Numerical look at summer sporting events
From local baseball playoffs, to the World Cup, to "The Decision," the first half of summer has been filled with noteworthy sporting events.
I thought I would take a numerical look at some of the big events that have happened so far and some that are on the horizon.
1 - Goals Spain scored in each of its four knockout round victories on its way to the World Cup championships. Spain beat Portugal, Paraguay, Germany and the Netherlands all by identical 1-0 scores. Obviously, defense does win championships.
2 - Local legion baseball teams that played for league championships. Lehighton in the Lehigh Valley League and Tamaqua in the Schuylkill-Berks League both reached the title game before falling.
3 - Consecutive National League East Division titles for the Phillies. If the Phils are going to extend the streak to four, they might just need another September to remember just like they did during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
4 - As in "First Four." You have all heard of the Final Four, now with the NCAA tourney expanding from 65 teams to 68 this year there will be four play-in games instead of one. The NCAA recently released its plans to have the last four automatic qualifiers and the last four at large teams participate in those games. But the important question is 'how are these games going to affect everyone's brackets?"
4.5 - The biggest lead in any of baseball's six division races at the All-Star break. That bode wells for plenty of exciting pennant races this summer.
5 - Starters lost through graduation by the defending Class AA State champion Lehighton field hockey team. That's the bad news. The good news is that Shawn Hindy is returning as coach and has six starters and some very talented substitutes who will working on that title defense.
6 - Lebron James' jersey number in Miami, which is the same as his jersey number in Cleveland. But that's about the only thing that has remained the same in the NBA during a wild couple of weeks of free agent signings. Obviously, the biggest signing was James heading to the Miami Heat to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Signing the three superstars in the span of a few days took the Heat's odds from winning the 2010-11 NBA championships from an opening line of 25-1 (tied for 11th best) to their current 7-5 favorite status.
7 - World Series titles won by the Yankees since George Steinbrenner took over the team in 1973. Love him or hate him, one thing you had to admire about the recently departed Steinbrenner was his passion to win.
9.6 - The scoring average for 76ers' top pick Evan Turner in five NBA Summer League games. The average includes one game where Turner scored just four points. Obviously that's not a comforting number to 76ers fans who are hoping Turner will be the franchise's savior. You expect the second overall selection in the draft to do a lot better than that playing primarily against free agents, rookies and second-year players.
10 - The jersey number of USA soccer star Landon Donovan. Donovan's injury time goal against Algeria that put the United States in the knockout round at the World Cup has been called the most dramatic goal in the history of United States soccer. Speaking of the goal, if you are one of the few people who hasn't seen or heard about the video showing fans' reaction to the goal that went viral on You Tube (the last time I checked it had over 2.7 million hits), I recommend checking it out. Just do a You Tube search for 'the world's reaction to Landon Donovan's goal.'
13 - Years between National League victories in baseball's All-Star game. The last time the NL had won before Tuesday's 3-1 victory was 1996.
22 - Games played by the Lehighton Legion baseball team in a span of 20 days during the month of June. Because of the successful run by the Lehighton High School baseball team, the already condensed legion baseball schedule got even crazier. Lehighton's killer regular season schedule - which included four doubleheaders - made its five games in seven days postseason run seem almost easy.
31 - Days until the first official practice date for PIAA fall sports teams. Are you ready for some football?
44 - Years Joe Paterno has been head coach at Penn State. The 83-year old Paterno and the Nittany Lions will kick off the season on Sept. 4 when they host Youngstown State.
183 - Number of games played between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut during a five set match at last month's Wimbledon Tennis Tournament. The incredible marathon that stretched over three days and ran over 11 hours of court time happened because Wimbledon doesn't use tie-breakers in the fifth set. With the match tied at two sets apiece, Isner finally outlasted Mahut, 70-68, in the fifth set. The 183 games crushed the previous record for a singles match of 112 games that was set at Wimbledon in 1969.