The term “magic number” has been thrown around a lot in recent days, and this week won’t be any different. The Nats’ so-called magic number for clinching the NL East is now 10 — any combination of 10 Braves losses and Nats wins guarantee Washington will finish ahead of Atlanta in the standings. And the Nats’ magic number for clinching a playoff spot is 3 — a number that could be gained after Wednesday’s double-header with the Dodgers.
But where did this term come from? How about from The Washington Post. In the ‘40s. While covering the Yankees and Red Sox. Weird.
“The Yankees reduced the magic number to four,” The Post reported on Sept. 12, 1947. “That is the combination of games the Yankees must win or the Red Sox must lose in order to insure the flag for the Yankees.”
A reference librarian at the Baseball Hall of Fame told Barry Svrluga that this was the first documented magic number usage, according to the Dickson Baseball Dictionary, third edition. Yay, Post.
Sixty-five years later, we finally get to use the term to describe a D.C. team.
BECAUSE YOU DON’T READ THE PAPER...
Svrluga’s look at the few Nats employees left from the Expos years.
The Nats will very likely start the playoffs on the road, due to an unfortunate one-year scheduling quirk.
The Skins already need multiple defensive backups to step up.
Stories about rowdy West Virginia fans are always fun.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
A.J. Francis on Morgantown:
“If you don’t know that West Virginia is a hell of a place to play, I don’t know where you’ve been living the first 18 years of your life. It’s going to be a wild environment. It always is. But what are you going to do? You have to be ready to adapt.”
PHOTO OF THE DAY
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
The Nats host the Dodgers in a doubleheader at 4 on MASN. The Orioles are in Seattle at 10 on MASN2. All TV/Radio listings are here.
Add another story to the long litany of Wizards/Bullets birthday cake stories. Here’s John Wall, in a D.C. United jersey, with a birthday cake featuring the old Wizards color scheme.
MORSE GOT ELECTROCUTED
Davey Johnson, on Michael Morse: “He had some electrodes attached to him,” Johnson said. “I don’t know what that does. But he was getting electrocuted today when I was talking to him. I guess that’s helping it. So we’ll see tomorrow.” (Via Nats Enquirer)
Watch these GIFs of RGIII going deep, again and again and again. Mesmerizing, anyhow.