In my pre-teen and teen years, the Kansas City Royals went from being a cute, little expansion team into one of the most feared, most respected, and most successful organizations in Major League Baseball. It was around 1976, at the age of 12, where I became familiar with a new term associated with my beloved Royals. The Magic Number.
What is a Magic Number, you may ask? Well the masterminds of the world wide web define the term better than I could ever attempt:
(from Wikepedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_number_(sports))
“In certain sports, a magic number is a number used to indicate how close a front-running team is to clinching a division title and/or a playoff spot. It represents the total of additional wins by the front-running team or additional losses (or any combination thereof) by the rival team after which it is mathematically impossible for the rival team to capture the title in the remaining games. This assumes that each game results in a win or a loss, but not a tie.
The magic number is calculated as G + 1 − WA − LB, where
- G is the total number of games in the season
- WA is the number of wins that Team A has in the season
- LB is the number of losses that Team B has in the season“
See, easy peasy. Mathematics and sports.
The Magic Number played big in my life in the late 70’s and early 80’s. These were pre-24-hour news cycle days. There was no streaming games scores, no checking scores on the smartphone. The only phone was wired to the wall and provided little or no help to the sports enthusiast. So every morning, I would bounce out of bed, get my bowl of Raisin Bran, open the Kansas City Times (the old morning version of the Kansas City Star) and check the Royals Magic Number Box for the latest update on the race for the playoffs. My day would often revolve around whether positive or negative information was gleaned from that particular sports news graphic.
It is with great joy that, as a newly-minted, 50-year old, I again enjoy the Royals Magic Number during this summer/fall of 2014.
Thank you, Kansas City Royals.
Keep counting down that Magic Number.