Friday The Thirteenth

It’s Friday the Thirteenth.  What could possibly go wrong…?

Earlier this week, I shared some trivia sent by a long-term friend that I suggested you could use to win bar bets – – if you took the time to verify their accuracy.  The reader in Houston who is a world-class font of sports stats and history took that as a challenge and indeed verified those assertions.  Here are his findings:

  • Ted Williams indeed did get a hit in every opening day game in which he appeared.  He was in 14 of them; in opening day games, Williams hit .449 with 3 HRs, 14 RBIs, 7 doubles and a triple.
  • The Houston Maven also passed along that Walter Johnson started 14 Opening Day games and threw 9 complete game shutouts in those games.  Wow!
  • Wilt did indeed have 124 games with 30 points or more and 30 rebounds or more.  Our “fact-checker” said he did it the easy way and checked with Elias Sports Bureau.  His bonus info here is that Chamberlain also had 100 games where he went 50/20 – – 50 or more points and 20 or more rebounds.
  • Regarding Tony Gwynn’s record against Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez, let me simply quote the response from Houston on the matter:
  • “I checked out Gwynn and he hit .415 vs. Maddux over 16 seasons (1986-2001), while he faced Martinez in just Martinez’ first six MLB seasons (1992-1997). Your friend could have picked other HOF pitchers who faced Tony at least 10 years for such a comparison and also in their prime.

  • “For example, Tony hit .444 vs. Smoltzie in 13 seasons (1988-2001, in 2000 Smoltz DNP).

  • “Altogether vs. all current HOF pitchers, Tony hit .333 in 508 AB.”

So, while I am on the track of having readers write today’s offering, let me set another scene.  Two of the regular readers here used to be baseball umpires at the high school, American Legion and collegiate levels.  So, when a bizarre idea popped into my head, I asked them what they thought would be the call.  Here is the situation:

  • Team A has used its entire quota of mound visits for a game.
  • Pitcher for Team A calls time out and is granted time out by one of the umpires.
  • Pitcher for Team A moseys over to third base where he is joined by the catcher for Team A and they chat.
  • Manager for Team B bolts out of the dugout breathing fire …

Both reader-umpires agreed that ejections were in order here.  The pitcher probably has to go; so too would anyone from the bench on Team A that may have joined in this conversation.  Neither former umpire commented on the fate of the catcher who was in on the chat.  It would be fun to see how Cowboy Joe West would handle something like this, right?

Minor league baseball teams put on lots of off-center promotions and that is part of the fun of minor league baseball.  However, the Montgomery Biscuits – a Double-A team – decided to put on Millennial Night on 21 July with advertising that said there would be:

  • Participation ribbons, napping and selfie stations and lots of avocadoes.
  • It also asked, “Want free things without doing much work?”

Let’s just say this did not go over well.  You can read some of the vitriolic commentary on social media here.  This is not the dumbest sports promotion ever, but it has to be one of the dozen or so dumbest ones considering that baseball at all levels is trying to cozy up to young people and not mock them to drive them away.

This got me to thinking about stupid sports promotions that were worse than this one.  Here is what I came up with:

  1. Disco Demolition Night in old Comiskey Park.  Google is your friend…
  2. Ten-cent Beer Night in Cleveland.  Definitely Google this gem…
  3. “Awful Night” in Altoona.  The Altoona Curve decided to celebrate failure that night and did things like reverse batting averages from “hitting .300” to “failing .700”.  The night was indeed, awful.
  4. Celebrity Boxing which once featured a “fight” between William “Refrigerator” Perry and Manute Bol.  [For the record, Bol won the “fight”.]

Feel free to add to the list…

Finally, Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun used mathematics to put a sports story in perspective for “the rest of us”.  When LeBron James opted out of his contract with the Cavs to sign with the Lakers, he left $46M on the table in Cleveland; so, Simmons did the math:

“For someone making $75,000 a year, you’d only have to work 613 years to equal what LeBron declined.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



4 thoughts on “Friday The Thirteenth”

  1. Ridiculous sports promotions: Al Davis pretending that JaMarcus Russell was a viable NFL quarterback.

    1. Tenacious P:

      That was more an error of judgment and not a bad sports promotion – – although both have the same lasting effect. Both leave bad tastes in the mouths of fans…

  2. Who ever said that the numbers had to make sense? Does it make sense for the Phillies to pay Jake Arrieta $30 million a year? That’s just about $1 million every time he steps on the mound to pitch a game…IF he stays healthy all year. That’s 25,000 tickets at $40 each for each of his starts and the Phillies are averaging $36 per ticket this year and about 26,000 per game attendance this season so far. And there are a few more players on the team to pay

    1. Gary:

      The numbers for pro sports contracts have been outside the realm of reason for about a decade – – and they show no signs of regressing to any level of sanity any time soon.

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