After a sweep as ugly as this weekend's by Philadelphia, I not only pick through the problems with the team, I also have to ask myself what I'M doing wrong. I think one of the things that drew me to baseball as a kid was the luck rituals that both players and fans have -- I'm stupidly superstitious and a little obsessive compulsive, so it's a good fit. Yesterday, when things were going badly in the 5th, I started packing up some stuff around my apartment (we're moving back to Atlanta on Thursday). As I was packing up the area around my computer desk, I grabbed the little Frenchy action figure that I got at a game last year, and brought it into the living room to pack with the other stuff. Just before I put it in the box, I realized I'd lost the (for some reason removable) bat that he'd been holding.
While a sane person might experience annoyance at this development, I went right into mild panic -- what had I done, oh my God, now Frenchy wouldn't be able to hit until I found the bat, as if we didn't have enough problems! I tried to stay calm, laughed about it with my husband, though I don't know why I bothered to pretend in his presence, since he's well aware that I'm out of my mind when it comes to baseball. After thirty minutes of both of us crawling around on the floor looking for the damned thing, I finally found it and put it back in place in plastic Frenchy's hands, and when the Braves put together some runs in the 9th, of course I credited myself for finding the bat in time. But we lost anyway. Well, I did what I could.
I wonder if the players are this bad when they're having a winning or losing streak? I've heard that they are . . .
Last night on the plane to Milwaukee . . .
Heap: Man, what an awful series.
Frenchy: Yep. Your arch nemesis even hit his first homer. Ouch.
Heap: Dammit, Frenchy, get serious! We need to figure out what we're doing wrong. Things were going so well at the beginning of that homestand -- someone must have done something to jinx us after Smoltz got his 200th win.
Frenchy: Well, I haven't done anything. I'm still using my lucky shampoo, wearing my lucky socks and this lucky shirt.
Heap: Hey, that's my shirt!!
Frenchy: Yeah, I know -- my average has gone up like fifty points since I stole it from you in April! Thanks!
Heap: Hey, Andruw, have you changed anything since Thursday? What is that necklace you're wearing?
Andruw: Huh, this?
Heap: Yeah, did your kids make that for you or something?
Andruw: Hell no, I paid $20,000 for this!
Heap: Uhh . . .
Andruw: It's vintage couture, man. Very high quality. Hey, it's been good luck for me so far. I hit a homer and made that catch. Pretty good, right?
Heap: Yeah, fine. I guess it's not your necklace . . .
Heap: Hmmm, who else . . . hey, Scooter, did you change anything big during this homestand?
Scooter: Uhh, well, I got engaged.
Heap: That's it!!! No one else has made such a significant change -- Kelly, I think you cursed us.
Scooter: What?? I did not!
Heap: Sorry, man, but you're going to have to remain single. Take one for the team.
Scooter: No!! Listen, the night after I got engaged, Kyle had the best start of his life! We beat the Mets, remember?
Heap: Oh, yeah.
Heap: Hey, Kyle, this has got to have something to do with you.
Heap: You were so good on Tuesday, you even hit a homer! And against the Mets! What happened between then and your start today?
Davies: Don't look at me!
Heap: Have you gotten a hair cut or anything? Bought new shoes? Stopped shaving?? Started shaving?? It's got to have something to do with shaving, right, it usually does . . .
Davies: I haven't done anything differently!
Orr: /walks up
Orr: Evening, fellas!
Orr: /drops a duffel bag on the floor, hums to himself
Orr:/pulls out a canister of salt, pours it on Davies' head
Orr:/starts placing animal bones around Davies' seat
Heap: Uh . . .
Davies: Yeah, he keeps doing this. I complained to Bobby, but he says Peter Orr is an undervalued player who deserves my respect.
Orr:/pulls a chicken out of the bag
Orr:/pulls out a machete
Heap: Whoa, whoa, whoa!
Heap: What in the HELL are you doing!!?!?!?
Orr: What, this? This is a good luck ritual that Jorge Sosa and David Wright told me about! They said, look, I know we're supposed to be rivals and all, but we're all professionals here, and when Davies had such a great game against them, they said he seemed totally worthy of this secret good luck trick!
Heap: Oh my God.
Orr: Yeah, they are the NICEST guys! Now give me that chicken.