Draw the curtains
Let’s face it, baseball is based on superstitions. Players will do anything to keep the good times rolling, from wearing their underwear backward on game days to eating the same pregame meal to not changing their socks during a hitting streak.
Some players think that the day they show up a pitcher by standing at home plate watching a home run is the day they’ll break their leg sliding into second. Don’t mess with the baseball gods, one veteran player told me long ago.
Remember Jose Lima‘s antics on the mound during his 21-win season in 1999? He sang, he danced, he celebrated a strikeout with the electric slide. The next year, he couldn’t get anyone out. At all. In 2001, he was traded to Detroit, home of the furthest fences in the bigs. Couldn’t get anyone out there, either.
Why? As the veteran said, maybe it was the baseball gods. Show up the other team, lose the strikezone. Forever.
So why in the world are players taking curtain calls?
Reggie Sanders hit a two-run homer in Game 1 of the NLCS and popped out of the dugout for a curtain call. IT WAS THE FIRST INNING! Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s become somewhat of a harmless Cardinals tradition, and I can appreciate that. But in a 2-0 game, with eight innings to play? Come on.
Lance Berkman pops a three-run homer in the seventh inning of Game 5, and soon he pops out of the dugout for a curtain call. An hour later, Albert Pujols jacked a three-run shot of his own to win the game. Yikes.
And how about Sanders? In Game 2, he nearly broke his neck trying to make a heroic catch in left field. He had to leave the game, couldn’t play the next day, and since then, he’s had one hit.
Baseball gods? Maybe it’s a stretch. But players need to play it safe. Save the curtain calls for after the game, if your team wins. — Alyson Footer / MLB.com