I used to wonder why they always said “pie are squared” when every pie I’d ever seen was round. Of course, they were actually saying π · r², which is exactly the kind of fancy math stuff better left to the nerds running baseball these days. So when you hear today, March 14, referred to as Pi Day, it’s indeed due to the fact that it represents the first three digits of that most famous mathematical constant, pi. Representative of the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, pi’s decimal representation never ends and never falls into a permanent repeating pattern.
Modern technology has determined at least 13.3 trillion digits of that representation, which is cool because the computational power required to uncover that nigh unimaginable figure probably couldn’t have been applied to anything that actually helped humankind. If you’ve got either a whole lot of time or an insatiable thirst for useless knowledge on your hands, you can check out the first million of those digits over at piday.org. Nerds, man.
Sorry to disappoint those of you who were still clinging to the idea that 3/14’s moniker came as an homage to either Felix Pie or pastry shells filled with fruity or custardy goodness. For what it’s worth, my favorite pies are either strawberry-rhubarb or sugar cream. If you’ve never had the latter, it’s basically just sugar, butter, and heavy cream. I mean, they’re mixed together and stuff, but still. It’s basically a vice on a crust, like the deep-dish pizza of the dessert world.
Moving on. Since pi is an irrational number (can’t be expressed as a fraction), I thought I’d honor the day by listing 3.14 things I’m looking forward to in the coming MLB season.
1) Socrates Brito vs. Arquimedes Caminero
I can’t think of a better way to settle the stats vs. scouts argument than by seeing it played out on the diamond by men named after a legendary, if somewhat apocryphal, pair of minds. Socrates is the father of Western philosophy while Archimedes is credited with anticipating modern calculus and creating the geometrical theorem to determine the area of a circle (shown above). Very fitting.
I don’t think either Brito or Caminero will have quite the legacy as their homophonous namesakes, I just want to see this because it’s two really dope names. While not as topically relevant, I would also love to see Bubba Starling and Bubba Derby square off. It’d be even better if I did so in the company of my grandma, who also answers to Bubba.
2) Whether the black magic runs out in St. Louis
It could just be the jealousy talking, but I don’t really see the Cardinals being all that good this year. Not division contenders, not Wild Card contenders. Then again, they’ve got a knack for turning Goose Gossage’s opinions into chicken salad, so it’s entirely possible they keep pace with the Cubs and Bucs (which I like saying instead of Pirates because it’s almost a palindrome and is, as I had to have pointed out to me, an anagram of Cubs).
This is sort of a weird deal, though, as I’m torn on how much I want to see the Redbirds’ wings clipped. If they’re really good, the rivalry with the Cubs will be that much more fun and the games have a national appeal. On the other hand, I hate losing more than I love winning, and a reduced St. Louis squad would probably result in more of the latter for the Cubs. Even if they are down, you know the Cardinals aren’t going to stay that way for long, so it’d be nice to see it for a season or five.
3) Opening Day
I’ve never attended an Opening Day game, so I’m really excited to be on hand in Anaheim to see the Cubs take on the Angels. While I’d rather be taking in the pomp and circumstance of a Wrigley-based opener, I think the SoCal weather will provide ample compensation for my unfulfilled preference. If you’re planning on being out there as well, let me know so we can grab a beer.
3.14) The second annual Cubs Insider watch party
We’re shooting for Sunday, 4/10 at Scotty’s Brewhouse on 96th St. in Indianapolis. They’ve got a room set aside for us and I’ll have some prizes from at least four of the Cubs’ minor league affiliates to give away (including shirts, hats, tickets, and more). Of course, the game is on WGN, so I’m crossing my fingers that it gets picked up again as part of the local syndication package.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to search through those million digits to see if anything interesting shows up.