It’s just February, but Major League Baseball players have already started reporting for spring training in Florida and Arizona. It is a beautiful thing – baseball in February. It took me more than 30 years to realize I wasn’t anywhere as good a baseball coach as I thought I was. If I could do it all again, I would do a lot of things differently – but I can’t.

Therefore, I get my baseball fix on television or in a Major League ball park every once in a blue moon. I have fond memories of going to Atlanta and getting to see Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. I think it was only once that I got to see the San Francisco Giants and Willie Mays come to Atlanta, but it is a very happy memory.

These days, kids no longer play little league, they play various brands of backseat baseball, where they jump in their parents car and travel for hours to play 9 or 10 games over the course of a few days.

They say they travel for better competition and coaching and all things that seem important. And that is fine. I’m just saying that as you get older and watch your kids get older, priorities change.

Being a math guy, I have always loved the mathematics and statistics involved with baseball and other sports. Also being a math guy, I tend to try to use math to make good decisions.

That being said, I want to tell you up front that I understand that food allergies are real and I am not making light of them. I caught a great amount of unpleasantness in the school lunchroom due to the smell of the soy milk I had to drink in the first and second grade, due to allergies to milk.

However, when baseball starts taking peanuts out of the game, I am very worried. The minor league baseball team in Hartford, Connecticut, has announced they have made the decision to be a “peanut free” stadium. They will not only not sell peanuts, but will also not sell Cracker Jack. Again, remember what I said about allergies and don’t get mad at me.

BUT, this is baseball and if I do recall, somewhere in the song, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” the lyrics include “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack.”

I guess the Hartford Yard Goats will have to change that to something else, perhaps “tofu and celery.”

First, the team has a wonderful name – the “Yard Goats.” You would think with a name like that they would never fall prey to the craziness hole the country seems to often fall into. They draw big crowds too, for a minor league team.

Here you go – 0.6 percent of the population suffers from peanut allergies, that is 6 people is every 1000, so I would think on given night at the stadium, they would have anywhere from 30 to 50 folks in the stadium with a peanut allergy.

Again, peanut allergies are serious – I know. As a matter of fact, anywhere from 150 to 200 people die each year as a result of food allergies, about half of those related to peanuts. So 75 to 100 people die each year as a result of peanuts. Again, I know, one is too many.

Stay with me.

Compare peanuts to alcohol deaths, which are conservatively around 90,000 per year. You should see by now where I am going with this. Do you really think they will stop selling over-priced beer at the ball games? Not a chance. And honestly, I don’t think they should stop selling beer at the ball games.

We seem to get our “causes” out of whack sometimes.

Why don’t the Yard Goats sell peanuts and Cracker Jack and give the profits to the leagues for kids who can’t afford to play the backseat travel around looking for the best competition, hoping to get a baseball scholarship and play in the Major Leagues baseball. Again, nothing wrong with your kids doing that.

So, more people die from alcohol than peanuts and if you want to talk about really small numbers, do some research on how many high school baseball players get college scholarships and then find out how many actually make it to the Major Leagues.

Love the game, love the math and don’t forget about the little things – like peanuts and Cracker Jack.


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