brewers baseball and things

living in the space age


“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.”


Author: Steve Myers

I grew up in Milwaukee and have been a Milwaukee Brewers baseball fan for as long as I can remember.

10 thoughts on “living in the space age

  1. I don’t drink Windex anymore. I’m on the wagon.

    I switched to Formula 409.

    It’s DIONNE Warwick, by the way (one of my favorite all-time popular singers), and ANOTHER great article by you. (You must get tired of hearing this.)

    Dionne Warwick, the Sublime—-

    Dionne Warwick, the Insane—-


  2. I’m thinking there is a triple-high biorhythm thing going on here someplace…

  3. Your mention of Steve Blass got me to remembering that he was born in my home-state of Connecticut, so I looked up his stats on Turns out he was born in Canaan, CT. I know where that is. So far so good. But its also says he went to Housatonic High School in Housatonic, CT. Now, I lived in CT until I was 23, and it’s not that big a state, but I’d never heard of Housatonic, CT. I did go to Housatonic Community College briefly in Bridgeport, CT, and there’s a Housatonic River in CT, but no actual high school or town by that name.

    So I Googled it, and sure enough, no high school or town of Housatonic. Which means either that Baseball-Reference somehow got its facts wrong, or Steve Blass never actually existed, except as a government, LSD-mind control experiment conducted on the entire US. baseball-loving population. Do they really expect us to believe that a pitcher once went 19-8 with a 2.45 ERA, then suddenly devolved overnight into a 3-9, 9.85 ERA
    pitcher? I’m not buying it. And why is there a purple leopard dancing on your forehead?

    O.K. To be honest, there is a Housatonic Valley Regional High School, in Falls Village, CT, which I’m assuming is the actual place Blass went to high school. Pretty wealthy area, not far from the New York State border. Blass, of course, did go on to do color commentary for the Pirates.

    I’ll shut up now.

    • That Roger Angel article on Steve Blass…”Down the Drain” is still a great one to read over again. It’s from the mid 1970’s also part of one of his companion books, maybe Five Seasons? Angel forgot the Lsd government controlled experiment theory and so did Blass. It mighta done him some good.

  4. This is a great piece and obviously near and dear to my heart…

  5. Just saw this today. If this doesn’t make you pull for the ‘Crew, then I don’t know what will!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s