The Giants are older and heavier than the Royals, and other illuminating World Series statistics
Between now and Tuesday, the World Series matchup between the Giants and the Royals is going to be analyzed, reanalyzed, and overanalyzed. The numbers will be crunched, twisted, broken down, and built back up again. We've done some of this ourselves. But what about the numbers that have little-to-nothing to do with baseball performance?
In the spirit of coming at the Giants-Royals World Series from every angle known to man, we selected a few categories from which to compare the rosters that will be going head to head come October 21. Remember: this is very scientific, very rigorous, and very arbitrary.
Age, Handedness, Height and Weight
Let's start with the basics: Do you want young legs or wizened experience at the end of October? Youthful exuberance or battle-tested strength?
Rookies Matt Duffy and Joe Panik, both 23, pull the Giants average under 30, while 21-year-old Brandon Finnegan hits the World Series with the Royals straight from TCU and the College World Series. At least he's old enough for the champagne showers. At 39 and 37, respectively, Tim Hudson and Jason Frasor are the wise old antiques for the Giants and Royals.
The Giants boast seven right-handed hitters and nine righty pitchers versus five lefty batters and three southpaw pitchers. And then, of course, Pablo Sandoval switches depending on the wind. The Royals are slightly more right-handed, with nine batting from the right versus five lefties and seven righty pitchers against four southpaws.
Despite pounding the country breakfasts, Royals players are actually slightly smaller, on average, than Giants players -- KC stands at 6-foot, 202 lbs. while San Francisco edges over them at 6-foot-1, 209 lbs.
So the Giants are older, bigger, and slightly leftier than the Royals. Make of that what you will.
Places of birth
OK, so we know how the teams stack up physically. But what about where their players came from?
The Giants represent nine U.S. states, with seven international players hailing from Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic. Royals players were born in 12 different states, with six international players born in Japan, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic.
From El Tigre, Venezuela, Jean Machi has the longest trip home on the Giants, traveling approximately 4,114 miles. At the opposite end, Brandon Crawford is practically home grown -- it's only 38 miles to Mountain View, California.
Alex Gordon has to drive 193 miles home to Lincoln, Nebraska from KC, but that's the quickest trip on the Royals. Nori Aoki, though, has to hoof it roughly 6,672 miles from KC to Hyuga City, Japan -- the longest distance of any player on either team. Fun fact: Google Maps won't even calculate directions from Hyuga to KC. You just have to swim.
Based purely on geographical extremes, the Giants are slightly closer to home. Again, that means whatever you want it to mean.
Bonus comparison: If this was a presidential election and not the World Series, the Royals would have the advantage, with the 12 states they represent totaling 231 electoral votes. The Giants' nine possess understandably fewer votes: 214. Unfortunately, neither team secures the necessary 270 electoral votes to win a presidential election. Too bad.
You know what really has zero effect on how these teams will perform? The mathematical value of player names.
Let's look at player initials. Let's give each letter a numeric value corresponding with its position in the alphabet -- so A=1, Z=26 -- and then score the team rosters. For example, Giants catcher Buster Posey receives a score of 18, because B=2 and P=16.
Following this for the Giants' roster, we get a score of 584. That soundly topples the Royals' 479. Which is preferable is up to you -- do you empathize with the kids who stood at the front of alphabetical lines in grade school (like me, B=2 and C=3) or at the end?
How about individual players? Though the Royals have a lower total score, rookie pitcher Yordano Ventura bests all players with an initials total of 47. Billy Butler and Brandon Belt tie for the lowest, with four apiece.
What does this tell us about how the World Series will play out? Absolutely nothing. You can stack these teams against each other every which way, but all that matters is what happens on the diamond. That's the beauty of it.