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Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Baseball and Geography

Dan shows us why science is neato.

Many people have asked me what I expect to do with a degree in Geography.  This is, of course, ridiculous; there are many firms excited to take on geographers, including Safeway, Wal-Mart, and even Target.  But the real reason I studied geography was so I could write this article on the geography of baseball.

I know what you’re thinking: Geography?  Baseball?  Surely the two disciplines never meet!  But think again.  Geography and baseball are as intertwined as curly fries.  For example, geography is the study of the Earth, and without the Earth, we’d have to play baseball on the moon, and if you think games are too high-scoring in Denver—well, then, you’d better thank your lucky stars for geography.

Note: one common mistake is to confuse “geographers” with “geologists.”  Actually, the two groups are quite distinct.  Geologists are better funded, take more organized notes, and don’t tape their favorite “This Modern World” comics on their office doors.  Most geologists did not do their graduate work while driving around Michigan in a chartreuse Microbus.  And it would be a geologist, not a geographer, that tells you that California will crash into the sea in 20 or 30 years, taking four or five baseball teams with it, in a process called “contraction.”

So what can a geographer tell you about baseball?  Well, there are a few things, and I hope for this to be a handy in-house reference for them.  Things like rainfall, altitude, and population all help give current teams their individual character—and all help us to decide where best to put new ones or move old ones.  Clearly, the best format for this exercise is a mock question-and-answer format, in which I make up ignorant questions, attribute them (in the spirit of Troy McClure) to some kid named Billy, and respond patronizingly, all while overusing the term “common misconception.”  So without further ado:

Billy: Geographer Dan, I live in Buffalo, and I think we should get the Expos, because it rains too much in Portland.

Geographer Dan: That’s a common misconception, Billy.  You see, the Northwest has a reputation for rainy weather for two reasons.  First, Seattle is (deservedly) perceived as too frequently cloudy, dreary, and drizzly.  Second, some of the rainiest places in the country are in western Washington, particularly on the Olympic Peninsula.  However, you must also note two other facts: Seattle and Portland are in the rain shadow of the Coast Ranges, and they both have a Mediterranean climate, which means they have dry summers and wet winters.

Billy: So Seattle and Portland wouldn’t be the rainiest major league cities?

Geographer Dan: Nope.  In fact, they’re among the driest during the baseball season.  The best way to look at this issue is to look at the number of rainy days each city sees during the season—that is, the days with measurable precipitation (more than .01 inches) from April to September.  Take a look (cities in italics are those that don’t currently have Major League teams):

Days of Rain  APR  MAY  JUN  JUL  AUG  SEP   TOT
San Juan        13    16    15    19    18    18    99
Miami            6    10    15    16    17    17    81
Montreal        13    13    13    12    13    11    75
Pittsburgh      14    13    12    11    10    10    70
Buffalo         14    13    11    10    10    11    69
Tampa            5     6    12    16    16    13    68
Cleveland       14    13    11    10     9    10    67
Toronto         12    12    11    10    10    10    65
Minneapolis     10    12    12    10    10    10    64
Detroit         13    11    10    10    10    10    64
Chicago         13    11    10    10     9     9    62
Boston          11    12    11     9    10     9    62
Indianapolis    12    12    10    10     9     8    61
New York        11    11    10    11    10     8    61
Milwaukee       12    11    10     9     9     9    60
Cincinnati      12    11    10    10     8     8    59
Kansas City     10    12    11     9     9     8    59
Philadelphia    11    11    10     9     9     8    58
Atlanta          9     9    10    12    10     8    58
St. Louis       12    11    10     9     8     8    58
Washington      10    11    10    10     9     8    58
Baltimore       11    11     9     9     9     8    57
Charlotte        9    10    10    11    10     7    57
Seattle         14    10     9     5     6     9    53
Denver           9    11     9     9     9     6    53
Portland        14    12     9     4     5     8    52
Houston          7     8     9     9     9     9    51
Dallas           8     9     7     5     5     7    41
San Antonio      7     8     7     4     5     7    38
Phoenix          2     1     1     4     5     3    16
Las Vegas        2     1     1     3     3     2    12
San Francisco    6     3     1     0     1     1    12
Sacramento       5     3     1     0     0     1    10
San Diego        4     2     1     0     1     1     9
Los Angeles      3     1     1     1     0     1     7

Billy: Jeepers!  You mean only cities in Texas and the Southwest get less rain in the summer than Portland?

Geographer Dan: Correct, Billy.  And Buffalo’s summers are only pleasant when compared to Buffalo’s winters.

Billy:  What about elevation?  I live in Denver, and I thought the highest team in baseball was the Rockies, but my friend Jimmy said it was the Mets.  What’s he talking about?

Geographer Dan: That doesn’t matter.  You’re correct, of course, Billy.  Denver’s elevation is 5,260 feet above sea level.  The next highest city is Phoenix at just 1,090 feet.  Then comes Atlanta, at 1,050.  The rest of the cities are below 1,000 feet, but expansion or relocation could change that.

