Monday, February 16, 2015

With Andy Pettitte, the Yankees are building their own Fibonacci Sequence: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 23, 32, 37, 42, 44, 46, 49...

In the field of migraine-inducing math, the famous Fibonacci number sequence goes like this:

1,\;1,\;2,\;3,\;5,\;8,\;13,\;21,\;34,\;55,\;89,\;144,\; \ldots\;

What does it mean? Ask Fibonacci. They claim it has to do with adding integers. My guess: He owned a sports team, and his favorite players wore those numbers. So he retired them.

The Yankees have the Steinbrennacci Sequence, as outlined in the header. As far as I can tell - and this is conjecture, because only theoretical mathematicians understand this - the numbers reflect guilt felt by the Steinbrenner family. If the owners - for whatever reasons - feel they did not do enough for a pet player during his career, they compensate by retiring his number.

Also, the Sequence may have something to do with selling tickets to otherwise dead Sunday games in August.

Yesterday, the Yankees announced that Andy Pettitte's number 46 will be added to the Sequence. The team will host Andy Pettitte Day in August, and the real prime number is somewhere around 58,000 - because it will be a sellout. (As it should be, because Andy was a great Yankee!)

The trouble with sequencing numbers like this is that they can become to be like wedding lists: If you invite Cooter, you gotta invite Moondog, and that means his wife, Bowzer... And long ago, the Yankees filled the ballroom. They're now seating guests in the parking lot. If they hadn't built a new stadium, there would be no room for all the monuments.

Andy's number is retired. Great. Now what about Jorge?

I trace the beginnings of the Steinbrennacci Sequence to Billy Martin's number 1. Don't get me wrong: Everybody loved Billy. But he wasn't a great player, and there is a secondary question about retiring jerseys of managers, (who in most sports don't wear numbers.) Billy's retired number smacked of Steinbrenner guilt, because at the time, Martin was on the outs, and he died suddenly - perhaps drunkenly toasting George's clogged arteries - and The Boss couldn't do enough to show how awful he felt. So he retired Billy's number.

There was also enormous pain in Thurman Munson's number 15. Again, great Yankee, and everybody felt horrible. But after they retired Thurman, well, they had to retire Reggie's 44 (a little guilt there?) and then Ron Guidry's 49. Again, no shot meant at either player. But if Guidry is retired, what about Bernie? What about O'Neill? (Who apparently will not get his jersey retired, since his Monument Park ceremony has come and gone.) David Cone? Tino? Chamblis? Willie? Catfish?

Obviously, number 2 will soon go off the board. In truth, it's already gone. Nobody will get the number in spring training.

And when Andy's 46 is retired, it will signify that the Steinbrenners have made some form of peace with the use of steroids - because Andy got caught. He managed to escape withering attacks, the kind focused on Roger Clemens and now A-Rod. He did this by coming clean, apologizing profusely, by coming back and pitching well, and by invoking his one personal lord and savior, which nobody wants to tangle with. (If Alex next month plays the Christ card and says he's devoting himself to JC, it will be interesting to see how the honks react. Fundamental rule: If it worked for Charles Colson, it can work for anybody.)

The Steinbrennacci Sequence will soon have no single digits. The Yankees are running out of cool numbers. Fortunately, (or not) no number being worn on the current team looks like a candidate. The guest list is full - for now. We'll have to get our migraines somewhere else. But something tells me, we'll get our share.


Ken of Brooklyn said...

LOL! How long do you think we have until we see the first Yankee in triple digits?

el duque said...

It'll be 19 numbers this spring. They invite the 40-man roster, plus about 30 others,right? That leaves a margin of 10 numbers.

They'll probably give two players the same number.

As I've said in the past, the Yankees should start retiring letters.