Paraskevidekatriaphobia, even the word sends chills down my spine. When the baseball schedule is released every year I go through it with a fine tooth comb looking at potential match-ups, length of home stands, comparing gameday giveaways, and in general planning out my summer. After the first five or six reviews of the schedule I finally get down to marking out the calendar so that Trina and the kids know when I will be at home and when I will be at HOME (Chase Field). It was during this last review that I suddenly realized that the Arizona Diamondbacks would be playing on April 13 which is a Friday. Friday the thirteenth? Was this some kind of joke? Who in their right minds would schedule a baseball team to play on one of the most unlucky days of the year? This had to be some kind of mistake didn’t it? This is the kind of thing that can cause you to lose an entire season. What was even more inexplicable was the fact that the Diamondbacks would have an off-day on Thursday April 12 as did their Friday opponent the Colorado Rockies. Why in the world didn’t the scheduling geniuses at Major League Baseball just move the game ahead one day to the twelfth and then give the team the day off today eliminating any potentially devastating disasters? I guess for the same reason that they scheduled home games in the middle of winter storms in Chicago, Cleveland, and New York.
Many people scoff at the idea of luck or superstition but I am not one of them. Over the years as a player, coach, and fan I have become indoctrinated with the idea that luck plays a huge part in your success. I have no other explanation as to why some things happen. You unbelievers will immediately state that it is not luck but putting yourself in a situation where you can be successful. Yes that does have something to do with it as does the long hours and dedication to perfecting your craft. That is all part of preparation that each of us goes through every day. But once a game begins, that preparation cannot explain the outcomes that we see. How do you explain the fact that a pitcher will go through the same routine every time out yet one day he will allow 6 baserunners and the next time he throws a no hitter? The skill, talent and preparation is exactly the same between these two starts yet with one he is vulnerable and the other invincible. The difference is luck. If luck does exist, is it possible to sway its outcome to be positive versus negative?
In 1993 the British Medical Journal published a paper entitled “Is Friday the 13th Bad for your Health?” In this article the authors compared the ratio of traffic volume to the number of car accidents over two different days. They selected Friday the 6th and Friday the 13th to see if there is any difference. The results showed that the number of recorded accidents were significantly higher on Friday the 13th than on Friday the 6th. Their conclusion was that Friday the 13th is unlucky for some people. So you have to wonder, why would baseball thumb its nose at science? First they bought into the whole global warming propaganda machine and scheduled games in Cleveland only to see them snowed out on 3 consecutive days. Now they ignore the idea of luck and schedule games on Friday the 13th. I’m telling you they are playing with fire on this one. I am guessing there will be widespread problems in the stadiums. Ticket machines will inexplicably malfunction, hot dogs will be burned, there will be disagreements in the stands, and umpires will miss calls. In general, chaos will ensue and all over the country fans will complain that their team was robbed of a call and a potential victory.
But as long as baseball is choosing to ignore common sense, perhaps they should just go all the way. On Sunday April 15 they are commemorating the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. They are allowing players to wear Jackie’s #42 on their jersey. Perhaps they should do the same today and have all of the players wear #13 just to show that they are not afraid. MLB should also require all the teams to wear alternate black jerseys to show that their journey to the dark side is complete. We can get Elvira Mistress of the Dark to throw out the first pitch and we can release a herd of black cats in the outfield. Teams can set up ladders at the gates and require all patrons who enter the stadium to walk under them to get in. For kids 12 and under teams should give little umpire voodoo dolls and a series of pins for them to stick into the dolls whenever the umpire makes a bad call. For adults the giveaway will be white hockey masks and for 5 lucky fans they get a chance to win a chain saw in the 6th inning. Each team will get 6 strikes, 6 balls, and 6 outs per inning. In the seventh inning instead of playing Take Me Out to the Ballpark they will play the theme song to Friday the 13th and alternate pictures of Freddy Krueger and Derek Jeter on the JumboTron (Jeter was selected since he is the son of Satan). Games will be called after 13 innings regardless of the score (unless it is tied 6-6-6 at which point the teams will play sudden death). Yeah this is just a really bad idea to have a game this day. No good can possibly come from baseball on Friday the 13th.