City          Elev.
Denver          5260
Las Vegas       2000
Phoenix         1090
Atlanta         1050
Charlotte        850
Minneapolis      815
Pittsburgh       770
Kansas City      740
Indianapolis     717
San Antonio      650
Milwaukee        634
Chicago          596
Detroit          585
Buffalo          585
Dallas           463
St. Louis        455
Seattle          350
Los Angeles      330
Toronto          251
Montreal         221
Baltimore        100
San Francisco     63
New York          55
Portland          50
Tampa             48
Oakland           42
San Diego         40
Philadelphia      40
Houston           40
Washington        25
Sacramento        20
Boston            20
Miami             11
San Juan           8

Billy: Are those the elevations of the actual stadiums or just the cities in general?

Geographer Dan:  How much free time do you think I have, Billy?

Billy: So a team in Las Vegas might have some high-scoring games?

Geographer Dan: That’s right.  But some people have even suggested putting a team in Mexico City, which is at a whopping 7,570 feet above sea level.

Billy: But isn’t it also true that Mexico City is cooler and more humid than Denver?

Geographer Dan: Hey, who’s the geographer here, Billy?

Billy: Sorry.  Geographer Dan, I live in San Antonio, and I think we should get the Expos, because we’re the biggest city without a team.  I looked in my almanac, and it said San Antonio has 1,144,646 people.  Washington and Portland have fewer than 600,000.  Some cities, like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Tampa are down around 300,000!  Why do they get teams and we don’t?

Geographer Dan: This is a common misconception, Billy.  You see, you’re looking at the population within the city limits.  What you need to look at is the population of the metropolitan area.  In the United States, that usually means looking at the Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA).

Billy: Why is it called “consolidated?”

Geographer Dan: It’s consolidated when it’s a squashed together mass of Primary Metropolitan Statistical Areas (PMSAs).  The Baltimore PMSA, when combined with the Washington PMSA and the Hagerstown PMSA, comprise the Washington-Baltimore CMSA.  The only problem is that CMSAs are based on counties, which makes a lot more sense in the East than in the West.  For example, the Los Angeles CMSA has an area of 33,966 square miles, making it larger than South Carolina.  It includes both Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park, two desert natural areas with a combined area of 4,026 square miles—about twice the size of Delaware.

Billy: Then how can the population figures be accurate?

Geographer Dan: They could be better, but fortunately, not many people live in those outlying areas.  So the figures are typically good approximations.

Billy: How does Canada do it?

Geographer Dan: Our deviant neighbors to the north actually take the time to determine the specific urban areas that should be included.  Anyway, here are the 2000 metropolitan population figures of the current cities and eight proposed MLB cities, along with population growth from 1990-2000:

City                    Metro Pop.     Change
New York                    21,199,865        8.4%
Los Angeles                 16,373,645       12.7%
Chicago                      9,157,540       11.1%
Washington-Baltimore         7,608,070       13.1%
San Francisco                7,039,362       12.6%
Philadelphia                 6,188,463        5.0%
Boston                       5,819,100        6.7%
Detroit                      5,456,428        5.2%
Dallas                       5,221,801       29.3%
Toronto                      4,773,600         N/A
Houston                      4,669,571       25.2%
Atlanta                      4,112,198       38.9%
Miami                        3,876,380       21.4%
Seattle                      3,554,760       19.7%
Montreal                     3,479,400         N/A
Phoenix                      3,251,876       45.3%
Minneapolis                  2,968,806       16.9%
Cleveland                    2,945,831        3.0%
San Diego                    2,813,833       12.6%
St. Louis                    2,603,607        4.5%
Denver                       2,581,506       30.4%
San Juan                     2,450,292        7.9%
Tampa                        2,395,997       15.9%
Pittsburgh                   2,358,695       -1.5%
Portland                     2,265,223       26.3%
Cincinnati                   1,979,202        8.9%
Sacramento                   1,796,857       21.3%
Kansas City                  1,776,062       12.2%
Milwaukee                    1,689,572        5.1%
Indianapolis                 1,607,486       16.4%
San Antonio                  1,592,383       20.2%
Las Vegas                    1,563,282       83.3%
Charlotte                    1,499,293       29.0%
Buffalo                      1,170,111       -1.6%

Billy: Wow!  Those sure are exciting numbers!  And I thought geography was boring.

Geographer Dan: That’s a common misconception, Billy.

Billy: Geographer Dan, I live in Morgan, Montana, and my teacher says that it’s the farthest city in the continental United States from Major League Baseball.

Geographer Dan: Another common misconception, Billy.  While Morgan is 895 miles from Seattle and 894 from Minneapolis, it is only 812 miles from Denver.  Opheim, Montana, on the other hand, is 817 miles from Minneapolis, 894 miles from Denver, and 963 miles from Seattle.  Anyway, that’s all the time we have today.

