My wife will not walk into a room when a baseball game is playing on the television. Welcome to the life of a spouse married to a superstitious baseball fan.
“I’m not coming downstairs – I don’t want to get stuck,” she said during the second game of the World Series.
Last week, during game seven against the Yankees, she made the mistake of sitting down as the Astros began their push. Like a fly trapped in a spider web, I would not let go of her hand nor let either of us leave the game. Even after the break, we’d come back, I’d put the pillows in the same spot, even wrap our arms together in the same position. I even adjusted how we were holding hands to make sure I didn’t mess up the karma on the field of play.
The Astros won. Case closed.
Baseball is a game filled with superstition like no other. Many of us, year of playing behind us, continue to honor baseless traditions like never stepping on a white chalk line, selecting lucky socks for special events, and incorporating rote routines into our daily lives. Even the selection of a parking space at work can become a hidden sign of our misguided allegiance to our baseball superstitions. We are a sad lot.
A friend of mine recently shared of how he dealt with a particularly difficult game driving home from Austin.
“I was moving my hands all around the steering wheel trying to change the karma,” he said. “I’d move them to 10 and 2, then 9 and 3, heck, I even found myself leaning into the steering wheel when I ran out of hand positions.”
“You’d think like a rational adult I would realize one guy driving in a car in Texas is not controlling the outcome of one baseball game in New York City.”
Like I said earlier, superstition runs deep in a baseball fan’s life.
We may look like normal people, but when you get to know us you discover we hold our superstitions close. Keeping them to ourselves in daily life, there are signs. Do we walk in the same door when given a choice of others? Do we drive the same pathway to work only to change when we ’ve had a couple of difficult days? We are out there amongst you.
One year I was on a tear – leading the league in triples. For weeks I hid my socks from my mom, bringing the dirty, sweaty – but lucky – socks out into the light of day only on game day. Whatever magic was in the socks I was convinced could not stand up to whatever cleaning agent was in a box of Tide detergent. I still believe that.
So please go easy on us. We know we have demons. But whatever you do, if the team is playing well, don’t leave the room. We know how the universe works and are going to make sure the home team always wins.