On World Series Baseball And Lucky Suspenders
Believe it or not.
When the 7th inning of Wednesday night's winner-take-all World Series game rolled around, I decided it was time. So I strapped myself into my lucky Washington Nationals suspenders, slapped my Curly W hat on my head and was rewarded with ONE. MORE. COMEBACK.
Moments after I put on my Nats gear, I stood in front of the TV and watched Anthony Rendon and Howie Kendrick hit their home runs in a game that had - up to then - been dominated by Houston Astros pitcher Zack Greinke.
Greinke was, as baseball announcers like to say, "locked in." Through six innings, he dominated Washington batters, and he did it with an ease that was frightening.
But then I put on my suspenders and my hat.
Rendon provided the offensive spark the Nationals needed, hitting a solo homer into left field off Greinke, who then walked Juan Soto on five pitches and was promptly pulled from the game, a managerial move that seems likely to be debated this winter. That's because Kendrick then hit his 2-run homer off reliever Will Harris, handing the lead to the Nats and paving the way to Washington, D.C.'s first World Series crown in 95 years.
If you give credence to the idea that inanimate objects like suspenders and a hat can somehow bestow luck, then my decision to gear up at the beginning of the seventh was key.
The thing is, though, this year's Nationals specialized in orchestrating late-inning comebacks. They did it time again, capping the season with their scoring drive in the final contest of the long baseball season, in Game 7 of the World Series. I simply chose to strap in when the Nats seemed likely to turn on.
This year's World Series was a surprise in more ways than just Washington's improbable run to the title. As I wrote in my previous post, my wife gave me my Nationals suspenders as a Christmas present a few years ago. What I didn't say was this: I took one look at them at the time and said to myself, "I'm never going to wear these things."
That was then.
Now that I've worn suspenders every day for more than a week, I've come to the conclusion that they are superior to belts in every way. They keep your pants exactly where you want them. They are a nod to the past. And most importantly for men of a certain age and girth, they are way more comfortable, especially after dinner.
My wife noticed me wearing them around the house even when the Nationals and Astros weren't playing. "You like them, don't you?" she asked in a tone of voice that made clear that she was beginning to regret buying them for me.
Yes, I do.
So much so that my Nats-themed pair no longer hang in my closet alone and neglected. They now have company. I've bought several over the past week, so don't be surprised if you see me wearing them more often.
I didn't know it at the time, but suspenders turned out to be a super gift. And if the Washington Nationals had not given me the gift of an improbable World Series title, I may never have known it.