Math Is Hard, Let’s Go to the Angels Game! + Rootin’ for the Enemy and Beware of Hitchhiking Mantises

I’m a freak, I admit it. I loved math in school. Algebra, geometry, trig, calc, it all appealed. I was even working on a math minor in college until multiple variable calculus. Trippy stuff that. Once I stopped being able to see what the shapes were doing in my head. *tap, tap* I’m out. But I still enjoy it. Problem solving. Statistics. Wonderful stuff! But this elimination number math? Yuck! That’s an entirely different story. 

Clearly Jered Weaver, Jeff Mathis and Dan Haren aren't overly fond of this whole elimination number math thing either. Angels vs. A's, May 25, 2011. Photo by This is a very simple game...

Oh I am familiar with it. Between my Dodger fan childhood and my Angels fan adulthood, I have _plenty_ of experience with elimination number math, I’m afraid, and just enough experience with magic number math to know that I significantly prefer that…then again, don’t we all? The Angels have certainly spoiled me more years than not this past decade but, especially with last season’s refresher course, I’m not too rusty to torture myself with endless “what if” elimination number math scenarios. Tom Godwin had the Cold Equations. I call these the Desperate Equations.

Could it happen this way?:

If the Rangers lose one and the Angels win two, and the Rangers lose one and then another one, and another two and the Angels win one and then another two and two more…

Or, maybe, could it happen this way?:

If the Red Sox lose one, and lose one more, and the Rays lose two, and the Red Sox lose one and the Rays lose two more, and the Angels win four…

So, one plus one plus two plus one… Hmmmm….anyone else overcome with an irrational desire to watch Clue? ;)

Say what crazy Angels blogger lady?! One plus two plus one plus what? Run that math by us one more time. Angels vs. A's, May 25, 2011. Photo by This is a very simple game...

All equations point to the fact that the Angels still have a chance. But with another loss to their record, and especially if they continue committing those kind of errors, it’s a thin wisp of a chance, even after this evening’s win. If they win just about every game left. If the Rangers or the Red Sox and the Rays start losing, a lot. If. If. If…suffice to say, it’s pretty darned iffy. But stranger things have happened.

I still have hope. I am practical and this is far from my first September rodeo, but I have hope. And I have tickets to Friday night’s game against the A’s and Monday night’s game against the Rangers. One way or the other, however these equations work themselves out, I want to enjoy watching my team play as much as possible. After all, whether it starts at the end of October or September, it’s a long, cold, baseball-less winter. Gotta gorge yourself while the game’s in season…and if the solution to either of the equations works out to a be Red, Halo’d October, I want to be there to see it.

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And sadly, as part of the Desperate Equations, I find myself once again rooting for the Yankees. The AL West is so…well…the AL West that this happens once or twice a season out of necessity. The enemy of my enemy is…still really distasteful to root for truth be told but, much like when I rooted for the Red Sox against the Rangers a few weeks ago, it has be done.

However, it amuses me to no end that Red Sox fans are rooting for the Yankees along with me at the moment. Red Sox fans, you’re a little newer at this rooting for the enemy thing than some of the rest of us, so I offer you the following advice from another favorite movie:

The shame is like the pain. You only feel it once.

And that is absolutely…not true. But the shame and the pain do get a little be better each time. Enjoy. ;)

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On a more humorous note, when Seth and I stopped for gas on the way out of town this weekend, we noticed we had a hitchhiker on the pedal of my bike: 

Hitchhiking Mantis says, "Take me to your LoMo!" Cambria Trip, September 16, 2011. Photo by This is a very simple game...

We tried to coax the little guy off, but he was so stubborn he would have none of it. And he had two broken back legs so we figured we would just let him be. Maybe the wind would give him enough of a lift to fly away when we took off. But no, the next morning when we went to unload our bikes for our morning ride, some 245 miles away, he was still in the truck bed and very much alive. This time he let us move him to the grass. Maybe he was hoping to catch some sort of wounded mantis transport for Florida? It was like the Incredible Journey in search of LoMo.

14 Comments

Well the Angels did themselves a huge favour last night by taking it to the Jays. It’s funny how in a season that is 162 games, some teams are often left wishing there were 163 or 164.

http://bluejaysnest.mlblogs.com/

…or 165. You hit the nail right on the head Bluejaysnest.

– Kristen

The only math I ever enjoyed was calculating my batting average in little league! Loved the pic of the praying mantis. What a ride he must have had.

Ron

Well, I did start out by admiting I’m a freak. ;) Yeah, this is one well traveled mantis, a rregular explorer for mantis kind.

– Kristen

You’re math is right. Bottom line, Angels gotta win and stop whiffin’. This is getting a bit ridiculous. And that is one determined mantis! Just think, if he and his family and descendants stayed on your bike pedal for several hundreds of thousands of years, they wouldn’t look like foliage anymore, they’d look like bike pedals!
–Jeff

Getting ridiculous Jeff? I’d say we’d arrived at that destination a week ago at least. !s for the mantis, I obviously preferred to leave him unharmed but if he had refused to vacate the bike pedal I think a more abrupt evolutionary event would have occurred and he would have most closely resembled a squashed mantis when I went to ride my bike…unless he wanted to hang out on the handle bars or something. Then we could have reached a compromise, LOL. But the grass in Cambria is much better.

– Kristen

Well, the Red Sox are doing their part for you…

And Angels fans everywhere are grateful for their contribution!! But I’m not chilling champagne bottles just yet or anything. Your guys have the Yankees up next and they have owned the pin striped ones all season so who knows….Hang on everyone! The ride’s about to start in Five. Four. Three…

– Kristen

Great pics, Kristen. I hope the Angels can sneak into the playoffs, but math was never really my subject (I have enough trouble helping the kids with their 3rd/4th Grade homework….). That’s a creepy looking mantis. Not sure if we have them way up here or not…maybe just too cold.
–Mike

Thanks Mike! They sure are torturing me with the possibility, that’s for sure. Hey, I said I was a freak about the math. ;) I think the mantis is kind of cute. We get them around here sometimes and usually they are bright green. But I bet your are right and they wouldn’t survive the winter where you are.

– Kristen

Kristen: I was worried how I’d finish off my first blog season in September while being a busy high school coach in the Fall – but not to worry – I write about the Orioles – no math needed at this school. But, we finish the season with the Red Sox and can maybe do you some good. OK – some numbers – if we win one of the last six games, we have more wins than 2010. This is what millions of dollars of free agents can do for a team!

Osay – Thanks for dropping by my blog! Did I say the Orioles playing spoiler over the weekend was annoying? Well I was clearly mistaken. It’s awesome and the Orioles should do it for the rest of the season!! ;) In all seriousness, I hope your O’s do finish better this season than last and keep building so that next year all of these division races are in doubt until the last possible minute.

– Kristen

Ugh, math. I was good at it, but never liked it. I’ve always felt that’s why God created calculators (or at least created some humans who liked math enough to create calculators for the rest of us). Love the mantis pic – we get them in our front flower beds every year. The babies are hard to see on the shrubs, and the little devils can jump! I had never realized that – it startled the crap out of me the first time I saw it.

Sue – Well at the very least long division is why God created calcuators, LOL. Boring, tedious stuff to do by hand, that. Jumping baby mantises would certainly startle a person. I think I prefer my mantises quietly hanging out on my fence…or my bike pedal as the case may be.

– Kristen

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