About 12 hours ago the A’s lost their 8th straight game. I say 12 hours because the Twins scored 2 runs in the 1st inning, which pretty much sealed the fate of the Athletics today. Josh Willingham led the charge yet again, proving yet again why so many A’s fans wanted him to be signed long term. But this time I’m not going to dwell on the loss, we all know how the story goes, and it’s far too depressing for us to hear. What I’d like to discuss is what exactly we can do to help break this streak that has gone on far too long.
It’s no secret that superstitions are a major part of the game of baseball. Many players have the same pre game, in game, and post game routines that often involve eating the same foods, arranging their clothes in the same manner, and many other unique habits. When a pitcher has a no-hitter or a perfect game in progress, all of his teammates will keep doing whatever it is they have been doing, they don’t want to be the ones who break the balance of the dugout and disrupt what could be an historic game. In those very same situations, it is often believed that it is bad luck for an announcer to mention the fact that the pitcher hasn’t given up any hits, some abide by that rule, some don’t. Those who are smart do not provoke the baseball Gods, let history take its course and do not inject yourself into it.
The fans are much the same, many will tailgate in the same area of the parking lot, eat the same food, drive the exact same route to and from the game, for the idea of deviating from that routine could lead to bad luck on the field, and nobody wants that on their conscience. I know I’m one who is deathly afraid of doing anything to cause the baseball Gods to punish my team, and right now it seems as if all of us have angered them, and the A’s are suffering because of it.
I have a few distinct superstitions that I make sure to hold myself to, no matter how irrational they seem, I can’t help myself. The biggest, and I believe to be the most powerful superstition is my hat selection for the day. I almost always wear a hat at my day job working in a local coffee shop, customers often comment on how may different caps I have in my collection but little do they know there’s a method to the madness. It’s pretty simple, if the A’s win I will wear that same exact hat every day until they lose. This includes off days as well, and it doesn’t matter whether I’m working that day or not. I have managed to convince myself that this plays a role in the success or lack thereof the A’s have. It makes no sense, but I’m very strict about it during the season. I even have some hats that seem to be solid go-to hats during tough times (I’ve tried them, no such luck during this streak).
It doesn’t stop with the hat selection for the day though either. I’ll admit that I’m not much of a hockey fan, but one thing they have adopted in their sport that I’ve taken a liking to the notion of the playoff beard. Now before you all freak out and proclaim me a closet Giants fan for mentioning the “b-word” I don’t mean like the monstrosities that adorn the face of Brian Wilson or what did cover Sergio Romo’s mug. I like to call it a little winning streak stubble. If anyone sees me with what appears to be a few days growth on my face, there’s a good chance the A’s are on a hot streak. Once they lose, I’ll immediately shave, but not a moment sooner.
When it comes to attending games at the O.co, I have my routines as well. If I’m on a personal winning streak, I will wear the same hat, shirt, shoes, and perhaps underwear (don’t worry, I wash everything no matter what) to every game I attend. If they lose, it all changes for the next game. My wife and I will often have a specific song that has to be played as we pull into the parking lot at the Coliseum, that can vary greatly, but it’s essential.
Those are just a few examples of some of the aspects of my life that maybe are homages to the baseball Gods, they work sometimes, and other times they fail miserably. So while the A’s are on this losing streak, what can we do to make it stop? Perhaps you can eat something for lunch you’ve never eaten before, or drive an alternate way to work. Maybe you can sit in a different spot on your couch from your normal place to relax. Haven’t cleaned your car in a while? Maybe it’s time to remove those random items sitting in the back seat that may be offending the Gods. The list of possibilities is unending, but it is essential that we all change something to upend the course of this season. I know there’s very little chance the A’s will be able to dig out of this hole, but there is no chance if we let them continue burying themselves. This slide has turned the A’s into a last place team (by percentage points), that is the last thing I want to see. Now it’s time to get to work, and pull this team out of the cellar.