Cowboy Stadium vs. NASCAR

NASCAR uses about 6,000 gallons (of 110-octane E15 fuel) per race week. The United States averages 386 million gallons of gasoline per day. NASCAR runs 39 races per year (including the pre-season and All-Star races), so their usage only accounts for 0.000166% of fuel consumption in the United States (or about one out of every six-hundred-thousand gallons used).

Cowboy Stadium spends about $200,000 per month on utilities. If we assume that’s mostly electricity, that’s about 25,000 MWh, or the equivalent of an 80,000 person city.

A gallon of gas contains about 35-40 kWh of energy. So Cowboy Stadium consumes 32 times as much energy as all of the cars in NASCAR.

Astronomy Biathalon


SPORT NAME: Astronomy Biathlon SUMMARY: Each competitor must run from the starting line, following a predefined route of approximately 1600 meters carrying a telescope of their choice. The route will end at a Sighting Area. The competitor must set up the telescope in the Sighting Area and accurately find and identify three (3) astronomical objects listed on a list provided. Then he or she will break down the telescope, and run the next route to the next Sighting Area. There will be five (5) Sighting Areas in all, followed by a final 1600 meter run to the finish line. Sixty (60) seconds will be added to a competitor’s time for each object not correctly identified. The competitor with the shortest final time will be the winner. Mixed genders.

POSSIBLE VARIATIONS: 4x1600 Astronomy Biathlon relay; Astronomy Biathlon medley (galaxies at first Sighting Area, binary star systems at second, etc); Astronomy Triathlon (routes alternate 1600m runs with 5km biking)

Sports Uberchampion trivia question

Here’s a trivia question (to which I currently do not know the answer) inspired by the Red Sox’s recent World Series win and what I can only hope is soon to be the unbeaten 9-0 Patriots. If you take the 4 major American team professional sports championships (Stanley Cup, World Series, Superbowl, NBA Finals[1]), what’s the longest streak of consecutive championships in one metropolitan area?[2]

[1] - Is it just me, or does basketball not have a very recognizable term for its championship? [2] - I’m willing to be relatively flexible with the definition of “metropolitan area”.

Update: Answers below the fold!

There are a number of issues that make this question less than straightforward to answer. Firstly, before 1915, the Stanley cup was only contested on a challenge basis (similar to the way that chess and boxing are done today). Since the challenges weren’t annual, and there were a lot of times that the challenger was crushed outright, I’m going to ignore those years. Second, the question of how far back to look comes up. There’s never been a streak of more than two consecutive championships in the same area as long as all four contests have existed in their current form (the Superbowl, started in 1968, is the youngest).

Not counting pre-1915 hockey, there have been three times that there have been streaks of three. In 1906-1908, the Chicago White Sox won the World Series once and the Cubs won twice, and none of the others existed. In 1927, the New York Yankees won the World Series, and then in 1928 the Rangers won the Stanley Cup and the Yankees won again. In 1932-33, New York repeated the feat with the Yankees, Rangers, and the (baseball) Giants.

There has almost been one streak of three since 1968, but it requires that we make the cognitive leap to assuming that San Francisco and Los Angeles are a single metropolitan area. And I think that in terms of sports affinity, it’s a hard case to make. But in 1988, the Lakers won the NBA Finals, the Dodgers won the World Series, and then in early 1989 the 49ers took home the Lombardi Trophy.

Vive la difference

Anyone with more than a passing familiarity with baseball knows that there’s at least one important rule difference between the American League and the National League: in the AL, the pitcher never bats, and is instead represented by the Designated Hitter, a player who never takes the field. Interestingly, the rule that governs this is 6.10, which begins by stating “Any League may elect to use the Designated Hitter Rule.” Apparently the NL has simply elected not to use it. More interestingly, there are a few minor official rules that specifically apply to only NL or AL teams:

  • 1.16(b) - All NL players have to wear a double ear-flap helmet while at bat. According to 1.16(c), almost all other players are simply required to wear one with at least one ear flap. (Aside: Rule 1.16(c) actually grandfathers in players who chose in 1982 to not wear a helmet with ear flaps. Tim Raines was the last player to wear a helmet without ear flaps. He retired after the 2002 season. Julio Franco is the only still-active player who would qualify under this rule. Unfortunately, he chose to wear one-flap helmets, even before they were required.)
  • 4.10(a) - The National League can adopt a rule changing one or both double-header games to be seven innings long. The AL does not have that right. As far as I know, such a rule has never been adopted.
  • 4.12(a)(7), 4.12(a)(8), and 4.12(a)(9) - The NL can adopt a rule making games that have been stopped before regulation (for instance, because of rain) a "suspended game" instead of "no game".
  • 6.02(d) - The NL had to follow this experimental rule in 2006, essentially saying that the batter could not leave the batter's box unless either team was making a substitution or calling a conference. I have no idea if they're planning to make it permanent.
  • 10.23(b) - In the AL, the league pitching champion must have pitched at least as many innings as the number of games each team played that season (162 this year). In the NL, the champion only needed to have pitched 80% that many innings (129.6). As far as I can tell, this rule rarely, if ever, actually matters. The top pitchers in both leagues usually pitch at least 190 innings a year.

