Have Red Sox unearthed new math ... or is it simply pettiness?
If the late, great Tom Aiello, my favorite high school teacher, still occupied the mortal soil, he'd attest that I know less about math than I do gothic architecture, knitting and automobile engines.
Still, though, as the great Jim Leyland once said, "I didn't go to school just to eat lunch."
Hence, I ask: Isn't .700 a higher winning percentage than .682?
You would think, right?
I mean, I'd never put it past some highbrow sabermetrician to combine launch angle with exit velo and a quadratic equation to tell me I'm wrong. But I feel fairly confident that .700 has .682 by 18 percentage points.
I ask this because the Boston Red Sox may have just discovered a new math.
It is customary for the Olde Towne Team to post the American League East standings on the Green Monster during home games. And darn, if Friday night, the Monstah listed the Boston Red Sox (30-14, .682) above the New York Yankees (28-12, .700) in the standings.
I checked major websites, including mlb.com, home of Major League Baseball. Newspapers. Even the Boston Globe, which owns part of the team. All the standings looked the same. Yanks on top. The teams are technically tied, yes. But the Yankees are in first, listed as such everywhere else, presumably because .700 is greater than .682.
(Turns out all those "greater than" "less than" lessons from grammar school were beneficial after all.)
Except that it appears .682 is greater than .700 in at least one historic outpost.
And I ask: How is it possible that the Red Sox, with three championships in the last 14 years — and with nothing left to prove to anybody — can remain that petty?
It's that painful to list the Red Sox in second place on May 19?
With roughly 120 games remaining?
And who is responsible for such pettiness?
Did the Patriots somehow seize ownership of the team?
OK. So I get the idea that the organization is obsessed with the Yankees. Just listen to their TV broadcasts. Go ahead. Play a drinking game every time the Yankees are mentioned. You won't make the bottom of the third.
Obsession aside, facts are facts. The Red Sox, at least Friday night, were behind the Yankees. But were not listed as such.
Makes you wonder what would happen if Fenway Math had been taught to us at younger ages. Poor Al Michaels would have yelled, "Eruzione scoooooooores! Mike Eruzione! And Russia takes the lead!"
How could an institution like the Red Sox, located so close to the hallowed Massachusetts Institute of Technology, be so bad at math?
The Red Sox remind me of a guy who swears he's done with his girlfriend ... and then talks about her every seven minutes. OK. So the Yankees are in your head. We get it. They're really good. But then, so is Boston.
I just don't get the point of posting the wrong standings in front of 35,000 people.
What, people are going to storm out of Fenway feeling slighted because the standings have the Yankees on top?
People will turn off NESN?
It's soooooo unbecoming.
Hate the Yankees all you want. It's part of what makes the rivalry great. Just don't be fraudulent about it. We can sit here and compare Xander to Didi and Mookie to Judge. There's always Bucky, Boone, 2004 and a bloody sock. Heck, I was in New York two weeks ago for one of the Yanks-Sox games and saw emotion inside Yankee Stadium I hadn't seen in a while. All good stuff.
But there's no reason for the Red Sox, who have accomplished more this decade, to keep acting like new money.
So next time you encounter numbers that confuse you — at the checkout line, reading a receipt, perusing a bill or perhaps trying to figure out a tip for the server — don't fret. Just go, "Ohhhhhh! It's the Fenway Math!"
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro
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