It is kind of ironic that I work with numbers all day. I’m not good at math. I never have been. But that has never stopped me from being borderline obsessed with stats.
My obsession with stats started back when the New York Mets were good at baseball. The 1986 Mets were the most fun team that an 11 year old kid could watch. I remember reading each game’s box score in the Bergen Record newspaper the morning after each game. Batting Averages, RBIs, Strike Outs were all compiled neatly for me to pour over every morning. It helped that the Mets were so good that they had players in almost every League Leader category, which meant more stats for me to check. So, Dwight Gooden with your league leading 24-4 record, 1.53 ERA, 16 complete games, 276.2 innings pitched and 268 strikeouts – thanks for making me obsessed with stats.
Thank you Tecmo Super Bowl on NES. The greatest football videogame ever made. It was the first one to have real players names from real NFL teams. Except for QB Eagles – screw you Randall Cunningham. Freshman year at College, our entire floor played an entire season together. We had at least 10 guys who each picked a team name out of a hat. (the Giants and 49ers were excluded because they were too good.) After each week, the stats were handwritten and posted out in the hallway so everyone could see where they stood. In the words of one of my floor-mates that year – “Awww stats.”
Thank you NHL 94 and 95 on Sega Genesis. There was nothing better than being able to play an entire 82 game NHL schedule and have all of your goals and assists kept track of for you. Especially since having a 100 goal scorer was not unheard of.
Thank you Microleague Baseball for the Apple IIGS in my parent’s basement circa 1986-1987. This game wasn’t much on actual gameplay, but rather it was all about stats. You didn’t even have to use a controller. All you did was press One for a fastball, and Zero to swing the bat. The computer simulated every play. The original game contained about 25 old-time great teams including the 1927 Yankees and 1969 Mets. It had actual player names and their actual stats from the season. The best part about Microleague Baseball was that you could print out the box score at the end of each game. With the addition of a “General Managers Disk,” you could create your own teams. I remember spending hours entering entire teams stats onto that old computer.
That’s why I am such a geek when it comes to Phish. Why do I need to know that I have seen Chalk Dust Torture the most times (36) of any song played? Or that I have seen it at 37% of the shows that I have attended? The answer is that I don’t need to know that, but I want to.
Why do I need to know that it was 66 shows between seeing the Beatles “A Day in the Life” on 10/17/96 in Penn State until 6/05/2009 at Jones Beach?