“It was written in the stars” is not the most well received interpretation of how players like David Freese or Scott Brosius win World Series MVP trophies and yet, the word “destiny” creeps out of mouths during post game interviews. Maybe it’s the champagne or Fox television lights. Or maybe it’s their way of worshiping the unknown.
Baseball astrologer Andrea Mallis missed out on predicting the Oakland A’s 20 game winning streak during the 2002 season and she was right there; living in Oakland tuned to the team with fanatical interest. Mallis used to be the official astrologer on the Oakland A’s 10th inning post game radio show. Maybe she still is.
I listened in a few years ago and discovered more than a charlatan offering dream doll predictions. She sounded like a scientist or come to think of it, a sabermetrician with her reams of data to predict the future.
She compares the alignment of planets and moon at a player’s birth to a constantly shifting sky. Performance cycles, susceptibility to injury, low self-esteem periods. Mallis is a forecaster.
Maybe Steve Blass should have consulted with Diane Warwick in the early 1970’s to learn of his impending wild syndrome. Maybe he would have accepted the fate and turned off his mind, carried on like a turtle for a short while, ever so slowly. And the wildness would pass with planetary shufflings? Maybe we think ourselves into greater troubles and astrology is a mirror, confirming the mood. It provides no answers, just some misery loves company.
Why not. The planets dance and their movements affect terrestrial events. Ok. That sounds like a science or parallel universe thingamadjegee. I can dig it. After all, isn’t sabermetrics a science too? Studying patterns in a player’s previous activity, translating that action into numbers and stuffing them into equations to predict probabilities of future events with short sample sizes tossed from the space ship window?
In fairness to Mrs. Mallis, no one predicts a team reeling off 20 wins in a row, not even an imaginary someone prone to drinking Windex for enhanced clairvoyance. They too would suffer from inevitable spasms when game 20 of the A’s streak out impossibled the previous 19.
The A’s were leading the Colorado Rockies 11-0 when great gooogaleeemoooogleee the Rockies crawled back into the game and tied the score 11-11 in the top of the ninth inning. Scott Hatteberg’s walk off home run in the bottom half gave the A’s the third longest winning streak in the 20th century.
It’s enough of a challenge to forecast individual performance let alone mixing an entire team’s planetary positioning and comparing it to the opposition. But sabermetricians play a similar game and their number crunching habits have seeped into most front office coffee clutches.
Baseball exists in between the ticking of a clock; almost in a fourth dimension. It’s where chance and probability make great partners for flirting. But then again so does beer, a lazy boy and being a bird watcher without all the “figuring it out” or trying to anyway.
The tail end of this Hatteberg A’s highlight includes the announcer sounding out the most delicious of all unknowns..”they are not from this planet right now.”