Have you ever just felt something in your gut? Something that you couldn’t explain… Something you wanted so badly to happen, you felt like you just had to open your mouth and say it, as if the words would some how have power in them to make your dreams come true. It is what the things of wishes are made of. It seems ridiculous, but it is no different than the days of playing Super Mario Brothers on the Nintendo Entertainment System and thrusting the controller upward ever so slightly (or drastically) when you were about to make a difficult jump… as if jumping the controller would somehow increase the likelihood that your jump would be successful… I digress…
It is in our DNA to want to be able to control uncontrollable forces. Call me crazy, but I think as a fan, we do this all the time. Even if it is under our breath, we will mutter something like “Come on, make that 3!” and then when it happens we are all like, “CALLED IT! I CALLED IT! WHO HEARD ME CALL THAT!” — no one..
Baseball prophecy seems like a given. The game is designed for the viewer to get entranced in the game. It is sooooooo slooooooow moving that it begs the crowd to get involved. Whether it be the wave. The Charge Call. The Atlanta Brave Chop. You name it, the crowd firmly believes that it has influence over the game. A collected 30,000 voices getting into the opposing players’ heads all at once… now that you mention it, that does sound pretty powerful.
But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about when you put yourself out there, in the most foolish of ways. Claiming something so preposterous that it would take Biblical proportions to come about. This is the kind of stuff that your friends sitting next to you pretend not to know you for. The stuff that fans from your own team laugh and mock you for. I did such a thing in 1995.
The cubs were coming to town, and I hate the cubs. One of the major reasons is because their fans are everywhere, and there has never been a game where I have gone to against the cubs where it didn’t feel like there were as many cubs fans in the audience as there were Redlegs fans. Frustrating. Anyway, as a bold 13 year old, I was about to say something so stupid, that it had to be from God. The reds were down 1-0, somewhere in the middle of the game. It was a freaking hot day, boring game so far, and i needed something to get the crowd around me fired up. I was sitting on the 3rd base line at Riverfront Stadium (cinergy field), with pitcher, John Smiley up to bat. I looked over at his career stats on the scoreboard, and like most pitchers, it was dismal. We had 2 outs. I stood up on my chair, and boldly let out one of the stupidest sentences to ever leave my lips – “John Smiley is going to hit a home run!” It was immediately met by a chorus of laughter by reds fans and cubs fans alike. Someone mocked me with a “yeah right kid!”… I just stood there. Silently. Waiting. The pitch was released…. CRACK! I think even Smiley was baffled. He had just hit his first major league career Home Run and the place went freakin’ nuts!
I felt this awkward sense of power. The block of fans around me were either stunned or had already forgotten my words, but at the end of the day, i honestly felt like John Smiley hit that home run just for me.
Prophecy or not, the power in the game belongs to the imagination of the fan. Rounding third and heading for home, this one belongs to the fans!