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
…Then, there is the annoying business of trying to guess when, and if, the game is going to be called, and for how long, if you’re not at the park yet.
You went into that, in exhaustive detail (I was exhausted, anyway) in your last missive, but here’s a slightly different wrinkle.
Second game of the Giants home series against the Dodgers, and the clouds gather. 90% chance of rain, but my son, bless him, has tickets. Two hours before game time, I’m reading every weather forecast site I can find, trying to find one that did not spell “rainout”. Finally, I conceded defeat. The radar picture showed vast amounts of heavy rain, to the West of San Francisco. No question about it. Storm cells. Bad news. Called my son, gave him the news, which he already knew, but he and his buddy decided to go, anyway.
Two hours later, after a 45 minute delay, the skies miraculously cleared, and the game was on, played uninterrupted by any further rain. WT (you should pardon the expression) F?
THEN, I realized that I had not read the wind direction! Here, on the Left Edge, the wind is always from the West- but not this time! The storm cell I believed was coming in was blowing out to sea! Merde! Missed a great game, although the Gints lost to Kershaw, but nothing can be done about that.
In any case, my point is that it doesn’t matter how good your technology is, if you don’t read the leaves right. Live and learn.
Hi John, A delicious lunch at a stumbled-upon Vietnamese restaurant … not baseball, true, but not a bad consolation prize!
Oh the catastrophe! Better get the good ju-ju going – high socks, short pants, backwards hat, plenty of gum or tobacky ( your choice), penny in the shoe and rabbit’s foot on a chain! ( I know this because I am sending lots of rain or snow – about 6 days worth)
PS I am waving and dangling my fingers out and sending good vibes!
The game was rescheduled for late August. I was looking forward to seeing the Hartford Yard Goats — your Rockies’ AA club. Ahh well. It sure made me laugh when they called the game, though. :)
Tv crew talked about the canceled game and laughing about names for minor league teams! Rockies took the AZ series, in AZ…this is goodness!
Lots of sun in Oakland today, but not enough hits or runs. 2-1 Astros.
Sunshine and baseball wins every time. (But, I gotta say, vegetarian pho — and coconut bubble tea — was a not-bad consolation for a gloomy, chilly, rainy day and a long drive to no-baseball.)
I haven’t had pho in forever. Now I want some…
Yeh, I’m a big pho fan and hadn’t had it in forever either. There are no Vietnamese restaurants close by us, so stumbling upon this place in the rain in Richmond was a great treat. Plus, they were willing to make a vegetarian pho for me, which some pho places won’t do, so that was a win. So was the coconut bubble tea.
That pho looks AWESOME. That was a great consolation prize for a rained-out day!!!
It was awesome … and the perfect thing on a cold, wet, and dreary day!
Awww, that sucks your game was rained out! I know how frustrating that can be, especially when you have to make a long trip to see it.
The Flying Squirrels and Yard Goats, though… This is one reason I love Minor League baseball!
And props from mentioning a players from Louisville. Many fan don’t know the rich baseball history this town has!
Thanks, Mike … but I got lunch, so there is that! I hadn’t thought about Louisville being unknown to baseball fans … but I think you’re right. Even with the Louisville Slugger bats, you’d think people would make the connection. I saw a story in SI that noted that Louisville was one of the largest US cities without any major league team. Maybe things will change once you get settled there!
Pete Browning was one of those players who was an awful person, pretty quirky, but a great player. I’m glad I found that little nugget about his superstitions … it was a perfect fit for this post, I think. :)