What’s in a Number?
“Numbers rule all things.” ~Pythagoras. There’s a familiar name. I’m sure most of you are well aware of the Pythagorean Winning Percentage developed by Bill James that uses runs scored and runs allowed to tell you if a team has been lucky or not. Our boys’ record isn’t so hot at the moment. The Giants *should* be 54-42 according to Pythagoras, but it’s not my intention to discuss what our record should or shouldn’t be.
I’m just talking numbers in general. Pythagoras believed numbers have a soul and magical powers. Really? OK. Who am I to argue with the great Greek philosopher and mathematician? Numbers are used in religions, mythology and superstitions all around the world.
In numerology, people born on the 5th of the month can face certain challenges in their lives. They tend to be impatient and impulsive. They are prone to overindulge their senses in food, alcohol, sex and drugs. They must be careful to protect their health from the excesses of their tastes. I was born on the 5th. That nail couldn’t have been hit more squarely on its head if you tried.
And then there’s our great game of baseball. Baseball is all about numbers. I remember growing up there seemed to be only two stats: AVG. and ERA. Now? I can’t keep track of half of them. ISO. wRC+. UZR/150. xFIP. A guy could get a headache hanging out on Fangraphs for too long.
Then there’s the deal with the players and their jersey number. We all know how fussy and superstitious they can be about getting “their” number. Jersey numbers have been bought and sold a hundred times over.
So, do you guys have any favorite or maybe even lucky numbers? Do numbers have any meaning, or are they just simple counting symbols? My favorite numbers at the track are 3, 6 and 9 with 6 being my most favorite. Notice I said favorite, I didn’t mention anything about them being lucky.