Baseball is a superstitious sport. Whether it's Wade Boggs eating chicken every day for 18 seasons or a player wearing the same pair of dirty, smelly socks during a hot streak, people in and around the game take comfort where they can.
For the bottom-of-the-league Nationals, their recent hot streak is fueled by Jose Morales.
Someone anonymously sent the Nats' announcers -- Bob Carpenter and Rob Dibble -- a baseball card of Jose Morales. Morales played parts of 12 seasons, mostly with the Expos and Twins, primarily as an indescript 1B and DH.
Carpenter and Dibble couldn't figure out who sent it to them or why they got it, but they noticed that the team started playing well once they received it; it's become a bit of a good-luck charm. The duo have frequently talked about it during the games, occasionally showing it in the booth, where it's lovingly taped in front of them.
With the Nats winning six out of their last eight and baseball superstitions being what they are, the card's the reason for the success say Carpenter and Dibble. Certainly some fans agree with the announcers.
This seemingly random card appeared out of thin air, a gift from the Baseball Gods; it's gotta mean something, right?
Well, sort of.
Baseball blogger Josh Wilker is writing a book based on his Web site, Cardboard Gods. The site features terrifically written essays about baseball and life, all riffing off the random baseball cards Wilker sees.
As part of the PR push for the book, which comes out next spring, Wilker's publisher has been sending random cards out to random people. It started with a series of baseball cards sent to bloggers. Now, according to Wilker, they have branched out to radio and television announcers.
So Morales flying into our lives wasn't some divine intervention from the Baseball Gods, but a promotion for an upcoming book. That certainly takes some of the magic out of it.
Will it take the magic out of the Nats and end their winning streak? Or will some other divine intervention enter the picture? Will Josh Willingham wear those same socks? Will a fan watching at home stay on the same side of the couch with her feet crossed just a certain way?
That's the great thing about baseball -- when one superstition ends, there's always another to pick up the slack.
Chris Needham used to write Capitol Punishment. He doesn't believe in the tooth fairy either.