As a huge fan of baseball, I was recently surfing the web to try and find a map of all the baseball teams in my current area. I’m spending the summer in Lincoln, Nebraska and am aware that the Lincoln Salt Dogs play just a few blocks away from my apartment, but I had no idea (until working on this project) that another team plays about 30 minutes away in Omaha. This would not stand. I decided that baseball fans everywhere must have the most convenient access to locate nearby baseball teams, and the best way to do this would be to map every single baseball team in the United States. So I set out to build ‘The Baseball Map.’ I’ve spent the past week pulling team data manually from the web, which has been quite the job. The amount of copying and pasting location coordinates was too much to handle, so I only did a little bit each day after work. All of the data is currently stored in an array on the front end, but I’d like to implement a simple back end to hand user submission in the future. I made the website using the Google Maps Javascript API and spent most of today (July 3rd) styling it up and refining the interface. I decided early on that I wanted to get a lot of feedback and criticism from baseball fans. I built this just as a fun project, but I’ve really curious about what other fans think of what I’m building. Do they think it’s just a neat thing to look at for 30 seconds? Is there potential for them to enjoy using the site repetitively? I ventured to the reddit.com/r/baseball IRC channel for my first round of feedback, with a basic screenshot and a short description. I got a ‘looks good’ and ‘looks good from that one shot’, which was nice to hear but not the criticism I was looking for. The chatroom discussion quickly resumed with a ‘forgot to buy bread, fuuuuuck’. That’s what I get for going to a chatroom for feedback. I plan on posting the site to actual /r/baseball subreddit tomorrow.

Why reddit for feedback?

  • I’ve found reddit is very inviting to side projects, no matter where you post them, and you’ll usually get a decent number of responses within a few hours of posting. What I’m hoping to hear is what value people think this would have. If the answer is none, which it might be right now, I’d be interested to hear if any of the following would add more value for a baseball fan:
  • Expanding the data set to include college teams, foreign teams, etc.
  • Including a large number of historical locations- including stadiums, baseball landmarks, museums, etc
  • Allowing for user submission of these locations
  • Allowing for commenting on locations – people could share their memorable experiences at their favorite stadiums, or even provide tips for getting into batting practice early, getting autographs, etc.
  • Allow people to check off which stadiums they’ve been to. Many baseball fans take pride in having visited different stadiums.

Questions I still have:

  • Should the data focus more on the team or the stadium?
  • Are fans more interested in seeing nearby stadiums and learning about the history of past/present stadiums, or are they interested in seeing the teams of past/present? I figure this is something I should figure out right now before I put more of my time into adding more data.

Baseball fans love statistics, so what statistics could I gather about teams or stadiums that would be of interest to fans? This could be things like season W-L records for teams throughout history, or attendance records for stadiums throughout history. Or it could be as simple as tracking internal data, such as what teams have the most user submissions (should I implement a commenting system), or which teams have been clicked/viewed the most. This would create a sort of popularity contest.

I’ll post again when I release version 2. For now you can check out the project at thebaseballmap.com

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