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The Negotiators

By Brian | October 5, 2010 | Share on Facebook

So it’s October again in the Greenberg house which, for as long as my kids can remember, means one thing: post-season Yankee baseball.

Last year, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to purchase four tickets to the second game of the American League Division Series (ALDS), which turned out to be one of the greatest baseball games I’ve ever seen live – truly a memory my kids, my wife and I will share forever.

This year, things are a little more complicated. First of all, the Yankees didn’t win their division, which means that the ALDS doesn’t begin in Yankee Stadium as it did last year. Instead, it begins with two games in Minnesota and then returns to Yankee Stadium for games three and four. Since it’s a best of five series, if one team wins three in a row, there won’t be a game four, meaning there would only be one game at Yankee Stadium in the whole series.

The second complicating factor is that I couldn’t get four tickets to a single game this year. Instead, I got two tickets to game three and two tickets to game four (refundable if the game isn’t played). My wife willingly bowed out in deference to the kids, meaning I’m all set to take one kid to the first game and one kid to the second game. If there is a second game. Which is not a guarantee.

Further complicating matters is the concept of a “clinching game.” If the Twins and Yankees split the two games in Minnesota, then there would definitely be two games in Yankee Stadium, but the second one would give someone the opportunity to win the entire series. If it’s the Yankees, that would likely be the more exciting of the two games. If one team wins both games in Minnesota, though, then Game 3 is a potential “clinching game” for one of the teams, but if that team fails to win that game, then Game 4 becomes another potential “clinching game.”

So, when I got home from work today, I presented my 10-year old and my 7-year old with the following challenge: you guys work out between yourselves who goes to which game. If you haven’t decided by Friday afternoon, we’ll flip a coin. Oh, and no fighting.

My wife and I had discussed several scenarios on the phone during the day, but never came close to an arrangement that was as fair and well-reasoned as the one my two kids reached on their own:

Avery (the 10-year old), concluded immediately that they should make the decision tonight, rather than wait until Friday to see how the first two games played out, because if they waited, then they’d both want to go to the same game, and someone would be upset. Brandon (the 7-year old) calmly agreed. Then, they went off on their own, produced the following matrix, and presented it to me with their thinking:

Game 1Game 2Game 3Game 4

The thinking went like this: If they split the two games in Minnesota (rows 3 and 4 of the above matrix), then there are definitely two games, and Avery gets to go to Game 4 (the potential “clinching game”). In return, if the Yankees win both games in Minnesota, then Brandon gets to see the Yankees’ potential clinching game (and possibly the only game played). If the Twins win both games in Minnesota, then Avery gets to see the Twins’ potential clinching game (not as exciting as a Yankee “clinching game”). And, of course, in either of those scenarios, whoever runs the risk of not going at all gets to see the next clinching game (Game 4) if the series goes beyond Game 3.

Then they both signed their names at the bottom of the paper and gave it back to me for safekeeping.

So, to sum up: the next time the United Nations (or perhaps Congress?) needs to settle an argument between opposing interests, they should give my boys a call. But not in October – we’ve got some baseball to watch.


Topics: Family Matters, Sports Talk | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “The Negotiators”

  1. Jeff Porten says at October 5th, 2010 at 2:02 am :
    I’m not 100% sure how it works out, but the interesting thing about this is that game theory says this gives them incentive to alternate rooting for the Twins during games 1 and 2.

  2. Brian says at October 5th, 2010 at 10:23 am :
    Indeed it does. The next test will be wether they root for their hometown Yankees in the first two games, or whether they root for the team that will benefit them personally.

    My guess is they root for the Yankees, but aren’t upset if they lose one game, because now there’s a silver lining.

  3. Ilya says at October 14th, 2010 at 4:53 pm :
    I’d just insist on my first-born privilege to see whatever game was more exciting, and make my younger brother agree :-) Avery must be more mature than I was at his age…

  4. Brian says at October 14th, 2010 at 8:28 pm :
    More mature than his father was at his age as well… ;-)