John Granato: Scientific proof that being a sports fan makes your life better

Want to be happier? Be a sports fan. Bob Levey/Getty Images

If you’re reading this you must be a sports fan. I’m a sports fan. Always have been. In the greater scheme of things we aren’t changing the world are we? The academic world looks down its collective nose at us and maybe deservedly so. We’re not exactly curing cancer. But you know what? We’re probably happier than someone who is.

When you break down your life you can do it in seven parts - the days of the week. Let’s assume we all live until the ripe old age of 70. Some of us will live longer, some not, but let’s use that nice round number.

If you live until you’re 70, 10 years of your life is Mondays. That’s 3,650 crappy days. That’s a sad thought. Mondays flat out suck. It’s a scientific fact. If you doubt this you should listen to some of the songs that are dedicated to Mondays: Blue Monday, Manic Monday, Rainy Days and Monday, I don’t like Mondays.  These are just a few. There are a lot more.

It’s not even arguable.

Mondays suck.

But not if you’re a sports fan.

For non-sports fans what do they have to look forward to on Mondays? Nothing. If you are a sports fan you’ve got plenty. There are 16 weeks a year that have Monday Night Football and this year there are 26 Rockets and Astros Mondays that don’t fall on MNF nights. There are also five Mondays that are holidays so let’s just say that there are on average around 45 of 52 Mondays a year that there is something to look forward to for sports fans.

Therefore over the course of 70 years there are really only about 490 really crappy days. Of course that’s the most optimistic of scenarios. Are we content when our team plays, win or lose? Are we really happy if our team gets beat? Probably not.

Over their history the Astros have won about 50% of their games. We’ll just have to assume they win at that pace on Mondays as well.

The Rockets are a little better but not much. They’ve played .524 ball over their history. Let’s assume then that the two teams would lose on average 12 of those 26 Monday games.  Now we’re down to 33 good and 19 crappy Mondays a year. That’s just over 1,300 crappy Mondays for sports fans who live until they’re 70.

Non-sports fans?  They do get those five holidays. They probably read a good book some of those Mondays too. I can’t imagine they go out and have any fun on Mondays. They are above all that. Their work is too important to risk a hangover. Let’s say they have 10 good Mondays a year. That’s 2.940 crappy Mondays in their lives.

That’s a pretty big number and we haven’t even gotten to Tuesday yet. Truth be told, Monday gets a bad rap. Tuesday? There aren’t songs written about Tuesday but it sucks even worse. Granted, you’re closer to the weekend on Tuesday but it’s by far the worst sports day of the week.

Unless you go to a MAC school there’s no football to look forward to and looking at their attendance MAC people aren’t really thrilled about their football either. The Astros and Rockets play about 30 Tuesdays a year. We can assume they’ll lose 14 of those so we’ve got 36 crappy Tuesdays a year or 2,500 total in our 70 years on earth.

Non-sports fan? I’m sure there’s an opera or play or something boring those people enjoy some Tuesdays. We’ll give them five good Tuesdays a year which means they have around 3,300 crappy Tuesdays over their 70 year lives. Another big number.

Same pretty much goes for Wednesday. Hump day. Whatever. Wednesdays suck too. So let’s throw another 2,500 crappy days on the fire for sports fans. Another 3,300 for the other side.  

Let’s check in on our scoreboard:

                                          Sports fans        Non-sports fans

Crappy Mondays:           1300                  2940

Crappy Tuesdays:           2500                 3300

Crappy Wednesdays:     2500                 3300

                                      ____ ____

Total Crappy Days:         6300                9540

We’re up by over 3,200. That’s an ass kicking.

So what about the rest of the days?

In my mind there are very few if any bad days from Thursday through Sunday. If you ever go out on Thursday you know it’s a hot night. It’s the unofficial start of the weekend. You can drink because you know you’ve got an easy day ahead. You can go in hung over or even still drunk.

Not much gets done on Fridays in the business world. Honestly, who puts any effort into Friday’s work day? If you do you’re far too driven. Even nerds who don’t like sports know that. The whole day is spent looking forward to getting out of whatever job you have and getting the weekend started.

