To jinx or not to jinx: The question for ’18 Astros


Superstition is sewn into the tapestry of baseball as deeply as hot dogs and mascot races. Which is to say that it is part and parcel of baseball, but in many ways a side-show to the real thing.

There are many traditions (superstitions) in baseball running the gamut from not talking to the pitcher who has a no-hitter going (or not speaking of it over the airwaves) to players not stepping on the foul line running onto or off of the field. Some have to make a sign of the cross, others kiss a medal or as Yasiel Puig showed us in the World Series, lick their bats (EWWWWWEEE!!!) before stepping in against the pitcher.

And then there are the fans…..There was much angst last season for Astro fans as the magical season unfolded as we did not want ourselves or the team to wake up and realize how far above the earth and most of the other teams they were flying. It reminded one of the old kids’ saying “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.”  “Praise Dallas Keuchel. Send him to the DL.” Folks around the blog here dealt with this in many ways. Half way through the season and then halfway through the playoffs…”They haven’t proven anything yet.”  “Those Indians killed us and could sweep us right out of the playoffs.” “My heart was broken in 1980 and ’86 and 2005, etc. so I can’t fully dive all in.” We were all afraid that a boastful remark, a comment about how great the team was or certain players would lead to a 20 game losing streak or 9 torn ACLs.

Last season, this writer finally decided that treading lightly had never done me or the team any good over the last 56 seasons. So I wrote posts like these:

It just seemed like the time to let it rip and results be damned.

I no longer fear being positive about my favorite team. They may not win it all this season, but it won’t be because I said that this is the best team in Astros history and what I’m sure is the best team in the major leagues.

But for you…..

  • Where do you stand on the idea of superstition?
  • Are you afraid of jinxing your favorite team(s)?
  • Do you feel any different after what you went through last season?
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115 comments on “To jinx or not to jinx: The question for ’18 Astros

  1. I think the Astros jinxed me for 55 years, so it’s possible that I was afraid of jinxing them last year.
    I think they could the best team in baseball, but I know that a hot streak at the right time or a cold streak at the wrong time can trump that.
    I am slowly looking at all of our players as we get to see them for an inning or two and they are looking pretty good. I thought Collin McHugh pitched like he had something to prove today and Marwin looked ready to play.
    For the most part, the first two weeks of ST are like watching a minor league game. But I liked hat I saw from Cionel Perez today when things didn’t go his way he got out of it with some good looking pitches.
    Today, our minor leaguers were better than the Brave’s minor leaguers and that’s a good thing.

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  2. As long as our team takes it one game at a time with their approach and get up for that game with their natural talent and energy, the chances are that they will win because they will almost always have more cards in their deck. On occasion, they will meet an ace like Clevelands’, but they will still have their chances. Superstition can go back in its’ hole.

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  3. No, I don’t buy the superstition business, but I’d certainly keep my mouth shut if in the dugout during a no-no.

    I’ve only watched a couple of innings, and maybe I’m imagining things so early, but I see a demeanor out here on the field that makes me feel good. Every guy in an Astro uniform seems to be ready to go, fully focused and in great physical shape. And that goes for the guy wearing number 27 or 72.

    It’s all business. This club is not running off to the golf course every chance they get.

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  4. Of course superstitions are REAL. I can sit with my fingers crossed and it gets a base hit for the Astros. Call it luck, call it beating the odds, call it what you will, baseball is a sport that is 5 inches from a game winning home run and a long fly ball out. If by me taking a sip of tea, and the ball carries another 6 inches, that is what I can do for the club as a fan.

    Of course I am afraid of jinxing the Astros. As I said it is REAL. I am very cautious during the game. And YES, I actually do feel different this year in ST. The years and years of terrible luck (bad jinxing) are gone. This will be an enjoyable year and they don’t have to repeat to make it a good year. But my fingers will be crossed all year, just in case.

    PS: How can Bucky Dent or Al Weis be a playoff or World Series hero by hitting a home run when they didn’t even have “warning track power.” The answer, some guy or gal was watching with their fingers and probably toes crossed.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I don’t know about jinxes, superstions, or such. I leave that to the bayou dwellers who know how to he our players. Also, I’ve been watching Olympic “sports” like figure skating. When this Japanese guy skates the fans throw Winnie the Poohs onto the ice. What would happen if we did that when Pujols came up?

