A Braves Update: Inside the Numbers
As an English teacher who loves literature, art, and all things free-spirited, chaotic, and emotional, I’m not really a numbers person. But the last several weeks of Braves baseball have helped me to appreciate a more mathematical approach to understanding this, ahem, interesting season.
Times in all of baseball history that a team has had two nine-game losing streaks in April. One of several records the Braves have already set this season.
Losses the Braves have suffered in their first 19 home games at Turner Field. You have to go back to 1900 to find any team in baseball history that has had such a terrible home winning percentage.
Number of home runs the entire Braves team has hit this season.
Number of Major League Baseball players who have hit as many or more home runs than the entire Braves team this season.
7 (at least):
Number of mornings I have wondered if this is the day Freddie Gonzalez gets canned. On the first of these mornings, a little over a week ago, my son Ben said, “They’re probably gonna fire Freddie today.” I was shocked. “What?! Why?” I cried. “We love Freddie!” He replied, in his best teenage, why-are-you-so-dumb voice. “Mom, we’re 7 and 23.” Well, Gonzalez is still with us, but we are now 9 and 28, and with the Braves boasting the worst record in baseball, this number may continue to rise.
Average number of attendees at Turner Field (capacity: 49,586) so far this season: Note, this number was artificially inflated by the first couple of home games, after which a typical attendance day has been approximately 13,000. Happily, we know this number also will likely rise on Sunday, May 29, when Chris Stapleton will provide an after-game concert, admission included with the price of a ticket.
Number of dollars the Braves are projected to spend building the new SunTrust Park.
Number of taxpayer dollars included in the $722 million stadium project. In the beginning, it was said the taxpayers wouldn’t fund the stadium. Let it be known that I’m not a Georgia taxpayer. I’m just throwing out numbers here.
Extra-inning games the Braves have played this year.
Extra-inning games the Braves have won this year.
One-run games the Braves have played this year.
One-run games the Braves have won this year.
Two-run games the Braves have played this year.
Must I say it?
Time in all of baseball history a team has shut out both the reigning National League and American League champions in their first series meetings the following season. The Braves did it (see, not all the numbers are bad!) by shutting out the Mets, 3-0, in New York on May 3 and the Royals on Saturday, 5-0. This is according to radio broadcaster Jim Powell during Sunday’s game. I can’t imagine where to even start to fact check this one. Who comes up with this stuff?
73 (on average):
Times a game that Powell and/or Don Sutton mention the “glimpses of promise” of Braves’ talent “coming down the pike.”
Number of times the word “energy” was used by broadcasters and interviewees last weekend to describe what Mallex Smith has brought to the Braves since he moved up from the minors. He runs like an antelope, and he obviously enjoys playing the game. Smith is maturing before our eyes, and he’s fun to watch. Everyone agrees: this kid is definitely a keeper.
Number of people in my family (two teenage boys, my mom and me) still tuning in each night, holding out hope and enjoying the games’ brighter moments, despite the ongoing misery. Ava, the fourth-grader and lone outsider (she prefers the Disney Channel), never really cared anyway. Her interest in baseball – and apparently athletics of all kinds – ended five years ago after her first tee-ball game as a Danville Dirt Dobber, when she was tagged out running from second to third. She came off the field crying and declared, “I don’t wanna’ play no more, Mommy.” And that was the end of her athletic career, at least to this point. But she’ll join us for a Braves game when we make our yearly four-hour pilgrimage to Atlanta later this month, likely the last time we will see a game at the Ted. Ava may not be a lover of dismal baseball, but she’s a big Chris Stapleton fan.