Many years ago, I had a neighbor who was an elderly widow. One morning she went outside and discovered that someone — we never found out who – had deposited a healthy, little puppy in her front yard. It was clearly not an accident. We decided that someone knew how lonely our neighbor was and decided she needed a companion. She named her puppy Lucky. And, yeh, he was a pretty lucky pup. He was lucky our neighbor was up to a task she didn’t ask for. She kept good care of her pup, although a bit of housetraining would have been a nice touch.
So, let’s talk about luck.
Because the notion of luck often rankles me.
Has anyone ever told you that your success or the fruits of your efforts were lucky? Someone once told me, quite kindly, that I was very lucky that my massage therapy practice was doing well during such tough economic times.
Luck? That’s it? I’m just lucky? OK, maybe. But, maybe, just maybe — and I’m going out on a limb here — but maybe, my clients have found some value in my work. Maybe I’m good at my job. I know they didn’t mean anything rude by it. And, yes, I do believe that random things happen that influence one’s success or failure. Right time, right place. That can lead to a bit of good luck. But, to suggest that someone’s good fortune is pure luck … well, that’s just unfair.
And, you know what? Maybe, just maybe, the Baltimore Orioles are more than lucky, too. Maybe, they’re a good baseball team.
I am so tired of the so-called baseball experts who have decided that since the Orioles’ success this year doesn’t fit into their neat little mold of what makes a team good … that the statistics show that the Orioles should be no better than average … that there’s no way they could possibly be in a pennant race in September … then, surely, the only answer is that they have been lucky.
This has gone on all season. The chatter started already in April. They couldn’t explain why the Orioles were winning. That’s because there’s no easy way to chart intangibles – like team dynamics, players improving over previous seasons, or the zen-like influence of a manager like the Orioles’ Buck Showalter. And, without the intangibles, yeh, sure, the Orioles sort of looked beatable on paper. So, without bothering to think through the intangibles, a lot of sports talkers – ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and, just yesterday, National Public Radio among them – decided the Orioles had to be simply lucky.
I say, they’re wrong. Baseball statisticians haven’t found a way to quantify intangibles. But, that doesn’t mean those intangibles don’t exist.
If luck drove sports, then wouldn’t every team hover around .500? A little good luck. A little bad luck.
Or, how about this — maybe everything is luck. If the Orioles win a game, are they lucky? Sure. They’re lucky it didn’t rain and stop the game. They’re lucky that their winning pitcher didn’t fall down the dugout steps and dislocate his shoulder before the game. They’re lucky that the losing team scored fewer runs.
Every team has their good luck. And, their bad luck.
But, luck doesn’t exist in a vacuum. What those “experts” call luck, I call a good mixture of talent, heart, skills, and smarts. The Intangibles (which, by the way, would be a terrific title for an action movie).
In the case of the Orioles game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night, I guess you could say the O’s are lucky that their superstar rookie is Manny Machado and not Bryce Harper.
And, here’s just one reason why. Enjoy one of the most beautiful, exciting, and head’s up defensive plays of the year, courtesy of a 20-year-old rookie. Did he just get lucky? You decide.
Click here to watch.
Oh, and the Orioles won again today. (yippee!) Wrapping up a three-game sweep of the surging Tampa Bay Rays. So, I guess all that luck of theirs hasn’t run out yet.