The story of my new bike

I got a new bike, and it’s an adventure story.

Sometime last summer, on two separate occasions, we found two bicycles on the side of the road in Naugatuck with a free signs. Neither was in great condition: they were dirty, rusty, and had flat tires. For some reason, despite M’s insistence that we start biking, they were put in our garage and ignored. During her long period without school-work, however, she got them out and started cleaning and rebuilding one. The other was discarded. Before she could complete her work on it — or even put it all back together — we moved to Boston. We brought the bike, in pieces, with us.

She dropped the pieces off at Federico’s Bike Shop on Emerson St about half a mile away. She had called ahead, but they still were surprised and amused by (what they called) the “bike destroyer”. Our neighbor had warned us that they were slow there, and they were clearly quite busy, but it was okay; I had waited a year, so I wasn’t really in any rush.

My new bikeThey called a few weeks later to let us know that it was done and ready to be picked up. For something like fourty dollars, they put it all back together, degreased and regreased the parts that needed it, and even replaced a couple damaged pieces. I consider it a huge bargain. M was working on a beautiful Sunday, so I decided to go pick it up and maybe bike to City Point. With only a blank check and my phone in my pockets, I left home. Immediately I realized that I was locked out. After trying to break in through my own windows (I was unwilling to cut the screens) and thinking whether our upstairs neighbors could help (no, we haven’t given them a spare key), I realized my only option was two miles away saving lives.

It’s a really great thing that I had what I had, because I was able to pay for the bike and ride it to the hospital. It was a surprisingly smoooth experience, considering the fact that the bike wasn’t really sized for me (the seat was too high and the handlebars too low), and I hadn’t ridden a bike probably since high school. I had no bike lock, so I had to wait outside, hot, thirsty, and feeling stupid while M did vastly more important things. She eventually came out, deservedly berated me for my idiocy, and made me wear her helmet in punishment. I have a massive noggin, and she does not, so it looked sort of like a strapped-on fez.

Unsurprisingly, I suffered a flat tire on my way home.

Could Wii Sports be bundled with the Wii?

It’s been a very long time since a Nintendo console was launched with a bundled game. The last one was, believe it or not, the Super Nintendo (bundled with the pinnacle of platformers: Super Mario World) in 1991. Wii Fanboy has a great feature about “Wii Sports”, a collection of little games that was the centerpiece of Nintendo’s E3 demos, and has been covered in detail. Could it be bundled with the Wii? Should it be?

How console manufacturers can fail to bundle a game with the console is beyond me. Console prices have gotten high enough. Parents considering the purchase for their kids have to also pick a game or three to add to the tab? Ridiculous. Arena

The operators of FleetCenter in Boston decided it’d be a good idea to auction off single-day rights to rename the stadium and give the proceeds to charity. Honorable idea. Unfortunately for them, the winner of Monday, February 28, was the crude news site They held a competition this afternoon to decide what the name should be. The winning entry: “ UFIA Arena”.

(This post cross-posted to Metafilter as my first Front Page Post)

Update Feb 16: Both Waxy links and Kottke linked to my Mefi post. And no one was really anti-Fark in the thread, which I expected from the Mefites. I consider my first FPP a success! Hurrah!

Peyton Manning's statistics

You know I love statistics/numbers/trivia. Last night in the gym, the UConn football game was on, and it’s got me in the mood for Superbowl XXXIX. Clicking around, reading about some football stuff, led me to a fantastic list of Peyton Manning’s amazing season. He broke the record for most touchdown passes in a season; but read the article. He’s broken all kinds of records in stupendous fashion, and has been an amazing Quarterback his whole career.

"So far this year, Manning has more touchdown passes than the Giants, Ravens, Bears, and Cardinals combined (44). He has more TD passes in 15 games this season than the Giants have in their last 50 games (48). If you split Manning up into two quarterbacks, he would rank third and fourth in touchdown passes among AFC quarterbacks with 25 and 24."

Red Sox and the President

Red Sox World Series victories predict incumbent presidential defeat with 100% accuracy!

Boston Sports Blog

I’m normally pretty ambivalent about baseball. I enjoy watching the game, sure, but I’m not really a fan of any specific team. But I have to say that when a sports juggernaut goes up against a perennial fumbler, I have to root for the underdog. That’s why I’m a bit excited that Boston has done what no other team has ever done before: come from a 3-0 deficit in a League Championship and force a game seven. In celebration, here’s a fun post about the antics last night, from a Boston fan.

In fact, read through most of the recent entries at Most of them are about last night or tonight, and all of them are emotional. I can hardly imagine being that wrapped up in baseball.