[EDITOR'S NOTE] Since I recently recovered some old posts from the former version of AN, I figured I would run some of the posts from the old site that spurred a lot of discussion. I imagine it's because many of you similar "issues." Here is the first in an occasional series.
I have problems. Issues, if you will. As the season creeps closer, they become more and more compulsive. Not Monkian proportions, but issues nonetheless.
I brought them up a couple of days ago. I promised I would get deeper into them, yet I'm not sure if you are ready to hear about them already. Regardless, I'm going to be brave and put myself out there for the world to judge. But before you do judge me, keep in mind what John Locke once wrote:
He that judges without informing himself to the utmost that he is capable, cannot acquit himself of judging amiss.
I'm sickeningly superstitious. Not with many things, mind you, but when it comes to the Oakland Athletics, I have an illness. You see, everything I do, or don't do, affects the A's. And I'm not talking about avoiding cracks, or washing my hands several thousand times, but what I do is almost worse. Almost. I haven't revealed this malady to many people, but here is a little example of my OCD when it comes to the A's.
When I drive in my car, I have a digital reader on my radio. In order for the A's to do well, that digital reader should consistently be on an A's players' number. The safe volume numbers consist of 3, 8, 10, 14, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22 and 24. Chavez, Crosby, Hatteberg, Ellis, Hudson, Grabowski, Mulder, Kotsay, Byrnes and Dye. Numbers 4, 5, 9 and 12, or Tejada, Durham, Saenz and Long, used to safe, but those players are gone. Poof, so are the numbers' magical powers.
Yes, I'm completely down with the sickness.
Another example is my ample time spent on the treadmill. No matter what, my minutes accumulated has to end on an A's number. This is where the higher numbers come into play. The 40, 44, 53, 73, 75 and formerly number 55 were all safe havens. Harden, Durazo, Bradford, Rincon, Zito and Ramon Hernandez. I wind up working out 75 minutes a lot since I'd love to see Barry captured his second Cy Young award.
I told you I have issues.
The reality is that this is an extremely egocentric way of viewing the world. You might be saying, dude, get a grip, like anything you do has an impact on the results of a baseball game. But you have to understand that I don't always think rationally when it comes to my team. One of the hardest undertakings for me is to inject rational thought when it comes to something I'm passionate about. I like to study stats, finding statistics that are relevant to my team and are interesting, but I'm first and foremost an Oakland Athletics' diehard fan. It's why I often bring up my green and gold colored glasses. Because I will make no bones about it, I love that Oaktown team and everything they stand for.
It's also why I think blogs will eventually become more popular than mass media. A lot of the media approaches elements of news with biases any way, so why not take it to the next level? I've heard bloggers refer to themselves as online commentators or columnists. I call myself an A's fan that happens to have commentary to share. No one who is a fan wants to always read an "objective" writer when it comes to something they love. I want someone to be able to feel the stinging pain of a ninth inning debacle with you, cough, cough Billy Koch. I don't want clinical examination of why my team lost or choked again. At least not right after the fact. The examination can come later. For now, I want someone who is seething with anger over the loss. I want someone to summarize how we all feel. It's also why I called this site Athletics Nation. We're all in this together.
Regardless of whether the superstitious practices are egocentric, it's a way for me to feel constantly connected to my favorite team in my favorite sport. It's a strange way of honoring the team. But I'll leave my psychological reasoning out of it. Dr. Phil, I am not.
I remember hearing an ad on the A's radio network last year for, I think Ford, but they talked about making sure you wear your lucky pants and shelled peanuts with only your left hand in order to raise a certain player's batting average. I always thought, right on, now there's a company that understands the fragile psyche of the fan. And don't kid yourself, we are fragile. It's why one day the A's win and Robert Buan is inundated with calls about how fantastic the green and gold is, and the next day Oakland loses, we're screaming bloody murder on that same show. We're fragile and fickle. And a lot of us like to think we have something to do with our boys' success. Reality tells us we don't, but we have enough reality on TV these days to last us several thousand lifetimes. I want to believe in the fantasy.
So this offseason, I've been hitting the treadmill, monitoring the volume in my car closely and waiting for the first pitch on April 5th. I can only wonder, have I done enough? Have we finally all done enough?
We'll find out soon enough.
So, revisiting 2004, apparently I didn't do enough. What kinds of superstitions do you have?