Billy: But I still have more questions about geography!  What about temperature and humidity?

Geographer Dan: Sorry, Billy.  I’ve already worked my butt off on an article that’ll get about two comments.

Billy: Aw, gee whiz.  Are you at least paying me for this?

Geographer Dan: That’s a common misconception, Billy.

Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 07, 2003 at 06:00 AM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jason Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:18 AM (#608106)
Hey it's not a trap. I think the population numbers are the most interesting of course. It would certainly seem that a lot of cities don't fair well if they can't even boast as many people as Milwaukee.
   2. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:18 AM (#608107)
Funniest Primer article ever. Thanks, Dan.
   3. WillYoung Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:18 AM (#608120)
Hey Dan, great article. I'm taking a class on Population Geography this semester and I was wondering you would help me out if I have any questions:)
   4. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:18 AM (#608123)
Funniest Primer article ever. Thanks, Dan.

Thank you, Craig. Thanks also for being the only voice in support of my sabermetric boy band.

Wow, I didn't even know you could major in geography. Where did you go to school? My college has 14,000 undergraduates and one geography class, an elective in the geology department. It wasn't a class at my high school or middle school or elementary school, either.

Really? Where are you from? Maybe it's an out west thing. I went to Eastern Washington University (mostly), where we had a whopping four Geography profs.

I used to go to UW. They have 21 Geog Profs and 70 grad students (don't know the undergrad numbers).

UCSB (or what we Geography majors call "The Promised Land") has 22 profs on faculty, 200 undergrads, and 100 grad students despite having about half the total enrollment of UW.

And yes, I took World Geography in 7th grade, too.

1. Is Cincinnati underwater? It doesn't appear in your list.

An oversight. Cincinnati checks in at 653 feet.

2. Isn't, say, Nome, Alaska, farther from a baseball team than anywhere in Montana?

I don't make the rules, but "continental United States" typically means the lower 48. You can look it up. That doesn't mean we have to like it, of course.
   5. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:18 AM (#608126)
Thank you, Craig. Thanks also for being the only voice in support of my sabermetric boy band.

Huh. I guess I'm a Dan Werr fan. Who'da thunk it?
   6. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:18 AM (#608128)
I don't make the rules, but "continental United States" typically means the lower 48.

Dan, I'm a fan and all, but I think the Geographers Cabal should get together with some geologists (Tom Tomorrow-free doors notwithstanding) and talk about what the word "continent" means.
   7. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:18 AM (#608129)
Hey Dan, great article. I'm taking a class on Population Geography this semester and I was wondering you would help me out if I have any questions:)

No problem. In my day I received the prestigious Yarwood (pronounced "Yahwood") Award.

ps I'm not really a geographer. Thats why I don't know what the westernmost city in Hawaii is.

Mana? I'm not certain either. By the way, those distances are by road, not as the crow flies.
   8. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:19 AM (#608138)
Huh. I guess I'm a Dan Werr fan. Who'da thunk it?

Are you that guy lurking in my bushes all the time then?

By the way, Craig, since I'm your role model, isn't there some behavior of mine you should be emulating? Maybe something that involves picking things from a big list?

Dan, I'm a fan and all, but I think the Geographers Cabal should get together with some geologists (Tom Tomorrow-free doors notwithstanding) and talk about what the word "continent" means.

We're still angry at them for Mt. St. Helens. They knew we had just finished that map.

Another step would be to look at possible population pools for each team to draw attendance from. Make a bunch of assumptions about how driving distances affect likehood of attendance, how competition from other MLB teams affect it, etc., etc.

Similar to that market study. Now there's a GIS project waiting to happen! MLB, contact me at the address above with your offer of a generous research grant.

-I've used Thomas Brothers map books for years, and they could use someone to fix a ton of errors that I've found in their guides. Get a resume off to them.

Believe it or not, I did once. But who wants to live in Irvine anyway? Those are nice books, though, errors notwithstanding.
   9. Shredder Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:19 AM (#608158)
Thank you, Craig. Thanks also for being the only voice in support of my sabermetric boy band.

I would have voiced support, but I was too busy preparing for a possible audition to be a part of Craig Calcaterra's "Midwest Law".

But who wants to live in Irvine anyway?

A bunch of Republicans and people who like upscale stripmall looking things and automalls.

And what the hell is Kenosha doing in Chicago's CMSA? Is it not closer to Milwaukee? It seems that I'm 90 minutes from Milwaukee, but 60 minutes from Kenosha. I don't get it.

Great article, Dan.
   10. Jesse Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:19 AM (#608160)
Portland may look like a great place for a baseball team, but I grew up in Portland and it's not a baseball town. There's just no grassroots interest in a team. City boosters (of which Portland has plenty) have been trying to whip up support for an MLB team for years, but the minor league team dropped from AAA to single-A for a year or so about eight years ago, and nobody really seemed to care. Those who liked hanging out at the ballpark (like me) continued to go to games, and those who didn't like hanging out at the ballpark continued to discuss the Blazers, the city's true and only love, through the summer.

