Category Archives: Blog

Stop Jinxing my Jinx

There is a growing trend in the sports viewing public that has risen to an unacceptable level. It is destroying an integral aspect of being a fan and has growing support from the media. It is swallowing the events about which it is referring, and it is becoming the story rather than enhancing it.

The jinx.

A no-hitter was just completed. No matter how often this is witnessed, it is always exciting. It’s thrilling to watch. It’s nerve-wracking to follow. It’s a great moment that creates memories.

The game ended with a groundout to second base, and the pitcher had etched his name in the history books (in this specific example, for the second time). The MLB At-Bat application, in a complete stroke of catering to its diehard audience, sent multiple push notifications indicating that this event was occurring. As an added bonus, a “Live Look-in” was also offered. For free.

This is what makes sports so beautiful. It’s not just the championships or highlight reel plays. It’s the moments. The moments that come at any time without reason or foreshadowing. One minute, a pitcher appears to have lost one of the potentially great careers of his generation, the next, he is three outs away from throwing his second no-hitter in less than one calendar year. MLB recognized this and offered a piece of history to its fans.

One of MLB’s future diehards, my almost two-year old daughter, sat in her highchair awaiting dinner. In a move of admittedly bad parenting, I put the ninth inning of the game on my phone and slid over towards her. I explained to her, in very careful phrasing, that “this was a rare moment” and, most importantly, “something big was happening”.

Within seconds of the completion of the game, I went on Twitter to share my excitement for witnessing this pitcher’s accolade. Immediately, the wind was drawn from my sails and the excitement of the moment vanished.

“See? We didn’t jinx the no-hitter!”

“The announcers mentioned the no-hitter and it wasn’t jinxed!”

“JINX! JINX! JINX!”

Maybe the last one was a little exaggerated, but the tone and theme of the social media was evident. Except, it wasn’t necessarily the social media.

I am not a big proponent of bashing the sports media. In fact, I was part of it for a brief time. I admire those who do the work I do not and I see the power of their words. But that is why their reaction is so disheartening.

Probably because of the voice that social media gives to its fans, the collective masses speak loudest when in unison. Over the past year, it has been extremely obvious that the fans have spoken out against announcers mentioning a “no-hitter” or “perfect game” in the midst of one. But the issue does not lie with the fans taking exception to this. Instead, it falls squarely on those who attempt to counter it.

Announcers and analysts now openly complain about how upset the fans get regarding their mention of a no-hitter. They vehemently argue that, not only is there no such thing as a jinx, but that they are not responsible for it. This outright dismissal of something that so harmless and innate to being a fan is infuriating and disheartening. Who is anybody to tell me how to be a fan?

It’s fun. Sports can be deduced to merely those two words. It’s fun. Fun to play. Fun to watch. Fun to analyze. It brings out the kid inside all of us. It brings out the kid that believes that we, the unlucky millions who did not strike the genetic lottery, actually have some impact on what we are watching.

I am awed by some of the athleticism I witness. This is because I cannot replicate it myself. But awe will only take me so far. What keeps me invested is the storylines, the unforeseen events, and, most importantly, the interaction.

I move my seat if my team is losing. I keep my hand still if they are winning. I do not mention the words “no-hitter” when relaying the message to my daughter. I do these things because it enhances my experience. And that’s why we watch sports. The fact that my beliefs have now become the story is another sad indication that the way watch sports is ever-changing.

Why does it have to be this way? Fans complain, all the time, about something. Why is the jinx what sets off the sports media? Maybe it is no more than insecurity. Maybe those people who are so quick to point out a “fake jinx” are secretly relieved that they have the ammo. If so, my belief in jinxes has obviously affected something.

For all the aspects of sports upon which I have an opinion, I rarely find something as simple as a jinx so divisive. It is harmless, in every way (at least, no less harmless than most of what drives fans to call into a radio show). It is no more than a series of beliefs that I hold. You don’t have to agree. I didn’t ask you to suddenly take my side. I only ask that you don’t try to convert me, as well.

I am not a professional athlete, coach, or owner. I can’t influence the game I love in any quantifiable way.

I am but a mere fan and I can think that I am part of a greater whole. Why can’t that count for something?

Oscar Taveras’ Promotion is for the Fans

Oscar Taveras is getting called up to the Major Leagues. For those of us who have followed the top prospects in baseball since last season, this arrival is long-awaited and thoroughly satisfying.

For starters, the estimated time of arrival was always around the first week of June. This was no secret, as that is when the Super Two cutoff (a rule set in place to give teams an extra year of arbitration control over a player) occurs. This, and many other “Team-Protecting” rules are at the large detriment to the game and its fans, but it is a necessary evil. Again, regardless of how anyone feels about the impact of service time and eligibility, it is real and it is known.