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  6. Now don’t jump on me, but IF the Astros get eliminated in the first playoff round. And IF the Rangers get to the Wild Card. I would like to see Texas Rangers get their first WS victory. They have been in the league one year longer, have won fewer games than the Astros, lost 181 MORE than the Astros have lost. Have been an embarrassment to the State of Texas. So lets let them win ONE. They are the Cleveland Browns of baseball, but the Browns at one time did win titles.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Is anyone else going to spring training this year? I booked my trip last week and I fly into Ft. Lauderdale on March 16th, but this is an Astros off day so I am making the 2-hour drive to Ft. Myers to catch the Twins/Red Sox game. I’ll drive back to the Ft. Lauderdale area after the game. I am then attending the Astros/Marlins game in Jupiter on March 17th and will see the Braves and Mets play the Astros at WPB on March 18th and 19th. I fly back home on the 20th. It is a short trip, but it will be all baseball.

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      • Unfortunately, due to my son’s baseball schedule the boys won’t be joining me on this trip. He won’t have any games during the time I am in Florida (I never miss any of his games unless I have a business conflict), but they would have missed 2 days of school, which would have meant missing 1 day of practice. The coach has a hard and fast rule that if you miss practice you don’t play in the next game, which my son and I both understand and respect the rule.

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  8. I don’t like to think of it as superstition. I just live around and work with a lot of Rangers fans (read that ‘obnoxious loud mouths ‘ whose bragging and ranting is an embarrassment to this or any sport). Seing how insufferable that kind of fan is, I choose to downplay our talent, lest I cause the idiots to have a heart attack. There is nothing less likable than a smart $&@.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Truthfully, ac45 – I felt like you. I always thought that if the Astros finally got a championship, I would be fine if the Rangers got one (not at our expense). But that all changed with Hurricane Harvey and their organization sticking it to us with those home games. Don’t care if they suffer now – they were jerks and whatever bad karma they engendered – well with a slight change to the words from the musical “Chicago”…..They got it coming.

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  10. The Astros young and old are drilling the Cards today.
    In the first Reed, and Fisher got hits, then Davis had a 2 out RBI single followed by Kyle Tucker hitting a 3 run homer….wow.
    Then in the second White got a hit and Springer and Bregman had RBI hits.
    Cole with 2 innings of no hit (one hit by pitch) 2 K pitching.
    6-0 in the third.

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  11. Cole needs to get used to walking off the mound with a lead!! Nice to see Kyle Tucker get the bat on the ball today! That homerun took all the breath away from the Cards…..kinda like they used to do with us when we were in the NL Central!
    The only thing I did last season, not to jinx the good mojo, was not washing my Springer shirt until the World Series was over! It walked to my utility room all by itself! I intend to do the same thing THIS year!! The Direct TV guy is coming on Tuesday!! Dang it……I’M GOING TO WATCH MY GUYS…..and I don’t care if my husband likes it or NOT! He needs to shut his mouth if he ever wants to EAT AGAIN😠!!

    Liked by 5 people

  12. In my years of following baseball I have learned a lot, but one of things I have learned is not to pay attention to spring training results, both from a team standpoint and a personal standpoint. It is not real baseball because it is not nine major league batters facing major league pitchers.
    That said, I am encouraged by the three starting pitchers I have seen throw for the Astros. Cole faced a number of major league hitters today and that is what I want to see. I am encouraged by the health of our pitchers, so far.
    What I am hearing from everyone, prospects and MLB players alike is how much fun this team is to be around. They seem happy to be a part of what the Astros have done and want to work to keep it going.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t put any emphasis on spring training results either. However, I so enjoy going to spring training and attending the games. I believe it is something every baseball fan should experience at least once in their life. This will be my 6th year out of 7 years attending Astros spring training and I still look forward to going.

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    • Agreed that the results of ST are not predictive of the season. But it’s always better to win than to lose, even if you’re just throwing paper wads in the trash can. I’ll be catching some Cactus League action the next couple of days.

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  13. Baseball has a problem with Marwin Gonzalez. They don’t know what to say about him.
    They want to think that pitchers finally had to pitch to Marwin last year because of the other players in the lineup. But Marwin saw 200 pitches more last year than his previous high, not fewer.
    Gonzalez’ previous high for BBs was in 2016, with 22. But Marwin had 49 BBs in 2017.
    It wasn’t all patience that was a difference in Gonzalez. He hit more balls in the air last year than ever before, indicating a definite swing plane change. He had hit into 16 DPs in 2016, but cut that number in half to 8. He had
    only 2 sacrifice flies in his entire career until last season, when he equaled that number.
    The truth of the matter is that if Marwin Gonzalez puts up the numbers in 2018 that he put up in 2017, the Astros will have an All-Star LFer on their hands who is going to hit free agency and has said he wants to stay in Houston because he loves it here and it is his home.
    How many of the prospects in the Astros system project to be an AS outfielder at age 28? The Astros might want to take a real hard look at keeping a player who has been here from the start of the rebuild and could be a huge piece of the future.
    Sometimes players move on and become a player you wish you had held on to. But in this case, the Astros have a chance to see what a player can become before he leaves.