The Mariners get some support, but there's no MLB-quality stadium, even for a temporary setup, no big corporations that'll buy into the team (other than Nike), and no real popular demand for a team. Try Northern Virginia.

Oh, and regarding weather, I always have to slowly explain to people that May through October in Portland are sunny and beautiful. It's just the rest of the year that we never see the sun. You might check rainouts for the minor league team and compare it to other teams -- that'd be a decent measure.

   11. Damon Rutherford Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:19 AM (#608161)
Dan, I'm a fan and all, but I think the Geographers Cabal should get together with some geologists (Tom Tomorrow-free doors notwithstanding) and talk about what the word "continent" means.

I've often heard and regulary use "contiguous United States" or "the 48 contiguous states" or a similar variant rather than use the word "continental" when wanting to spurn Alaska and Hawaii.

   12. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:19 AM (#608164)
Why not just use the "non-freak states"?

Once again, as in all things, the Simpsons has shown us the way.
   13. Fog City Blues Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:19 AM (#608165)
Great article Geographer Dan.

Wow, I didn't even know you could major in geography.

Of course you can major in Geography. I took two Geography classes when I went to UCSB.

Count me in as a supporter of the Expos moving to Portland, OR.
   14. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:19 AM (#608168)
Great Article Dan. One omission however, the elevation of Cleveland is 791 ft. Give or take.
   15. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:19 AM (#608181)
The numbers make it look like, funding issues aside, Portland would be the finest of many fine destinations for the wandering Expos. Do you agree?

I can see an argument for New York, but I don't see that happening, and an argument for Washington. My top choice, though, is Portland, but I'm biased because I'm close to Portland and could get closer.

One advantage Portland has is that it's pretty far from other MLB cities, and could help balance out the East-West thing.

Awesome article, Dan. How did you calculate what the further city from MLB is?

I took a Delorme Montana Gazeteer, found cities up near the Canadian border, and put them in Mapquest against the possible close cities (in most cases, MIN, COL, and SEA). You can narrow it down pretty quickly, though there might be some tiny city a little further that I don't know about. Trust me, though, Morgan is not a metropolis.

For those interested, the full U.S. census metro population data is at: http://www.census.gov/population/cen2000/phc-t3/tab03.txt

I considered including the PMSAs inside the CMSAs--it's instructive to see San Bernardino and Riverside separate from LA, for example, and Baltimore separate from DC. But it got so long. I have it right here, though.

Salt Lake City's at 4,266 ft, so it's pretty high. Not to say it's too high.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but 'continental' includes Alaska, whereas 'continuous' or 'contiguous' is just the 48.

This is really moot... but according to my dictionary, "continental United States" means "the states of the U.S. on the North American continent, usu. excluding Alaska; the 48 contiguous states (excluding Alaska and Hawaii)." Anyway, I agree that it makes more sense the other way.

I would have voiced support, but I was too busy preparing for a possible audition to be a part of Craig Calcaterra's "Midwest Law".

Shredder, are you moonlighting from <A >our firm</A>?

Great Article Dan. One omission however, the elevation of Cleveland is 791 ft. Give or take.

Hmmm... apparently I have some unresolved issues with Ohio elevations.

Would you consider doing a chart/table of the "mean distance" between a city and all the other cities (or contending cities) in MLB, or at least in their division/league?

Yes, I will try to do that. I'll see what my GIS software can't come up with. Any reasonable requests for data, analysis, or whatever in the area of Geography will be happily attempted (at least).
   16. Srul Itza Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:19 AM (#608182)
Locals would probably consider Lihue on the island of Kaua'i the westernmost "city" in Hawaii, assuming 5,700 or so is a "city". The whole island is around 57,000.

Honolulu is the closest thing in Hawaii to a city. The population of the City and County of Honolulu, which is also the entire island of Oahu, is 876,156.

   17. Srul Itza Posted: January 07, 2003 at 02:19 AM (#608183)
BTW, my brother also got a degree in geography, from the University of Texas at Austin.

He drives a gypsy cab.

Something to look forward to.
   18. Bob T Posted: January 08, 2003 at 02:19 AM (#608185)
Does it make much of a difference in any of the cities whether or not the altitude is the figure used by the USGS (which is usually whatever the city government wants to use) or whether it is the actual altitude of the playing surface?

Isn't Oakland's playing surface actually below sea level?

Do we need to break out the topos?
   19. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 08, 2003 at 02:19 AM (#608187)
Seattle jumps out as off. It's listed at 350', the playing field is actually probably at about 10'. It's also the only one of these cities that I have detailed topos of.

If you live in Seattle, and want to be at 350', go to Woodland Park Zoo. The elephant house should be pretty close.
   20. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 08, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608202)
The relevant numver is field-level altitude, right? I thought all you geographer guys subscribed to the realtors' and control pitchers' motto of Location, Location, Location.

