I woke up this morning thinking about numbers. In baseball, people seem to live and die by numbers, also known to the greater world as statistics. And despite what you think about WHIPs or ERAs or RBIs, there’s only one number that matters — wins. Because it’s pretty simple math, the team with the most wins plays October baseball. Of course, as we all know, the team with the most wins doesn’t always turn out to be the World Series Champion.
But sometimes, they do.
So what were the numbers running through my head? 55 — the number of days until Opening Day in the Bronx. 10 — the number of days until Pitchers and Catchers report to the Tampa complex for Spring Training. 67 — the official number of players reporting to Spring Training this year. 25 and 40 — the number of players that will be considered part of the team this year. 28 — the number of championships I hope we will have won by the end of October. 18 — the number of retired numbers sitting in Monument Park (as of today, not including Jackie Robinson’s number and including the double 8’s for Berra and Dickey). 6 — the number of beat reporters (dubbed the “Sidewalk Six”) usually sent to
stalk, I mean, hopefully catch interviews with key players that show up to use the complex early before the complex opens its doors to the press. And 2 — the number of years I’ve been blogging for the Yankees and MLB (as of last week).
With the addition of a new minor league signee pitcher Kyle Davies, the Spring Training invitations were set at 67 invites. Of course, if you’re not used to following Spring Training, you know that number needs to be whittled down to 40 and then 25. But just because someone is on the invite list and technically on the, say, 40-man roster doesn’t mean he will be playing for the Yankees come April 6 (Opening Day). No, with very few exceptions, Spring doesn’t guarantee job security in pinstripes (or in any other uniform either), which makes Spring Training one of the biggest try-outs or auditions for the majority of the invited players. So, you know, no pressure.
Here’s another string of numbers for you… 37 — yes, it’s 37 degrees in New York today and about to plummet further this week and into the weekend. I’m sure the guys who are loading the trucks today filled with Yankees gear are forever grateful for yet another reason it’s not Boston, which has been plagued with 71 inches of snow so far this year (and mind you it’s only February 10). And on the flip side — 62 — yes, here in sunny Florida, it’s a very nice (and rather chilly, if I do say so) 62 degrees. As the trucks make their 1,140 miles (or roughly 18 hours of drive time) down to Steinbrenner Field, every New York-based Yankees employee rejoices at the prospect of trading in their parkas for t-shirts, their snow boots for flip-flops.
And one last number of sorts for you today: February 24 — the date when single regular season tickets at Yankee Stadium go on sale. There are pre-sale tickets for MasterCard holders only, available February 18-23 online or by calling Ticketmaster; and season tickets are still available online. But if you’re planning a visit to the Sunshine State for Spring Training, single game tickets and ticket packages are still available to take in a game in your t-shirts and flip-flops in Tampa. I got my tickets, and I’m counting down the days… all 22 of them.
And a Happy Anniversary to my readers. It’s hard to believe it’s been 2 years already, and I send a special thanks out to those who’ve been reading since the beginning, especially my mom (who is probably looking forward to Spring Training more than I am, if that’s possible) and my brother. And a shout-out to everyone else who’s found my blog over the years… you guys are pretty awesome too, and it’s your readership that encourages me to keep writing!