Thursday, October 7, 2010

Changing the Course of Destiny

How is it that I actually believe I may be changing the course of baseball destiny from the seat in my living room?

The pattern that emerged last night was clear and simple: when the Twins were up and there was a rally brewing, I had to turn the channel and watch something, anything else. I ended up viewing parts of "Boardwalk Empire"(very gripping new series with a deliciously evil main character) and Bill Maher (fairly mundane), while the Yankees were struggling to retain their lead. I missed almost all of what was occurred the last 3 innings that Minnesota was at bat, but by doing so, I think I preserved the victory for my team.

On other nights, I have discovered that I couldn't get up to go to the bathroom. Sometimes I have found that if I even imagined something bad that might transpire, I was witness to it immediately thereafter.

Maybe it is because my mother loaded me down with superstitions that I carry with me to this day. No hats or keys on the bed. You have to exit a house from the same door you enter.

Maybe all the repetitive superstitious activity I see in the game convinces me that there must be something to this. After a batter strikes out, the ball does not return from catcher to pitcher but follows an elaborate series of throws to various infielders before finally reaching its intended destination. Few people know that CC Sabathia only catches the return toss to him in his bare left hand. Once I was at a game and noticed, for the first and only time, that Sabathia caught the return throw in the glove on his right hand. The next pitch was deposited over the left field wall for the one run the opposition would score that day.

Can it be that if Nick Swisher did not look up to the heavens between every pitch, that he would suddenly be unable to catch up with a 95 mile per hour fastball? Or if he did not thrust his arms up in the air to give thanks every time he reached base safely that he might find he was never again the same player? If Pedro Martinez didn't jump over the baseline on his way to the mound one time, but actually stepped on the chalk, would the magic have left forever? Can I deem those actions to be meaningless and still find meaning in my behavior?

Yesterday, Doc Halladay threw a no hitter. Baseball tradition demands that there be no discussion between the pitcher and his teammates during the game about what is unfolding. Often, in late innings, the pitcher is treated almost as a pariah, left to sit by himself, seemingly ignored by those around him. I have listened to games where even announcers appear hesitant to give mention to this most rare occurrence. People who make a living informing us of the most insignificant details of the game and of anything and everything else that pops into their mind, don't want to talk about the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

Over the years, fans have tried to will their team to victory wearing baseball caps inside out. If we tossed our hats in the air, and sang a chorus of "New York, New York" would that be the magic we need to secure victory?

So, if any of you happen over to my apartment during the next few days to watch a game, do not be surprised by almost anything you see. As I may be not only master of my fate, but of Jeter's, A-Rod's and the rest of the pinstriped players, I bear a heavy burden. If I decide to cluck like a chicken, or perform a voodoo ritual, do not be alarmed. I have yet to find the perfect answer but I am working on it.

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