Commentary: Looking at some numbers from the past week, and talking baseball

So, I was feeling really ornery when I started this column, and I had half a mind to write some angry rant about Major League Baseball's recent decision to get rid of the fake-to-third, throw-to-first pickoff move. I mean, as a baseball guy, I have a strong opinion about that particular play, and stronger opinions about what the MLB brass should be doing to speed up games, which is one of the reasons that was given for making the play illegal. If you want to speed up the ballgames, why don't you write and enforce a rule that prohibits batters from stepping out of the box between every pitch? You could raise the pitching mound and give the top of the strike zone back to the pitchers (this would mean more strikeouts, less runs and quicker games). I'd love to see both of those things happen, but they won't, ever, and the best we'll get is milquetoast solutions, like making illegal a pickoff move that happens about once every three games and lasts all of two seconds. Smoke and mirrors, people, smoke and mirrors.

But, I realized that it's cold out, and the Baltimore Ravens are playing for the championship on Sunday, and nobody wants to read about baseball right now (baseball fans, please feel free to e mail me your thoughts on above paragraph). Let us instead go back to my "fun with numbers" series. Here are some figures that have been swirling around in my head, battling for space with baseball legislation:

Two: That would be the number of boys basketball players who broke the 1,000 career point barrier on the same night. Harford Tech's Isaiah Gills hit the magic number in the Cobras loss to North East and Bel Air's Tyler Norcross passed the milestone in the Bobcats' victory over Bo Manor. Now, I have covered a handful of players breaking 1,000 points, and every time I've done so it merited a mention in this column. It's a big deal, and I want to break it down for you. If a player is big and strong enough to earn a varsity spot as a 14- or 15-year-old freshman, and they don't get injured for the next four seasons, they're probably going to play in 80 to 100 regular-season games (that's 20 to 25 games per year). If they play in every single one of those contests, they would have to average 10 to 12.5 points per game just to reach 1,000. So, 80 straight games in which you average 12.5 points, every single time. When you throw in the fact that most players spend at least their freshman season on junior varsity (Gills did not, but I have to look back to see if Norcross was on Bel Air's varsity team from the start), and that most will miss at least a few games due to injury or illness, then they're going to have to score more like 15 points every night.

One thousand career points, as I said, is a big deal, but that two players hit it on the same night is something else. I don't believe in anything supernatural, but the basketball gods must have been in a good mood on Tuesday. Way to go Tyler, way to go Isaiah.

Eight: That is the number of consecutive Susquehanna (lower) Division wins the Joppatowne Mariners have strung together through Wednesday. I'd like to say they've done it quietly, but that's not the case. At 8-0, the Mariners are the last UCBAC team that hasn't been defeated in division play, and the only Susquehanna team in shouting distance right now is Bel Air, which is two games in back of Joppatowne. Havre de Grace is a relatively distant three games back, so it's going to take a major misstep by Joppatowne for the Mariners not to be playing in the conference title game.

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