On Friday, I wrote about rain delays and rain outs.
Two days later, what are the chances?
Maybe I jinxed today’s game …
… Because it was pouring rain by the time we got to Richmond.
Superstitions and jinxes like this run deep in baseball.
In the early years of baseball, players would bury all sorts of lucky charms – especially rabbits’ feet – under home plate and all over the outfield.
“[T]he first shovelful taken from beneath the home plate at the Polo Grounds and jostled timidly might shake out a collection of rabbits’ feet and other luck tokens in a manner not unlike a farmhand pictured when in the act of digging potatoes,” The New York Telegraph reported back in 1910.
For those of you in need of some good luck, the old ballplayers explained that a rabbit’s foot is only lucky if it is from a rabbit trapped at midnight, on a clear night, coming from a cemetery. (I apologize that I’m not sure from their 1910 instructions if you need to be coming from the cemetery or if it’s the bunny that needs to come from the cemetery. So you might have to experiment. In any event, this entire thing is not lucky at all for rabbits, so I don’t recommend it.)
Pete Browning, known as the “Gladiator,” was one of the greatest hitters of the 19th century with a lifetime .341 average.
He fussed about his bats, named each one, and kept careful track of the “active” ones, as he was sure each bat held only a finite number of hits. (This isn’t all that strange. Lots of players are just as fussy and weird about their bats today.)
But, Browning also had a superstition about rainy days.
Browning “used systems to keep his ‘lampteenies,’ as he called his eyes, clear … such as washing his eyes with rain water that was falling. Every time it rained in Louisville in those days the Old Gladiator stood with upturned face and let the rain wash his eyes out and the next day he got ‘bingles.’” – The Baltimore Sun, July 8, 1906
So, a good day for Browning, but not a good day for today’s Flying Squirrels game versus the Hartford Yard Goats in Richmond.
Only one Flying Squirrel to be seen today. (Maybe he came out to wash his eyes with rainwater.)
Not a good day for driving nearly four hours, round trip, to a game that didn’t happen.
We weren’t the only ones hoping for a game.
So, no baseball for us. But, as a consolation, there was vegetarian pho for lunch.
And, it was delicious.
(P.S. The University of Virginia completed a three-game weekend sweep at Pittsburgh this afternoon. Luckily, not all baseball was rain-jinxed today.)
Photos: Hartford Yard Goats at Richmond Flying Squirrels, non-game. May 1, 2016. The Diamond, Richmond. © The Baseball Bloggess