Yes, but the data is not as handy. Give me some time and maybe I'll scrounge it up.

BTW, what is the time frame for the rainy days data?

April through September. Days with precip.

Or maybe they said in-season inches of rain? Does it make a difference?

That could be. East of the Rockies there could be more rain per rainy day, being more thunderstorm prone.

It's certainly the case that Safeco Field is much less than 350 feet above sea level. Ten feet might be a tad low, but I'd buy 30.

Meet me at the main gate with a transit. If it's higher than ten, it's not much over 15'. Have you ever walked to the waterfront from the park? There's really not much to it.

The elephant house is actually below the main zoo elevation. It's a relatively new exhibit, so maybe your map shows an old elphant house.

It should be at a low point. The buildings aren't labeled on my map; I'm going by memory. I remember the elephant house being a big barn with pillars up in the northeast area.

Don't know about the airport. There are plenty of places in town at 350'. Kerry Park might be a good one (nice view, too). There are places on Queen Anne, Magnolia, First Hill, and Capitol Hill, just to give a few examples from the central area.

I know a lot of elevations are probably off, but Seattle jumped out by being 300-and-some feet off.

Note that we are NOT in the Southwest. Nor Texas, obviously.

Tell it to LA. We Washingtonians don't buy it. Get rid of the palm trees and we'll talk.
   21. Basha Posted: January 08, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608205)
Entertaining article, Dan. I have two comments:
1. Regarding the rainfall statistic, I feel the relevancy of "number of inches" is misleading, since an inch of rain can fall all at once (like in a typical South-Florida deluge) or over a longer period of time (like in a Seattle day-long drizzle). Since ballgames only take a few hours, it seems to me that the RATE of rainfall (over time) should be considered. I'm pretty sure that Florida leads the league in rain-delays. The roof at Safeco is only needed (to prevent otherwise certain rain-delays) about four times a year.

2. I live in Seattle and was at first surprised at your number for our feet-above-sea-level, but then I remembered that Puget Sound is not the "sea," but basically a fiord above actual sea-level. You're number is probably correct. The biggest reason Safeco is such a strong pitcher's park is because it is situated so close to the water and the heavy marine air.
   22. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 08, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608206)
Great article Dan.

One nitpicky thing. You geographers have to stop calling it the Washington-Baltimore metro area. Such an animal does not exist. We can't even get Baltimore radio stations very clearly here in the Washington metro area. They are two distinct and seperate areas that have no really connection other than a 45 minute stretch of I-95.

Hagerstown is about and hour plus drive from either city, it would be like including Hartford, CT in the Boston Metro area or something.

Rant over. Thanks again for a great article.
   23. Bob T Posted: January 08, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608208)
According to the USGS quad for Los Angeles, Dodger Stadium sits at an elevation between 400-500'

It's sort of hard to read because the stadium is in some steep terrain.
   24. fables of the deconstruction Posted: January 08, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608209)
Dan,

Great article although I have to agree with Joe on the "Washington - Baltimore metro area." Only Peter Angelos and about 5 of his underlings believe such an animal exist. As for various sectors within the Federal Government, who believe them anyway?

Also, you forgot to include Tucson on the rainfall chart. Are you discriminating against "us" southern Arizonan Primates of something...? ;-) ...

------------
trevise :-) ...
   25. eric Posted: January 08, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608215)
I'm from Great Falls, MT, have lived in this state most of my life and have travelled around most of it, yet I have never heard of Morgan, nor can I find it on my official state highway map. However, I do know that Opheim exists, so I am assuming that you didn't make it up. So where is Morgan?

Also FYI, if Morgan is anywhere near Opheim, then Billy lives 409 miles from Unabomber country (Lincoln, MT). Big difference, Lincoln is about 20 miles from the Continental Divide, surrounded by mountains and forests, while Opheim is in the Plains, nowhere near a tree.

As far as making wisecracks about really small Montana towns, we locals like to use Twodot as our example.

Montana - where men are men, women are scarce, and sheep are nervous. :-)
   26. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 08, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608221)
Basha, I used days with measurable precip. It's not the best (it doesn't say how much or when, etc.), but it's the best available, I think.

You geographers have to stop calling it the Washington-Baltimore metro area. Such an animal does not exist.

I don't make the rules. The Census Bureau does. That's why I wanted to include the PMSAs...maybe I'll post them (people can just scroll). Look at the bottom of this post. You can't miss them. I think, for example, the while Everett and Tacoma belong with Seattle, Thurston county should not be included. Kootenai County should be included in Spokane's (Despite what its residents say).

Also, you forgot to include Tucson on the rainfall chart.

Tucson is a lovely place, large and growing, but far from getting an MLB franchise. However, just for you, Trevise:
Days of Rain   APR   MAY   JUN   JUL   AUG   SEP   TOT
Tucson           2     2     2    10     9     5    30

Don't forget your umbrella in late summer.

