Webster defines a jinx as “a person or thing that is said to bring bad luck.” I bring this up because my grandchildren, and a few others who know my reputation too well, are convinced that I am a living, breathing baseball jinx. Why you ask?

Well I got into Chicago White Sox fever last season and like many here in the windy city by the lake I watched the Sox win the World Series with much joy. There was only one problem with all this Sox euphoria in my home. I got tickets to one game in the postseason and this happened to be the only game they lost out of twelve postseason games. I kid you not. The Sox were 11-1, a great postseason if there ever was one. But I saw game one of the ALCS, a game they lost to the Angels last October. But this is just the beginning of my "jinx" reputation.

This year I bought a 13 game plan with a buddy from some upper-deck seats and, along with a few free tickets to this and that game along the way, have seen the Sox play about 14 games in all. My record, I think, is now 4-10. Not good. And this is a very good team that we are talking about here. When my eight year old granddaughter asks if I am going to the game that night and I say “Yes” she looks really bummed out. When I ask her why she answers, “Oh, you know Grandpa John, the Sox will lose if you are there tonight.” And when my four year old granddaughter was at the game a few days ago, sitting with me, we asked her what a jinx was and she confidently pointed right at me. I can’t catch a break now that the word is out.

A few weeks ago I went to a Yankees-Sox game. I left in the ninth inning, to beat traffic. Mariano Rivera, maybe the best closer in baseball, was coming in to pitch the ninth and the Sox were losing by a run. The Sox got a home run right about the time I got to my car and then won the game several innings later. When I announced the jinx had to be over I was met with a response that simply said: “No way! You left and then they won. That just proves you really are the jinx.” I have even been told of late that the Sox need to know about this problem and forbid my entrance to a game at U. S. Cellular Field.

Michael Valentino, another friend, was asked if the jinx should be over since they did beat the Yankees and I did actually go to that game. He answered with the following email:

Allow me to refer you to the Official Rules of Jinxdom (4th Edition, 2004)………. Article III, Section 2.a, states in part, ". . . however, if the jinx, after having entered the baseball stadium and attended part of the game, with the exception of rain-shortened games that have not been determined to be official, i.e., less than 4 1/2 innings, were to leave the park before the game is over, and if the jinxed-team—jinxed by virtue of the presence of said jinx—is trailing or tied at the time of the jinx’s premature departure, but should rally to win the game after the jinx has officially left the park, the jinx is deemed herewith to still be in force."

Sorry, John, but it sure looks like Stacy and Gracie are correct according to the rules — the jinx is still in effect. Frankly, there is no telling what may have happened had you stayed. (Between us friends ……….. I’m convinced Mariano Rivera would have struck out Paul Konerko on three pitches, but that’s just me.) Oh, and by the way, WHERE WERE YOU LAST NIGHT? You didn’t, er, happen to get last-minute tickets to the Sox-Yankees game, did you? (I hope I’m not contributing to the complex you may be developing, am I?) 

Oh, if the Sox should sweep the Tigers while you’re out of town (which I was and they did sweep), you will be asked to take up temporary residence out of state, at least until the third week in October.

Saturday night I went again, this time to see the Twins. This time I left again with the Sox losing by two runs in the ninth and Joe Nathan on the mound for the Twins. Safe lead, right? As I walked to the car I said to Rich Johnson, a good friend from our board, “If the Sox rally in the bottom of the ninth this will only prove the legend that I am the jinx.” Bingo! Jermaine Dye hit a two-run bomb in the ninth and the game was tied. As I heard the firewords go off I knew I was in trouble. (The Sox actually lost in the 11th inning but by then I was nearly home so the jinx lives on I suppose.)

I have tickets to three more games in September. Should I stay away? No one admits that the real problem just might be that the Sox are not good enough to win it all again this year. I guess everyone needs a scapegoat but becoming the goat is getting a bit old I can assure you.

Who says you cant beat fun at the old ballgame?