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    • I admit big hole in his swing, Davis, but tore up the Texas League, a stump at the corners, can get you out of an inning in spot relief, and will DH when Gattis isn’t up to snuff. Those home run swings were fairly effortless, folks! He has the edge on White Kemp and Reed to make the OD in Gurriel’s absence.

      Sipp is a Hinch favorite, so we better get used to it if he outright earns the spot in Spring.

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      • Grayson, he is a stump, one that does not move. That’s part of the issue. He really is slow as molasses. And he’s not going to be a contact guy. At 25, he’s already getting a bit long in the tooth. But yeah, I suppose he’s a long shot for the five day gig. Otherwise, he’s going to have to stand by and wait on an injury.

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    • Considering we start the season with 4 games against the Arlington Rangers there is a decent chance J.D. makes the OD roster to fill in during Yuli’s suspension. The Rangers are projected to have 4 LHs in their starting rotation so Davis seems like a good candidate to fill in during Yuli’s absence.

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      • Tim,
        In Hinch’s in-game interview he said he wouldn’t “tinker” in trying to fill that spot with someone who fits just a series, or two. Granted, that was prior to Davis and Tucker’s successive home run days.

        Speaking of, Kyle Tucker looked like a Man Among Boys rounding the bases. I’m sure we’ll save his clock ’til absolute necessary, but his HR yesterday was off a serviceable pro.

        I am NOT of the mind that Spring doesn’t count, or it doesn’t say much – whatever cliche is used. There are obviously guys who took their offseason seriously, and some who haven’t or never will progress. I realize this lineup is nearly impossible to crack, with literally only 6 guys being seriously considered for 3 spots going into ST.

        But things change, seasons change.

        If we’re moving names based on recent outings, three guys have propelled past Hoyt and Martes — Armenteros, Ferrell and Thornton. I know it’s early too, but Rondon was getting squared up a lot. I’m rooting for him, but my heart is pulling more for guys who have to earn every inning, instead of relying on past experience and a contract.

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  14. Fun, fun, fun.
    Watching my Astros today.
    Strange but refreshing watching them play without hiding my eyes, pacing the floor, and holding my breath.
    But….I’ll gladly go through all that stress again in October.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Lorenzo Quintana sighting! Infield single to SS in his first AB in America. Part of his appeal was that he was very athletic for a catcher.
    I look for a bright spot in an 11-0 game.

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    • The only othe bright spot in that game was the fact that at least Thornton and Ferrell, among all the Astros’ hurlers, didn’t walk anybody. That may have something to do with the fact that they were the only Astros pitchers who gave up no runs.

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  16. Thinking about the defensive Bregman and shifts, he’s the prototypical third baseman of todays game. He’s literally playing short in many situations, has a strong, accurate arm from anywhere on the left side of the diamond, knows how to turn two at second base as well as most infielders, can charge a ball and is as quick getting places as any third baseman I can think of.

    The traditional 6’3”, 225 pound power hitting guy with strong arm and limited mobility may become a dinasour at third one day soon.

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  17. Felix Hernandez was hit hard by a line drive today on his pitching arm. He left the field with the trainer cradling his arm and it did not look good.
    Was sent back to their ST headquarters in Peoria for x-rays and maybe an MRI.

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  18. Hinch said something interesting about Sipp after the game. He said the Astros would be monitoring Sipp’s hand speed in his outings. Ever heard of that?
    I noticed that Sipp had a little more zip on his fast ball today and that he went up and in with it twice in his one inning, something I don’t remember a lot of from him.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Dan, I looked at your post this morning and realized something. The Astros won the World Series and the jinx is broken and we don’t have to worry about this any more.
    Oh, and the Mariner’s ST home is in Peoria because they hated Chicago.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Today’s Astros line-up is interesting to say the least. Peacock and his successors on the mound today are on notice – your mission is to be perfect, because . . . well, if you were thinking the big guns of Altuve, Correa, Springer, Bregman, Gurriel, Reddick, Gonzales, and McCann were going to be there to bail you out if you had a bad inning, check your line-up card one more time!

