I never thought I’d have to give up on Game One of the ALCS before the 4th inning even started. I can only hope this was a little like Atlanta’s outburst in Game One of the 1996 World Series and the Sox right things tomorrow. I was contemplating the long-term effects of a Yankees loss, though, and am a little concerned. The two biggest names on the free agent list for this off season are Carlos Beltran and Carl Pavano. If the Yankees lose either this series or the World Series, I estimate there is a 99.9% chance the Yankees will sign both players (and jack up Pedro Martinez’s price so it ruins the Red Sox payroll as well). If they win another title, though, the odds drop to 99.5%. So should I want the Yanks to go ahead and win out to give the rest of baseball a glimmer of hope? Will even the most myopic of Yankees bandwagon fans jump ship in disgust over a $300 million payroll? For some reason, I doubt it. Just in case anyone accuses me of jumping on the anti-Yankees bandwagon, I’ve been hating them since 1977. This ain’t anything new. And in case you accuse me of jealousy, think again. Maybe it was jealousy in the era when the Royals had an equal or higher payroll than the Yanks. Now it’s pure hate; there’s nothing envious about it.
I used to really be into omens, mostly concerning up-coming basketball games, but I was never afraid to extend them into other sports. As an example, the first day of the 1993 NCAA tournament, it snowed in Lawrence, KS. I got very excited, because the last time it had snowed in the KC area on the first day of the tournament was 1988. KU did make the Final Four in ’93, but the karma didn’t translate into another title. So it really wasn’t an omen, but for three weeks I thought it was and told anyone within earshot about it.
Anyway, two potential baseball omens have been rattling around my head and I feel obligated to go on record with them. First off, our bird feeder has been host to even more cardinals than usual lately. A few days I’ve looked out and seen three cardinals on the feeder and several more in the trees and shrubs around it. Could this be a harbinger of more good news for fans of the St. Louis Baseball Club? The second omen is a little more universal. The Houston Astros finally winning a playoff series has to mean something to the Boston Red Sox. I just can’t figure out if it’s a sign that baseball history will shift this post-season, or if all the transforming karma has already been sucked out of the playoffs. It’s gotta mean something though, right?
Speaking of the Houston-Atlanta series, a couple thoughts. First, I loved seeing Carlos Beltran break out in the series. There are a lot of experts around the country who dismissed his talents just because he spent the first chunk of his career in KC. In the tradition of George Brett, it was wonderful to see a homegrown talent explode when the lights shine brightest. It’s just too bad he’s doing it for someone else. How many former Royals were on playoff rosters anyway? Beltran, Jeff Suppan, Johnny Damon, Paul Byrd, Brent Mayne to name just a few. Second, it’s not news, but Atlanta baseball fans suck. The team has been on one of the greatest runs in the history of the game and the upper deck was half full for game two. That might explain why the team always comes up short. They don’t know when to cheer, or what to cheer for, when they do show up. I think I have a solution: move the franchise to a new ballpark in Montreal. You don’t think fans there would support a team with this much talent and this good of a farm system? Atlanta would be freed from the burden of having to support the most successful franchise in the sport over the last 15 years. Everyone is happy. I solve problems; it’s just what I do.