Earlier this week the Arizona Cardinals and the Arizona Diamondbacks announced that the Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was named an honorary captain to the Cardinals and would appear on field during the coin toss before the regular season finale against the Seattle Seahawks. This news of course was met with great jubilation. There’s nothing better than seeing “America’s First Baseman” recognized no matter what the event.
This isn’t the first time that local teams capitalize on the names and successes of players from other sports. Every season the Diamondbacks bring in representative players from the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Coyotes, or Arizona Cardinals to throw out a ceremonial first pitch before a game. This is the sports equivalent of “the crossover”.
It seems like right around sweeps week our favorite television shows cross boundaries with characters from one series showing up on another series. For the most part it works, viewership increases if for no other reason than the curiosity of how the writers will intertwine the to universes together to make sense out of why this character suddenly appears.
In terms of Paul Goldschmidt, this is huge. It would be like Jennifer Aniston’s character Rachel from Friends suddenly appearing in an episode of Seinfeld dating Kramer. I mean who wouldn’t want to see that? But if we look deep within ourselves the question unanswered is, why would that happen and really is it in the best interests of the characters or the series? From a perspective of the local sports you also have to look at the potential catastrophe that could result from these two worlds intersecting.
Don’t get me wrong; I am a big fan of Goldschmidt. He is the most humble and down to earth person you will ever meet. And he seems to be willing to do anything for the local fan base regardless of how uncomfortable he might look doing it. Despite the goodwill and great press opportunity there may be ramifications that we don’t fully understand.
Now let me start with the axiom that players, coaches, and fans are all just a bit superstitious when it comes to their teams. I’ll be the first to admit that when the Diamondbacks go on either an extended winning or losing streak I will do whatever I can to help the team whether that means not shaving during a winning streak, wearing my lucky jersey every day during a hitting streak or sacrificing a Greg Schulte bobble head when a losing streak goes more than 3 games. It’s what we do to appease the sports Gods into shining brightly on our favorite franchise to bring us to the post season promised land.
The Cardinals have been playing very well this season having won 9 games in a row and finishing the season with a franchise best record going into its final game. This doesn’t seem like the best time to start messing with things. I’m not proposing that Goldschmidt might be a jinx, I’m simply suggesting that when you are in a small boat on a big ocean standing up and dancing around the rowboat when there are storm clouds on the horizon might not be the smartest idea you’ve ever had.
Goldschmidt was brought out onto the field before the game to a huge ovation. He stood there somewhat uncomfortably at midfield trying hard not to get in the way of anything. The official flipped the coin and when it hit the turf Seattle had won the toss. I know what you’re thinking, it’s just a coin toss and the Cardinals have been playing so well that it really doesn’t matter.
From that moment on, the game took a hideous turn with the Cardinals getting beaten every way possible in route to the worst loss in the Bruce Arians era. It was ugly my friends. It was take your sister to the prom and then finding out your prom picture will appear on the cover of your yearbook ugly; the kind of ugly that takes years of therapy and crying in the fetal position to overcome.
I know what you are thinking; surely I cannot be suggesting that the loss by the Cardinals was the result of Paul Goldschmidt being the honorary captain. I will refrain from my usual retort asking you not to call me Shirley and offer up additional data to let you reach your own conclusion.
The Cardinals game was not the first time Goldschmidt had been named honorary captain or took part in some sort of ceremonial duty before a game. On December 14, 2013 the Phoenix Coyotes bestowed a similar honor on Goldy inviting him to drop the first puck at center ice before a game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Goldschmidt graciously accepted and made his way carefully out to the center of the ice to pose for pictures and completing his honorary duties. The Coyotes had started that season 9-0-1 and looked to be a force to be reckoned with that year. After the first puck drop the home team went up 1-0 in the first period. To that point Phoenix had been 10-0-0 in games where they led after the first period. The Hurricanes came into the game with a 3-game losing streak. Carolina would go on to score three unanswered goals and the Coyotes were defeated 3-1. Phoenix would finish the season 37-30 missing the playoffs that year.
So now Goldschmidt is 0-2 as an honorary captain. It may be time to start rounding up a live chicken and get a new bottle of tequila of Jobu just to be on the safe side.