However, I do know that Opheim exists, so I am assuming that you didn't make it up. So where is Morgan?

Obviously, you've never driven to Malta from Swift Current, Saskatchewan on Highway 191. Or, it's equally possible that you have, and you just didn't know that the man in the booth who asked you if you had anything to declare was in Morgan, Montana.
   27. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 08, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608222)
You can't miss them.

Unless I don't include them. Here they are, sorry about the length, and hope the formatting works:
New York                    21,199,865        8.4%
   Bergen-Passaic, NJ        1,373,167        7.4%
   Bridgeport, CT              459,479        3.6%
   Danbury, CT                 217,980       12.6%
   Dutchess County, NY         280,150        8.0%
   Jersey City, NJ             608,975       10.1%
   Middlesex, NJ             1,169,641       14.7%
   Monmouth-Ocean, NJ        1,126,217       14.2%
   Nassau-Suffolk, NY        2,753,913        5.5%
   New Haven-Meriden, CT       542,149        2.3%
   New York, NY              9,314,235        9.0%
   Newark, NJ                2,032,989        6.1%
   Newburgh, NY-PA             387,669       15.5%
   Stamford-Norwalk, CT        353,556        7.2%
   Trenton, NJ                 350,761        7.7%
   Waterbury, CT               228,984        3.3%
Los Angeles                 16,373,645       12.7%
   Los Angeles, CA           9,519,338        7.4%
   Orange County, CA         2,846,289       18.1%
   Riverside-San Bern., CA   3,254,821       25.7%
   Ventura, CA                 753,197       12.6%
Chicago                      9,157,540       11.1%
   Chicago, IL               8,272,768       11.6%
   Gary, IN                    631,362        4.4%
   Kankakee, IL                103,833        7.9%
   Kenosha, WI                 149,577       16.7%
Washington-Baltimore         7,608,070       13.1%
   Baltimore, MD             2,552,994        7.2%
   Hagerstown, MD              131,923        8.7%
   Washington, DC-MD-VA-WV   4,923,153       16.6%
San Francisco                7,039,362       12.6%
   Oakland, CA               2,392,557       14.9%
   San Francisco, CA         1,731,183        8.0%
   San Jose, CA              1,682,585       12.4%
   Santa Cruz, CA              255,602       11.3%
   Santa Rosa, CA              458,614       18.1%
   Vallejo-Fairfield, CA       518,821       15.0%
Philadelphia                 6,188,463        5.0%
   Atlantic-Cape May, NJ       354,878       11.1%
   Philadelphia, PA-NJ       5,100,931        3.6%
   Vineland, NJ                146,438        6.1%
   Wilmington, DE-MD           586,216       14.2%
Boston                       5,819,100        6.7%
   Boston, MA-NH             3,406,829        5.5%
   Brockton, MA                255,459        8.1%
   Fitchburg, MA               139,439        3.0%
   Lawrence, MA-NH             396,230       12.2%
   Lowell, MA-NH               301,686        7.5%
   Manchester, NH              198,378       14.2%
   Nashua, NH                  190,949       13.5%
   New Bedford, MA             175,198       -0.3%
   Portsmouth, NH-ME           240,698        7.8%
   Worcester, MA-CT            511,389        6.9%
Detroit                      5,456,428        5.2%
   Ann Arbor, MI               578,736       18.1%
   Detroit, MI               4,441,551        4.1%
   Flint, MI                   436,141        1.3%
Dallas                       5,221,801       29.3%
   Dallas, TX                3,519,176       31.5%
   Ft. Worth-Arlington, TX   1,702,625       25.1%
Houston                      4,669,571       25.2%
   Brazoria, TX                241,767       26.1%
   Galveston, TX               250,158       15.1%
   Houston, TX               4,177,646       25.8%
Atlanta, GA                  4,112,198       38.9%
Miami                        3,876,380       21.4%
   Fort Lauderdale, FL       1,623,018       29.3%
   Miami, FL                 2,253,362       16.3%
Seattle                      3,554,760       19.7%
   Bremerton, WA               231,969       22.3%
   Olympia, WA                 207,355       28.6%
   Seattle-Everett, WA       2,414,616       18.8%
   Tacoma, WA                  700,820       19.6%
Phoenix, AZ                  3,251,876       45.3%
Minneapolis, MN-WI           2,968,806       16.9%
Cleveland                    2,945,831        3.0%
   Akron, OH                   694,960        5.7%
   Cleveland, OH             2,945,831        2.2%
San Diego, CA                2,813,833       12.6%
St. Louis, MO-IL             2,603,607        4.5%
Denver                       2,581,506       30.4%
   Boulder, CO                 291,288       29.3%
   Denver, CO                2,109,282       30.0%
   Greeley, CO                 180,936       37.3%
San Juan                     2,450,292        7.9%
   Arecibo, PR                 174,300       12.4%
   Caguas, PR                  308,365       10.3%
   San Juan-Bayamon, PR      1,967,627        7.2%
Tampa, FL                    2,395,997       15.9%
Pittsburgh, PA               2,358,695       -1.5%
Portland                     2,265,223       26.3%
   Portland, OR-WA           1,918,009       26.6%
   Salem, OR                   347,214       24.9%
Cincinnati                   1,979,202        8.9%
   Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN      1,646,395        7.9%
   Hamilton, OH                332,807       14.2%
Sacramento                   1,796,857       21.3%
   Sacramento, CA            1,628,197       21.5%
   Yolo, CA                    168,660       19.5%
Kansas City, MO-KS           1,776,062       12.2%
Milwaukee                    1,689,572        5.1%
   Milwaukee, WI             1,500,741        4.8%
   Racine, WI                  188,831        7.9%
Indianapolis, IN             1,607,486       16.4%
San Antonio, TX              1,592,383       20.2%
Las Vegas, NV-AZ             1,563,282       83.3%
Charlotte, NC-SC             1,499,293       29.0%
Buffalo, NY                  1,170,111       -1.6%
   28. jimd Posted: January 08, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608224)
Interesting. New Bedford is part of Boston CMSA and Providence is not. I suppose the Rhode Island Congressional delegation is against geographic imperialism.

