Water has a way of leaving you behind in the count.
One gallon makes sense (that’s a jug of milk), and so does 42.5 of them (that’s the size of a water barrel), or even 15,000 for that matter (which is the size of my swimming pool), or if you think in Olympic pool-sized units – 660,000 gallons.
But a million gallons, or a trillion … per second, per minute, per day?
Too many gallons will drown you down 0-2 in the count, with not much confidence of making mental contact on the next pitch coming.
That’s why I am a fan of baseball hydrology.
The baseball season is long – and so are the games: there are 162 of them in the regular season, each lasting around 3 hours.
If played back to back without stopping, that translates into around 20 consecutive days of baseball.
Now imagine sitting in Fenway Park and watching the area of fair play (2 acres) fill up with a column of water to the top of the Green Monster (37.5 ft high) for each minute of that 20-day marathon game.
Yes, that’s a lot of water – 207 mile tall tower of water to be exact, or in volumetric terms, around 2.2 million acre feet.
But pour the same volume in Lake Okeechobee and you only raise its water line 6 feet. (Fay famously rose the Lake’s level 4 ft in an approximate 20 day period.)
That doesn’t sound like much, but Lake Okeechobee is as shallow as it is wide:
Dips below 11 ft are called droughts and rises to 17 ft (and above) put the levee at risk.
A ball hit at either height against the Green Monster produces the same result:
A stand-up double.
(That’s pretty good for being down 0-2 in the count!)