The weekend? There’s no such thing as a bad weekend. If you don’t like sports you don’t have anything good to watch but at least you don’t have to go to your boring job where you’re boring everyone talking about work instead of sports. I’m sure you think you’re having fun but the rest of us pity you and your non-sports conversation.

In your non-sports life you didn’t celebrate the Rockets championships in the 90’s or the Astros last year, or the Texans… Did I mention the Astros last year?

You don’t know what a slider is or an off sides means. You think traveling is something you do in a car not what James does every time he drives the lane.

And then there’s that curing cancer thing. Yeah. It’s an important job. But how many days are you trying to find that cure and failing. Days? It’s more like years. Failing time and again. Over and over, year after year.

Even if you do succeed and have a huge breakthrough that’s just one successful day. One day versus all those crappy failed days. Not exactly a great batting average is it?

Yeah you cured cancer but at what price? Your happiness.

Give me a beer, some peanuts and a ballgame over that miserable existence any day.

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Yordan Alvarez provided the offense to back up more stellar pitching by the Astros as they took ALCS game 6 to advance to the 2021 World Series. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of this series in Houston then falling behind in the series 2-1 by dropping the first of three games in Boston, the Astros took over the ALCS in Games 4 and 5, sending them back to their home crowd with a chance to finish things off in Game 6 at Minute Maid Park. After another stellar performance by their pitching staff and more timely hitting, they would accomplish that mission, winning the series and moving on to the 2021 World Series.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 0

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston wins 4-2

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Losing Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Houston strikes first to start tightly-contested Game 6

After a scoreless top of the first inning by Boston's offense, the Astros capitalized on a chance to be first to score in the bottom of the frame. Alex Bregman started the two-out rally, reaching base on a single against Nathan Eovaldi for the first hit of the night. Yordan Alvarez followed, delivering his sixth RBI of the series with a double to put Houston on top 1-0.

That did not spark further immediate scoring, as the one-run score held while both starting pitchers provided solid outings for their team. For Eovaldi, he was able to limit Houston to just that single run through four frames. He returned in the bottom of the fifth, facing two batters, allowing a single, and getting a strikeout to end his night.

Garcia impresses in big start

For the home team, they were recipients of another expectation-exceeding performance from one of their young arms. Only anticipated to go a handful of innings, Luis Garcia worked efficiently and effectively against Boston, keeping them scoreless and hitless through five innings. He continued in the sixth, getting two more outs before allowing a two-out triple, ending his night as Phil Maton would enter to strand the tying run. Garcia's final line: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 76 P.

With both teams dipping into their bullpens, the Astros took advantage of Boston's as Yordan Alvarez's dominance went on display once again. He led the inning off with a triple, then scored on a double-play ball to extend Houston's lead to 2-0. Kendall Graveman took over on the mound in the top of the seventh and worked himself into a big moment. He gave up a one-out walk, followed by a single, which put runners on the corners for Boston. He continued to struggle with the zone, falling behind the next batter 3-1, but was able to battle back to get the strikeout paired with a terrific throw by Martin Maldonado to cut down the runner from first trying to steal second, ending the inning and maintaining the two-run advantage.

Astros headed to the World Series

Ryne Stake was Houston's next reliever, and he put Houston three outs away by getting a 1-2-3 eighth. With Ryan Pressly warming, he watched and hoped that his offense could give him some more insurance to work with when he went to the mound in the top of the ninth. His wish would be granted, as after getting two on base, Kyle Tucker would put a major exclamation point on the night's offense, hitting a three-run opposite-field homer to the Crawford Boxes to push the lead to 5-0.

Pressly, now with the five-run lead, came on to try and start the celebration by getting the final three outs. Against the tougher part of Boston's order, he would get a 1-2-3 inning, giving the Astros the American League pennant, which along with those won in 2017 and 2019, puts them back in the World Series for the third time in five years.

Up Next: The Astros will have three days off before The Fall Classic kicks off. While Game 1 will be on Tuesday, October 26th, nothing else has yet been determined as Houston awaits to see which of the Dodgers and Braves will advance out of the NL, which will also dictate if the Astros will host or travel to World Series Game 1.

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