Tell me Dan. Do modern GIS's still use DIME files? Or have they gone the way of the buggy whip? (I did some work on a GIS once; it was a long time ago in a job description far away.)
   29. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 09, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608228)
Joe Dimino and Trevise: those of us who grew up in Columbia think there's a B-W (not W-B) metro area.
   30. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 09, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608229)
Interesting. New Bedford is part of Boston CMSA and Providence is not.

Providence, as it happens, has its own MSA, of course. Why they're not amalgamated, I'm not sure, but they may become that way. People who travel from Westport, MA to Dartmouth, MA, will have gone from the Providence MSA to the Boston CMSA.

I suppose the Rhode Island Congressional delegation is against geographic imperialism.

Could be. I was surprised to read recently that the Census Bureau had deemed Kootenai County a gray area in the MSA question (as I alluded above). Kootenai County is the third-largest county in Idaho, and very quickly growing (55.7% from 1990-2000). It barely reached 100,000 in 2000, which is the typical MSA cutoff line. Anyone living in the Spokane area (as I do) has no doubt that the cities of Kootenai County (most notably Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls) are in the same metro area as Spokane.

What surprised me was that the Census Bureau decided to let Kootenai County choose whether it wanted to be part of the Spokane MSA. Spokane wanted them to join, as it would move our metro area from the 99th largest to about 81st, which would be good for attracting industry--something Spokane is desparate to do. But the North Idahoans decided they preferred "small town" to "suburb" and said no thanks.

By the next Census (or even sooner), Kootenai County will be out of the gray area anyway, and will be attached to Spokane. Look out Colorado Springs!

Do modern GIS's still use DIME files? Or have they gone the way of the buggy whip?

I must confess to never having run across DIME files. If they are still in use, they are either for purposes I have not had, or built-in and unnoticed.

In round numbers, the city of Manchester has a population of 100,000 and Nashua is around 80,000. Portmouth, on the other hand, is somewhere in the 22,000 range, nowhere close to the 50,000 I thought was the minimum requirement to be a central city.

Technically, the city or urbanized area has to be at 50,000. Portsmouth's urban area, which presumably includes places like Kittery and S. Eliot, has a census-defined population of 50,912.

As far as overall population, the Portsmouth PMSA is pretty far-flung--and I should mention I abbreviated the name; it's actually the Portsmouth-Rochester PMSA, and includes towns as far away as Farmington and Milton.
   31. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: January 09, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608234)
First, a geeky New Jersey comment. Are Somerset and Morris counties folded into Newark or something? It makes no sense that Ocean and Mercer would be in the NY CMSA but Somerset and Morris aren't. Is there an easy way to find out where a county is placed?

On the Milwaukee front - the world's biggest role-playing game convention, GENCON, is moving this year from Milwaukee to Indianapolis, largely because of a lack of hotel rooms in downtown Milwaukee. (Yes, I'm a loser who still plays Dungeons & Dragons occasionally.) The convention's been in Wisconsin for all of its existence, which I think goes back to the late 60s (before RPGs had even come into being), and in Milwaukee since 1987.
   32. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 09, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608236)
It makes no sense that Ocean and Mercer would be in the NY CMSA but Somerset and Morris aren't. Is there an easy way to find out where a county is placed?

Well, first of all, you can go here:

http://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/phc-t3.html

Table 1 is the one that would do that; it's available in Excel, PDF, or ASCII text formats.

