Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A brief baseball check-in

So we have reached the All-Star Break, and the Orioles of Baltimore are sitting on a respectable lead atop the American League East. If the season were to end today and head into the playoffs, the Yankees wouldn't even be close to the wild card. In point of fact, both wild card teams would come out of the AL West, and one of those two, the Angels, have a significantly better record than the O's, never mind the Yanks, while the other, Seattle, is barely a game, game and a half behind Baltimore's record. The A's, with the best record in baseball, are just ridiculous this year.

But the playoffs don't start any time soon, and we are actually only halfway through the season. Well, a little more than halfway through. Eighty-one games make up half a regular season, and as of today every club has played somewhere between ninety-one and ninety-seven games. Apparently there's been an unusually high number of weather-related postponements. So it's a downhill race from here, seventy-one or sixty-something contests remaining to see who will stay at the top of the heap, who will rally for a last-minute surge, and who will collapse down the stretch.

My wife, as is her custom, refuses to get excited about the Orioles' post-season chances. If the topic comes up, she very quickly asserts that the O's will choke in late August, because that's what they always do. As always, it's hard to sort through the complex and dynamic layers of superstition at play here. Is she really managing her own expectations, shielding herself from disappointment and heartbreak by expecting the worst? Is she trying to appease the gods of baseball by not exhibiting New York-esque (or even Bostonian) hubris which would be swiftly and summarily punished? Bracing herself, or playing a reverse-psychology bluffing game with Fate?

And by bringing all of this up, calling it out and naming it, am I undoing whatever voodoo she is doing, jinxing her team by proxy? Does that even work? If it did work, am I the kind of person who would do such a thing deliberately?

I guess we'll have to wait and see come end of August. If my strangled body washes up on some barrier island, I probably had it coming.

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