MLB Territories in Virginia and Maryland | Should you root for the Nationals or the Orioles?

In my previous post, I made a map dividing the entire United States in to 30 Major League Baseball Territories.  The idea was that this map would help you choose which team to root for based on which stadium was closest to where you lived.  In part 2 of my mini research project, I zoom in on the “hotly” contested territories of Virginia and Maryland.  Many Virginians and Washingtonians around my age grew up rooting for the Baltimore Orioles because they were the closest MLB team.  But in 2005, the Montreal Expos moved to Washington D.C. where they became the Washington Nationals.  Baseball fans from Virginia and DC  had a decision to make – should they honor their allegiance to the Orioles, or abandon their old team because the Nationals were in town.  If the locals didn’t root for the Nationals, then who would?

To help answer this question, I made a map that just focused on Virginia and Maryland.  Besides showing the closest MLB stadium, I also included a few other pieces of information that might help someone decide which team to root for.  For example,  I’ve included the locations of all the Orioles and Nationals minor league affiliates (if you live close to one of those teams it may affect your MLB allegiance), and also included the official territory as defined in the MLB constitution (yes they actually have a constitution).   Just for kicks, I also included the area covered by MASN TV network that shows both Orioles and Nationals games.  This was actually the most time-consuming part of the map making process because MASN doesn’t release this information.  Instead I used MLB.TV’s website, and typed in every zip code to see if Orioles’ or Nationals’ games were “blacked out.”   If you live in a zip code where you couldn’t watch an O’s or Nats game on MLB.TV, I assumed it was because your zip code gets the MASN network and MLB.TV is not allowed to steal any of MASN’s potential viewers.  As always, just post a comment if you are curious about anything!

MLB Territories in VA and MD

Major League Baseball Territories

Even though this blog is about researching personal finance topics, sometimes I get caught up in other research projects that have nothing to do with finance.  About a year ago, I became obsessed with the idea of trying to divide the United States into Major League Baseball territories.  The idea was that you should root for whichever team that has the closest stadium to you (as the crow flies). So without further introduction, here is the map.  Hopefully this can help you answer the questions, “Which Major League Baseball team should I root for?” or “Which Major League Baseball Team is closest to me?”   I’m also happy to answer any questions about the methodology – just leave a comment!

Also check out Part 2 of my research project, focusing on the Mid Atlantic region (Orioles and Nationals Territory) with a little more detail and new information.

*UPDATE* After the map made its way on Twitter, a few sharp folks noticed that the some of the territory boundary lines were a little off. It turns out the computer algorithm I used had some bugs.  Obviously I should have checked this by hand, but I guess that’s what you get when you trust the computer too much!  My apologies.  For those of you interested in the mapping process, I included a description of the changes below the revised map.

Description of Changes: The original boundary lines were produced by running a computer program within a geographic information system software that generates “Thiessen Polygons.”  Without this program, it is extremely time consuming to draw the polygons by hand – especially for a side project.   The mistake I made was assuming that the polygons drawn by the computer were correct, and not double checking by hand. For this revision you see above, I calculated the Thiessen polygons myself using this process (in PDF). I’ve checked and rechecked the distances this time, and I’d say the accuracy is +/- 1,000 meters.  I’ve also updated the population figures. I had some good comments wondering if the the original errors were due to the the projection.  Just FYI – I used a Albers equal-area conic projection, which preserves polygon areas but has some minimal shape/straight line distortion.  As always let me know if you have questions.