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  21. The arlington little league is signing ANY pitcher that can still throw a ball.
    They signed Tim Lincecum today. The guy hasn’t pitched since 2016, and he was awful at that. No word on the money ,but good Lord they are desperate!
    Another reason why we can’t let go of McHugh!! It looks like Kyle Tucker is trying to make a case for staying up with the big club! And Stassi is too!!
    I love winning……don’t you!!😃

    Liked by 2 people

    • Becky, I was not following the Rangers at the end of last year, but their record at Sept 8 was 71-69. They finished with 78-84. Had a terrible Sept. Then released 3 of their starters after the WS. When you sign Bartolo Colon (Minor League Contract) you are really in trouble. Follow that with Lincecum, and you are desperate.

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  22. I’d be surprised if Tucker made the club. Only because I believe they will hold him back a year due to the starting of his tenure so to speak. Kind of what they did with Springer and Correa. If the progress continues I look for him to make the club next year. You have Springer for another year (2019) and then 2020 will be his last year before becoming a free agent. You still have Marvin Gonzales who wants to stay with the club and Reddick who is signed through 2020. I suspect management wants him to fill one of those positions in the outfield. You also have Derrick Fisher waiting in the wings. It’s a dilemma that I guess other clubs would love to have.

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    • Tucker still has work to do. He can get better in the outfield and is still a ways from the numbers both Springer and Correa put up in the minors. There is no rush for him at this point either. We’ve already got some pretty good ML outfielders.

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  23. Yuli Gurriel will undergo surgery today to remove the hook of the hamate bone in his left hand. Usual recovery time is four to eight weeks.

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      • That’s exactly what I was just thinking, dave. The competition among White, Reed and Davis just got turned up a notch.

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      • Day 1

        Marwin is primary 1B.
        Joltin’ Jake Marisnick in CF
        Springer RF
        Reddick LF (Fisher backup)
        Correa Bregman Altuve

        That’s an elite OF, with 4 SS in the dirt and lockdown pitching in front.

        Davis, or White make the team.
        Stassi Gattis Mac

        McHugh moves to BP, and first spot start. Peacock 2nd.

        JV, DK, Lance, Cole, Salt
        Peacock, Devo, McQ, Smith, Sipp(?), Armenteros, Paulino, Giles.

        Gurriel Harris and Rondon – DL

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      • I should say that Springer did play a better centerfield last season, and his natural spot. I still give Jake the slight edge if he’s hitting line drives against the wall and smoothly beating the throw to 2B. He’s really a thing of beauty at 6’5″.. it’s sort of a toss-up, and George’s position to lose, but I think the advantage you get with Marwin’s range at 1B helps a pitcher stay in the game early, where we have an advantage late.

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  24. -Tony Kemp has the most ABs for the Astros this spring and he is 0 for 12.
    -Max Stassi’s 1.286 SLG is the highest on the team.
    -One has to think that Garrett Stubbs has at least impressed somebody.
    -Speaking of jinxes, no Astros MLB rotation starter has allowed a run yet this spring. LMJ goes today against a young lefty for the Twins.
    -Remember Armenteros picking that guy off in the first game? He tried a pickoff at second base yesterday and it didn’t go so well. But, he looked real good throwing three innings yesterday.
    -Young Ryne Birk has four plate appearances, three singles and a BB.

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  25. It has already been an interesting early spring as most of the guys on the fringes have been hitting pretty well. These are guys that would have been starting in 2013 and now are hoping to get some kind of shot at playing time. How things have changed.

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  26. Gurriel’s absence will make it tougher for Correa, and probably result in a lot less big innings for our offense. Who else do we have that is such a consummate hitter that an opponent knows they will have *$L* to pay if they pitch around the Captain?

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  27. Mr. Bill, no worries. This is the year of the nephew.

    Separately, more and more I’m thinking that Bregman will at least appproach what Altuve is doing offensively. Before you dog me, compare both guys stats at 23.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fangraphs has all four (Depth Charts, Steamer, etc.) slightly down in all major statistics for Bregman in 2018.

      https://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=17678&position=3B

      This is why I disagree.

      If you look at his contact rates from 2016-2017, they were all improved by 10% – that’s huge! His swing% was down, while the league threw the same amount of strikes as 2016. With a full season, his strike zone contact was 90%, which compares to Correa 91% Marwin 88% and Altuve 92%.

      I think with added strength and conditioning, being adjusted to the speed of the game was probably his biggest hurdle, he’ll continue to be patient at the plate.

      Today I was sitting with a friend looked up and said, “cmon Bregman tie this game up!” And he did.

      I give him 550 AB’s .295 BA/23 HR/90 RBI, as realistic numbers he’d like to beat.

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  28. Weird day today – Astros trailing 4-2 on four unearned runs. LMJ piled on with his 2 innings of scoreless work like the starters before him.

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