Now, it is June.

Technically, it’s May 31st. But let’s consider this an early present a few hours before the big day. Baseball just became the family that opens their gifts on Christmas Eve.

Taveras won’t be the only big name to get the call in the coming days, as Pirates’ top prospect Gregory Polanco has been murdering minor league pitchers since April. Again, in similar fashion to how teams attempt to cover up their use of the Super Two deadline, the Pirates tried to tell us Polanco wasn’t ready. So did the Astros with George Springer.

To everyone’s pleasant surprise, Houston felt it had to made the proactive move of calling up Springer in April and forgo waiting for the Super Two deadline to pass. For a few weeks, they were almost proven right about Springer’s development needs. Fast forward to May (still before he was expected to reach the Show) and he is the hottest hitter in baseball.

Regardless of past success and comparables, the story today is about Oscar Taveras, a prospect so highly regarded that there were even talks last season about his possible appearance in St. Louis.

One more year of development brought one more year of hype. But the wait is finally over. Whatever comes next, it starts as the wave of prospects get begin to roll into the Majors. As the calendar is about to turn and as both metaphorical pitchers are warm and settled in, the real show will now get underway.

It’s a great time to be a baseball fan.

Mario’s 28th Birthday Goals

I have been listening to live radio less and less over the past few months. Normally, my car rides consist of music, fantasy baseball podcasts, and the occasional chapter of a book on tape (CD). 
 
The other day, I happened to hear a segment from Z100 about one of the girls turning 25, and looking back on what she expected to feel and change about herself one year later. I thought the concept was great, and it must have been a really nice experience to get to share that publicly, especially because she accomplished most of what she wanted to.
 
With today being my 28th birthday, I have been thinking about what I would like to do in the next year. I will try to avoid being vague with things like, “Spend more time with my family,” as I want tasks that can be quantified. Some are things that I absolutely cannot miss, and some are extremely unlikely. Either way, I am proud of what I have done in the past year, and I hope that this post becomes a checklist filled out by the next April 24th.
 
Must-Do’s
 
1. Share more of my writing. I write every day. Most of it is personal (most of it is nonsense, really). I know when something is good, so I share it. At this point, it doesn’t bother me if someone reads it or not, but it does bother me if it comes off as self-serving or extremely negative. I don’t like portraying myself in any extreme, but I fear that I can’t avoid it with how I spill my guts onto the screen. Either way, I want to share more of it. I have ways, and I plan on exercising them.
 
2. Start my second company. Somewhat tied into the first goal, I have something on which I have been working for over a year. It will be complete and spark the start of a new company before my next birthday. This will happen. Side note: my first company will still be active, as I am deep into a project with it anyway.
 
3. Post a video of me playing a song. I can’t sing, but I can play piano and guitar pretty well. I have practiced the same songs on both instruments for years now, and, besides my terrible voice, there is no reason why I shouldn’t share one of them. I was going to put this in the “Would Like To-Do” category, but I want to force myself into this.
 
4. Write a song. This will absolutely not be posted, as it is nearly impossible to share an original song without singing it. But it will happen. I can write and play instruments. I finally “get” guitar and piano. The chords and progressions make sense. I just need to put it all together.
 
5. Explore every opportunity. This was actually my “New Year’s Resolution”. So far, it has failed. I get crazy ideas almost every day. My goal was (is) to explore every one of them. To check the viability. To see what it takes to get it done. To see if it is worth my time. I need to find an efficient way to do this, but whatever it is, I should not let something enter my mind without spending a few minutes to look into it.
 
Would Like To-Do’s
 
6. Get 1,000 Twitter followers. This one is unlikely, as it is largely out of my control (and should probably be in the next category), but it is something I would like to happen. Basically, I don’t want to go around following people in hopes to get a follower in return. I want to do something – anything – that warrants me being worthy of a follow. I’m hoping that one of the four goals in the first section could be the catalyst for this. That way, I will know that it was truly accomplished.
 
Unlikely But Worth Trying
 
7. Learn to sing. Not only do I not know how to sing, I don’t even know how to learn. I know it can be taught, to an extent, but I am beyond terrible. If I reached the level of “dying cat”, it would be a huge accomplishment. Hayley has a better chance of throwing a fastball past a Major League hitter, right now, than I have of becoming decent at singing.
 
In the next year, I will do the first five items on this list, and I will try the last two to the best of my availability. Next year, I will have the opportunity to reflect on this an add to it. I already have the desire to piggyback on most of these, but I can’t move on until I’ve moved forward. Goals need movement to be in motion.
 
Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes and support!