Friday, August 03, 2007

New math: The difference between adjacent integers is not always equal -- or -- (n+1) - n is not always 1

With a title like that, you know what this post is going to be about, don't you?

C'mon -- you can guess, can't you?

Why Sports, of course.

My poor White Sox, for example, have just finished stinking up the Bronx, winning only one of three games from the hated Yankees. The Sox gave up home runs to nearly every member of the Yankee roster. I had my hands over my face so often during the series that I can't be sure if one or two Yankee pitchers might have launched dingers... and they don't even bat. (I have to state the obvious for Bee's sake -- and Chris's). The only Yankee who didn't get a home run during the Sox series was Alex Rodriguez. That's because poor A-Rod is stuck on 499. There's no great distance between 497 and 498 or 498 and 499 -- but there's a yawning chasm between 499 and 500.

Just ask Barry Bonds, who's found it so difficult to move off of 754 home runs and tie and pass Hank Aaron. (Note to Bee and Chris -- don't really try and ask Bonds: He'd probably just snarl at you. If you're lucky.)

And it's not just the larger numbers that are irregularly spaced. It turns out there's often an immense gulf between the numbers 2 and 3.

We've just finished Youngest Son's baseball season. There's been a tournament every weekend in July and he's played a lot of games. And we've seen it time and again -- both when we've been in the field and (although not as often) when we've been at bat: Getting those first two outs seems easy enough... but getting to that third out... oh, brother.

I don't know why they don't teach this in school. It's probably because they can't quantify it in a neat formula like the reasonable-looking (although, as we've seen, inaccurate) formula:
(n + 1) - n = 1
Is there a math teacher in the audience who can tackle this problem and report back?

15 comments:

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Is it all to do with maths? Only how much a team loses by.

Chris said...

Launch a dinger? Is that bad, or do you get extra points for them or something?

I've hear of Barry 'roid rage' Bonds, so I'm feeling good on that score.

Linda said...

All I am going to say here is that I am glad that the people in Chicago have the good sense to hate the Yankees also!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

well i saw bee and chris and my eyes glazed pretty much over the rest of it honey. but i tried! i know, it's sports, right?

smiles, bee

tyvc

The Curmudgeon said...

Linda -- only half of us hate the Yankees. The other half hates the Mets.

And, Chris, the closest I came to becoming a soccer fan -- probably seriously considered it for close to a nanosecond -- was during the last Yankees / Mets World Series. I didn't know what to do.

Ralph said...

I like the Red Sox way better than the Yankees, but live in southwest CT, which is more NY territory. Perhaps you can answer a Chitown question some dweebs on the east coast wonder about: Is the South Side/North Side Sox/Cubs rivalry that great, is there a line in some avenue where you might have to keep your opinions to yourself?

rdl said...

Damn Yankees! don't have a clue bout the math but gonna miss the kids baseball games. but football starts soon enof.

may said...

sorry...sports and math? i have no clue whatsoever.

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Shelby said...

You had me (not) at hello - I mean the post title word, 'math.'

Scary.

I don't do math.

MommasWorld said...

I know nothing about sports really. Thought I would stop by and say hellos anywhoo :-)

Skittles said...

Egads.. math and baseball in the same post? LOL

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

you are tagged curmy.

smiles, bee

tyvc

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Anonymous said...

Math? Yikes!