The Numbers That Mattered

It was during my junior year in high school that the school math team – the “mathletes” – were one player short. There were four mathletes ready to go, but they needed a five.

I’m not sure why my geometry teacher invited me to join the team. I wasn’t particularly good in his class and I was pretty clear that I hated two things in school – gym and numbers. But, I would always laugh at his jokes. So, I was his choice. Your take away from this: a good chuckle might take you far in this world.

He convinced me to join the team, which was about to go to the state tournament in Minot, by promising we would stop for banana splits on the two-hour drive back home.  Yes, if there was a banana split in it for me, I could spend the day with four geeky mathletes and a teacher who told corny jokes.

I have no memory of the meet except for sitting at a long table, writing problems on pieces of paper, and being forbidden from using a calculator. We didn’t win, but I don’t think I was too terrible.

In any event, the Dairy Queen in Rugby was out of bananas by the time we got there. This is my only clear memory of my one day as a mathlete. Even the worst mathlete knows that zero bananas means zero banana splits.

So, funny that I’ve come to love baseball which is all numbery and statisticfied.

The Baseball Project even wrote a song that is only numbers – comforting and familiar baseball stats. Here are the lyrics in their entirety:


Sing along …

I’ve prepared a cheat sheet for you, in case any of these baseball numbers need explaining. It’s here: Baseball Project “Stats” Broken Down

When WordPress announced that their weekly photo challenge for this week was “Numbers,” I thought, this is too easy.

Because, in baseball, players have numbers …

UVA Pregame June 4 2016

Fans have numbers …

my first bleacher of spring 2016

This is me

Look, it’s me! My season ticket bleacher seat … Sweet 16.

Even the walls have numbers …

404 to center field

Straightaway center at Davenport Field, 404 feet.

There are so many numbers, I didn’t know where to start.

But, really, on this hot and humid, three-Gatorade weekend there were only these numbers that mattered …

The numbers that went Virginia’s way …


Virginia defeats William & Mary in the NCAA Regionals Tournament on Friday, 17-4.

And, the numbers that didn’t …

UVA ECU Final Score June 4 2016

East Carolina stuns Virginia on Saturday night with a bottom-of-the-9th, three-run homer.  

(Virginia lost again today, ending their season.)

See more of Word Press’s “Numbers” challenge here.

Photos: Davenport Field, University of Virginia. Charlottesville, Virginia. 2016 © The Baseball Bloggess

22 thoughts on “The Numbers That Mattered

  1. Good heavens! It’s mind boggling. Good luck in the Word Press competition. Do they keep statistics about those?

    • Thanks, Gloria … nah, it’s a friendly “competition” where there aren’t any winners. I enjoy looking at the other blogs who enter. There are some very creative and talented photographers out in Blogland! :)

  2. UVA had a good year this year. Every season ends with a loss with the very rare exception of the Championship. Sorry to see Virginia exit early, but there will be next year and another great team to cheer for. Thanks to you and Randy for keeping us posted and so well entertained… see you next spring.

    • Ahhh, you’re right, I know. It just wasn’t their weekend … and now there’s the long wait til fall ball. Keep in touch … maybe we’ll find you at a TomSox game this summer. I hope they keep our Hoo seats together next season, Tom! :)

  3. What a fun post! So sorry to hear about UVA loss.
    Loved your math experience – who knew?!
    Can I just say that baseball ( as well as other sports) has gotten way too involved in numbers – I have learned to ignore them as the newest ones are falling under the ‘I don’t really understand how or why you are tracking this stuff’ category. But I sure can rattle off the win/loss ones! Those make sense – except when the loss outweighs the win column!

    • I agree with you, Sharon. The statistics are useful for the managers and coaches, but, really, some of them are way beyond anything that I want. And, quite honestly, if the numbers could predict outcomes, we wouldn’t have to play the games, right? (Although the “numbers” were in number one seed Virginia’s favor this weekend, so maybe we should have just gone with the “statistical wins” and not actually played … because that would have worked out better for them! ;)

  4. Honestly sorry the Hoos didn’t make it! I would have loved to have seen a re-match between them and the Cards in Omaha! You were lucky to make it to a game, though. Tix to the ‘Ville were hard to find here, and I’ll be visiting Michigan next weekend during the Super Regional.

    • Virginia’s loss to East Carolina on Saturday night … when they went into the bottom of the 9th leading 6-3 and ended up losing 8-6 … was one of the biggest heartbreakers ever. I’m sad to see the season end, but they’ll be a strong and competitive team next season.

      Didn’t you say that L’ville games are free? I was wondering how they would divvy up regionals tickets. Here in C’ville those of us with season tickets are always guaranteed tickets to regionals and super regionals. ACC is still doing well … so I’m rooting all ACC from here on out!

  5. Just stumbled across this. Love Baseball, and love “The Baseball Project”. I also did the exercise of mapping the numbers from the song “Stats” to the players/records they refer to. And I came up with the same answers as you. A friend of mine came up with an alternate answer for “7” which is most Cy Young awards won, career (Roger Clemens).

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