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October 11, 2003

by Larry Mahnken

You know me, extremely superstitious. I spend most of the postseason sitting in the same spot, usually in a fairly uncomforatble position, because the Yankees did well when I was sitting that way before. Yeah, it's almost certainly not doing anything, but on the other hand, what if it was doing something? Don't wanna take any chances here. This is the Yankees, damn it. Too important.

Anyway, I guess I'm a chip off the old block, judging from this email my father sent me yesterday:

Weight Watchers Before!So, here's the story of a talisman and a curse.

A couple of weeks ago your mother was browsing through eBay and came across this really nice Yankees golf shirt. She brought it to my attention. I bid on it. I won.

It arrived a few days later and I tried it on. It was a size Large and I was just a bit too large for a large. (Six months and sixty pounds ago, before I started Weight Watchers, I was an XXLarge.) But it wasn't too tight so I knew it would fit soon.

Just before Game Two of the Division Series I tried the shirt on and, lo and behold, it fit! (See photo) I wore the shirt and the Yankees won.

In Game Three I was busy up to game time and it was in the third inning that I realized I was wearing the wrong shirt. I changed in time for the 4th and you know what happened.

Game Four; wore the shirt, series over.

Weight Watchers After!On to the ALCS.

I was watching Game One and suddenly realized that I had made and incredible fashion faux pas. Not only was I not wearing "the shirt" but the combination I was wearing (see other photo) actually matched the Red Sox road colors!!!! I quickly change and the Yanks went on to score a couple of runs, but the damage had already been done. Sorry, Moose.

For Game Two I wore the shirt from the start and in the first inning and a half I almost thought I had worn out the magic. I hadn't.

By the way, I've been afraid to wash it until this is over. Should smell pretty ripe by the end of the series.

Now for the curse.

Assuming this may end up on the web, I'll try to be a little circumspect about this first part. Back in November of 2000, I acquired a fine cigar from a Spanish speaking country famous for fine cigars. As one who occasionally appreciates a fine cigar, and realizing I'll probably never get another one of these, I decided to save it for a special occasion.

In the spring of 2001 I thought I had the perfect occasion. My old college hockey team was undefeated and playing for the Division III National Championship. I figured I'd smoke it in celebration when they won.

They suffered their only defeat of the season in the National Championship Game, 7-2, on home ice.

In October/November I was going to smoke it to celebrate the Yankees' great comeback championship in the playoffs and World Series.

Mariano blew his first World Series game ever in Game Seven.

Other celebrations that didn't happen:

The Yankees' 2002 Series win.

Being at the PGA Championship in Rochester this summer to see Tiger win the Grand Slam.

Being at the PGA Championship in Rochester this summer to see Tiger win a major.

My team in this summer's golf league winning the league championship. (We led wire to wire through the season and lost in the championship match to the fourth place team. I had rallied in my match to win four of the last five holes and win the match 5 1/2 to 4 1/2, only to learn that my three teammates had gotten skunked.)

So, no more waiting for special occasions or celebrations. Tonight, this curse ends. As I watch the Cubbies and Fish slug it out I'm going to sit on the balcony and smoke my Cu… uh, fine cigar for no apparent reason and be done with it.

We'll know soon enough if it worked.

So there you go. If the Yankees beat Pedro today, I'm crediting the t-shirt and the cigar. And Enrique Wilson.

Thanks Dad, for giving your tired son a way out of writing something meaningful today, while still giving him blog material!

(Hey, it's the weekend! My traffic is cut in half on these days, anyway!)