Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Numbers Game

Gloria gave me a book.

Now before I tell you about the book, I need to report a conversation we had last week. We were driving home after dinner, and a guy in one of those big-ass trucks cut in front of me.

Gloria said, "Did you just flip him off?"

"No," I said. "I gave him the back of my hand. It's the new, diplomatic way of saying f-you. No way am I going to actually flip someobody off. Combine big truck rage and 'roid rage and it's a shooting waiting to happen."

" 'Roid rage?" Gloria asked.

"Steroids," I said.

"Oh," she said. "I thought you meant hemorrhoids."

My wife. Not a sports fan.

Which makes her gift all the more remarkable. It's called "The Numbers Game," and it chronicles the history of baseball statistics as well as their study. For me, that's sports geek heaven, and the book is just terrific. Here's an excerpt from the inside cover:
He tells the history of this obsession through the lives of the people who felt it most: Henry Chadwick, the nineteenth-century writer who invented the first box score and harped on endlessly about which statistics mattered and which did not; Allan Roth, Branch Rickey's right-hand numbers man with the late-1940's Brooklyn Dodgers; Earnshaw Cook, a scientist and Manhattan Project veteran who retired to pursue inventing the perfect baseball statistic...

You get the picture. Stuff like that is totally fascinating to me, but to Gloria, it's like watching paint dry without the excitement of watching paint dry. Yet she still took the trouble of wading through vast swamps of geekiness to find it for me.

Site Meter