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Playing the numbers game

Numbers. They’re all around us every day. People look for lucky numbers so they can win millions on the lottery, even though picking 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 is just as likely as any other six numbers to come up.

I tend to enjoy numbers more than most people, I think. Or at least most normal people. I noticed a couple of weeks ago that the number of steps from the parking lot at Citizen Field to the concourse level in the stands was 18.

So what, I hear you saying. (I have very good hearing.) Well, the usual time I climb those stairs is when we’re doing a Thursday night baseball broadcast on CFIS, and when I leave the CFIS studio with the equipment needed for the broadcast, I go down 18 steps to get to the parking lot at Studio 2880.

I will see a license plate or a number of almost any sort, and I’ll start doing some mental arithmetic. Is it a prime number? Is it a square or a cube? What are its factors?

If I see two numbers together, it’s almost impossible for me not to add, subtract and multiply them to see what I get. Sometimes I’ll multiply the two numbers, then a few minutes later, totally randomly, see that same number crop up somewhere else.

I also look at license plates and assign numbers to the letters in them – A=1, B=2, and so on. I will add the letters together and see if it is a factor of the numerical portion of the plate

I’ve had a lot of people ask what good it does to do this sort of thing, and I’m more than happy to admit it doesn’t mean anything at all.

On the other hand, it keeps my mind sharp (and I need all the help I can get). And sometimes, I notice a strange coincidence of numbers – for good or bad.

Monday, there were a couple of stories in the world of sports. At Wimbledon, 15-year-old Coco Gauff beat Venus Williams, 39, in the opening round of the ladies singles.

I added those two numbers up, got 54, and just happened to notice it averaged 27.

A short time later, I read about the sudden death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

He was 27.

It doesn’t mean anything, but it’s just one of those coincidences you run into with numbers.