA (a close relative of ZIP Codes used by the Census Bureau). We calculated the distance as the crow flies from each ZCTA to each ballpark in America, both in 2019 and in MLB’s proposed new landscape. From there, we took the minimum of all of those distances for each ZCTA. That gave us the shortest distance to baseball for each geographical center. We then matched the distance with the population of each area.

In the piece, we acknowledged the limitations of linear distance. It doesn’t account for natural barriers, like say, mountains or lakes, or things like the placement of roads. And, as several folks pointed out on twitter and in the comments, not all road conditions are created equally. How long it takes to drive 50 miles in the Washington…

Read “Redrawing the MiLB Map: An Update” at FanGraphs