×

Peterson: Stats are vital in sports coverage

It’s a point I always try to emphasize to every new coach I may encounter.

And that point is: Try to keep the very best stats you can and get them to me as soon as possible.

Late Mining Gazette sportswriter/editor Dick Loranger gave me the same instructions when I wrote my first sports story way back when.

When was way back then?

Well, Lyndon Johnson was still President of this country. Calumet & Hecla Mining Co. was still producing copper at a good rate. And the price of a stamp for a letter cost all of two cents.

Loranger was a particular stickler on basketball box scores. He insisted that made field goals, made free throws, personal fouls and total points be in the box score. Along with a quarter scores and, if possible, the names of the officials working the game.

“A complete box score can tell a person just about anything he needs to know how the game went,” he said.

He was right on that statement.

Over the years, the format has been boiled down to a very few bare facts. It’s something that was done, ostensibly, to save space.

That’s an argument I never have — and never will — buy. Call me old-fashioned or just plain stubborn, but that’s how I see it.

The other sports, football in particular, also require a good stats.

In this enlightened electronical age, there are hand-held instruments that literally can keep track of a game as the action is taking place.

Most coaches in every sport are very good about keeping accurate and timely stats. Andy Crouch of Lake Linden-Hubbell and Mark Leaf of L’Anse are especially proficient.

Many basketball coaches will zerox a copy of the book — making it much easier a

With shrinking deadlines, the timely part is most important.

So, the next time you may think stats are not a key part of a story, think again.

Nowadays, stats are used mostly to add meat for a player hoping to gain an extra boost in salary negotiations.

For instance, if a running back gains 1,000 yards in a season or hits .300, that could mean an extra zero in his salary. And zeroes are what it’s all about in our society today.

Newsletter

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)