But here's the answer to your specific question. What metro area does each NJ county belong to? (I didn't bother putting in the PMSAs for Philly):
New York
Bergen-Passaic
-Bergen County
-Passaic County
Jersey City
-Hudson County
Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon
-Hunterdon County
-Middlesex County
-Somerset County
Monmouth-Ocean
-Monmouth County
-Ocean County
Newark
-Essex County
-Morris County
-Sussex County
-Union County
-Warren County
Trenton
-Mercer County

Philadelphia
-Atlantic County
-Cape May County
-Burlington County
-Camden County
-Gloucester County
-Salem County
-Cumberland County

That's right. Every inch of New Jersey is considered to be part of either greater New York or greater Philadelphia. Whether you're at Cape May or Tillman Ravine.
   33. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: January 09, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608237)
Thanks, Dan. I poked around the census website a bit but as an amateur it's really hard to figure out how to find things there.

You know, what's even more disturbing than all of NJ being in Philly or New York's MSA is that New York extends into Pennsylvania. (I have to pull out the atlas tonight to find out where Pike County is.) I wonder how long it will be before it absorbs the Easton-Allentown MSA.

I know nobody cares, but what was really odd to me was seeing Warren and Sussex counties lumped in the Newark area. (If anybody cares, they're basically the western third of the state from Route 78 north to the NY border.) Morris and Union make sense, they're bordering Essex (heck, one town is trying to get out of Essex into Morris without much success). Nobody asked me, but I'd probably lump Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex into one area. They're the most rural parts of North Jersey. OTOH, there is a lot of logic in having Hunterdon and Somerset together - they share a county college among other things. Okay, I'll stop now.
   34. fables of the deconstruction Posted: January 09, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608239)
Joe Dimino and Trevise: those of us who grew up in Columbia think there's a B-W (not W-B) metro area.

But David, Wilmington is further away from Baltimore than Washington. And to allow the burg of Baltimore to believe it's the main attraction might undermine its inferiority complex. Like allowing the tail to wag the dog or the fly to swat the sledgehammer.

That is, unless you're speaking of the Baltimore - Westminster metro area!?!? I hear it's such a lovely place... ;-) ...

-----------

trevise :-) ...
   35. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: January 09, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608240)
Talk of NY claiming parts of NJ and PA reminds me of a conversation I had with a college buddy from San Francisco. He wondered if, in a few generations, Los Angeles and San Diego would be connected by continous urban sprawl. I said no, that's what (Marine Corps base) Camp Pendleton was for: It's not to protect us from the Russians; it's to protect San Diego from Los Angeles.
   36. Smitty* Posted: January 09, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608241)
Billy 3 questions.
1. where is the fife
2. Give me the fife

and finally
3. don't you hate pants
   37. Bob T Posted: January 09, 2003 at 02:20 AM (#608242)
On the contrary, I think Camp Pendleton keeps San Diego from spreading its boredom any farther north.

(Sorry, just doing my job as the Los Angeles area's lone San Diego hater.)
   38. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 11, 2003 at 02:21 AM (#608265)
That is, unless you're speaking of the Baltimore - Westminster metro area!?!? I hear it's such a lovely place... ;-) ...

I used to go to camp at WMC in Westminster. It is nice.
   39. Doug Posted: January 16, 2003 at 02:23 AM (#608413)
How exciting that so many people are interested in Geography.

The person who stated that Pugent Sound is not at Sea Level is absolutely correct. If it was all that salt water in the ocean would just float back in at high tide. (Did you know they changed the direction of the Chicago River in the 19th century so that all that poopy would flow towards Iowa and not into Lake Michigan?)

Most elevations are taken at a specific spot in a city,usually City Hall. You can usually find a USGS marker somewhere on the ground near any major City Hall. Seattle has a lot of hills downtown and I think City Hall is on one of them.

Days with rain probably refers to days with measurable rainfall. If you find three drops on your windsheild, it probably doesn't count. If the Expos do move to Portland will they be realigned into the NL West? That would put seven teams in the NL west! Perhaps they could move to the AL West. That would certainly make sense. Let's make it a requirement of moving to Portland.

As far as radio stations in Washington and Baltimore, they are actually directed not to broadcast into each others cities by the FCC. You can manipulate a signal so that it can be directed that way. The United States broadcasts a signal to Cuba that's something like 250,000 Watts, 5 TIMES THE MAXIMUM WATTAGE OF A COMMERCIAL STATION. But it doesn't effect U.S. radios because it's omni-directional.

I'd like to point out that Sacramento is on both lists for population and fewest rainy days. Please move the A's here!

Doug
   40. Don Malcolm Posted: January 19, 2003 at 02:24 AM (#608447)
Very nice riff on Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Dan. Perhaps you and C.O. Jones could hook up sometime...

Riverside-San Bern., CA   3,254,821       25.7%


Don't know if the formatting works, but the body count on the east side of LA, as I've pointed out for years, makes this the most populous location for an expansion team or a team-on-the-lam anywhere in the USA, including New Jersey.

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