Jul 8

Sports and Numbers

Posted By:Brett Haynes "The Top Fan"  Tags:

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Photo: USPresswire.com

Can you keep up with 1,081 people? I was listening to one of ESPN's handful of sports talk shows when it occured to me that I, no matter how big the sports fan, am unable to really be the authority on the sports world that I strive and want to be. But I am not alone. It takes a small army to produce the information that is put out by ESPN, and the reason for this is the number of players - and teams - that are out there these days.

It is hard for me to decide whether or not it is just me and my lack of ability to focus at times, or that there are just a million athletes to try to keep up with anymore. Back in the "old days", even though there was far less open-communication (web), it was easier to get to know your favorite teams and players. You might say I am crazy and that the internet supplies so much more information. True, it does provide a lot of information - maybe too much! With all of the TV shows and sports information available online, it is mind-boggling to me just how big the sports world has become. And no offense to those athletes from other countries, but the Ramirezes and the Rodriguezes and the Martinezes and the European names in the NBA just keep me on the guess of who I am trying to remember that I am listening or hearing about and what they just did.

In professional sports, expansion by nature has doubled the amount of teams in the major sports (basketball, football, baseball, hockey) in the last 40 years. And now you also have the MLS and all of these X-treme games in the mix. Did we mention the PGA-Tour?... And the tennis players?...And the coaches?

Collegiately, parity in scholarships has done its part to open the door for so many more teams to compete at a high level. Years ago, Alabama, Michigan and Notre Dame were among a select group of about fifteen programs that dominated year after year after year in college football. Now, teams from Boise State to Utah to Virginia Tech to Texas Tech are in the mix nationally from time to time. And in men's basketball, at least 65 teams are worthy of the postseason at last count.

So if we stop right there (with American pro and high-level college sports, and not even get into our local high-school teams that feed these high-levels, or the former good and great players that still pop up in current conversations) and do the math on how many players and teams there are to keep up with, let's see how big that number really is. Let's say each pro team has five key players, and one "best" player (that one guy on the team that is the reason you pay to go to the park. See; Pujols, Albert). Collegiately, I'll just guesstimate. Here goes....

MLB - 30 teams, 150 key players, 30 best players

NBA - 30 teams, 150 key players, 30 best players

WNBA - sorry Detroit Girl, but I don't do the WNBA!

NFL - 32 teams, 160 key players, 32 best players

NHL - 30 teams, 150 key players, 30 best players

MLS - 15 teams (still not sure who they all are), 5 or 6 players to keep up with total (for me personally)

PGA - 1 all-time great, 10 super-stars, 30 more players worth keeping up with

Tennis (mens and womens) - 5 or 6 players worth keeping up with (for me personally)

College football - 69 major conference teams, 300 plus good players to keep up with, 10 - 20 super-stars

College basketball (men's)- 100 plus teams in division 1, 65 teams good enough to play in NCAA tournament, 100 or so good players to keep up with

College Baseball - 64 teams make the NCAA tournament, 8 to focus on during College World Series, 20 or so very good players to keep up with during College World Series

If I left anything out, please yell at me. But here are the totals that my brain tries to juggle annually over the course of these sports seasons:

Players - 1,081 -  That is the total number of athletes that are currently playing and worthy of keeping up with at this time

Teams - 323 - That is the total number of teams above ( I only counted 4 MLS teams)

Super-stars - 182 - That is the number of players that seem to be regulars on the high-light shows and are award finalist caliber.

All-time greats - Tiger, Federer, Pujols, Kobe, Armstrong, others...I am sure I am leaving out someone obvious, but that is the point of this article - there are just so many outstanding athletes to keep up with!

These numbers are just a close guesstimation, but wow - the sports world is huge!!



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