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Sept 16 2000: Very Superstitious

(This column originally appeared at, Yankees Xtreme. Reproduced here by permission of Ultrastar.)
So when some friends who were going to come with me to a game recently had a change of plans, I ended up with extra tickets. These happened to be tickets for a recent Yankees-Red Sox game at Fenway Park, and all my baseball-loving Boston friends already had theirs. (They’re Sox fans.) So I hopped onto the chat room one evening here at Yankees Xtreme, and before long, two loyal Xtremists here in Massachusetts were set to attend the game with me: Louis DiLullo and Joel Balotin.

Well, you all know how those games came out, with the Yankees sweeping three of three at Fenway. But Joel admitted to me before the game that for a while, he had been on a losing streak. In fact, even the game he went to as Xtreme Community Captain was a loss. He assured me the streak was broken, but that got me to thinking, what happens when, as a fan, you become a jinx?

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking. There’s no such thing as a jinx (or a curse–but try telling that to Red Sox fans last week). There’s no way one fan’s luck can actually cause anything good or bad to happen with a team. Right? Maybe so. But superstition is a part of the game for lots of players and coaches, so why shouldn’t it be for spectators, too?

I had a superstitious feeling during that Red Sox game, actually. I felt like if I got out of my seat, someone would score. At the time it was a very close game, only 1-0. I didn’t want to miss any of the Yankees at bats, though, so I said to my boyfriend “I’ll only go get something to eat if we can score this inning.” I figured if we had an insurance run or two, then I could risk getting up during the Red Sox at bats.

But the Yanks didn’t score, and I was hungry. Joel took one for our team, then, as he volunteered to get up for me–and not only did he come back with a delicious steak sandwich, the Red Sox were shut out for another inning. Phew. Then when I finally went to the ladies room in the following inning, David Justice hit a home run! See?

Meanhwile, I determined that my old Yankees cap wasn’t lucky, since I lost it on the day of Game One of the World Series last year, and they swept the Braves in four games anyway. It was doubtful that cap could be lucky for the Yankees, since I had bought from a street vendor outside Fenway Park, but you never know. My new cap’s winning percentage, on the other hand, is .571, very close to the team’s actual .585, so it probably isn’t a factor either.

Here’s what I’d do if I thought I was becoming a jinx. You can’t stop going to games after all–if the Yankees keep battling on the field, we can’t very well give up in the stands, can we? I’d keep going to games, because otherwise I’d never break the streak.

I’d start using all my wishes for the Yankees to win. Blow out the candles on my birthday cake? Wish for a win. Find a lucky penny? Ditto. See a shooting star? You got it.

And I’d try to use players’ numbers whenever I could. What time do you set your alarm for in the morning, 7:45? How about 7:42 instead, because Mariano Rivera’s number is 42! (Or 7:51 if you prefer Bernie and sleeping a few extra minutes.) Ditto for setting the microwave… David Cone’s 36 seconds is just right for warming up a cinnamon bun.

And then there’s the thing I call interlocking myself. It’s kind of like crossing yourself, except I draw an interlocking NY on my chest or forehead. I do it at the end of the national anthem when I go to games. I haven’t actually told any of my friends about this, but I guess the cat is out of the bag now. . .

Yes, I actually already do ALL those good luck things already. After all, the Yanks are in first place–so I can’t stop now!

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