We all have our superstitions. They're the way we humans write the concepts of order and cause-and-effect onto a world that otherwise would seem too large and random to comprehend. There's a comfort in knowing you can prevent your mother from breaking her back by simply avoiding cracks in the
We all have our superstitions. They're the way we humans write the concepts of order and cause-and-effect onto a world that otherwise would seem too large and random to comprehend. There's a comfort in knowing you can prevent your mother from breaking her back by simply avoiding cracks in the sidewalk -- even when something goes wrong, it's better to be able to put blame somewhere rather than nowhere.
Baseball players represent a particularly superstitious portion of the population. They have to stride to the plate to certain songs and walk on and off the field in just the right way. Some even refuse to wash their clothes while on a hot streak, which could get gross pretty fast in the middle of summer.
Mets slugger Pete Alonso is no exception to this rule. After winning the Home Run Derby in July, the rookie found himself in a bit of a slump. As he studied up on the issue, it wasn't due to a few bad bounces or a change in approach at the plate. No. He was slumping because Mercury was in retrograde -- the time in Mercury's orbit when it appears, from our vantage point on Earth, to have changed direction.
Fortunately, by the time Alonso reached this discovery, Mercury was about to come out of retrograde.
And wouldn't you know: According to fellow Met Dom Smith, the rookie had a phenomenal day at the plate the day Mercury came out of retrograde. Which meant, naturally, that Alonso wouldn't stop shouting about Mercury in the clubhouse afterward.
Is Alonso onto something? An initial investigation raises doubts. Mercury came out of retrograde on Aug. 1. The next day, Alonso went 2-for-4 with a double -- a fine game but nothing "berserk" as Smith claimed.
Nevertheless, there appears to be some truth to this story. Instead, the date I think we should be focusing on is Aug. 15, when Mercury ended its post-retrograde period. In other words, this is when it started to appear to return to its normal orbiting speed from Earth. That night, Alonso went 5-for-5 with a home run and 6 RBIs.
So, there you have it. Even the holder of the rookie home run record is subject to the "laws" of astrology.
Eric Chesterton is a writer for MLB.com. He is an appreciator of the stolen base, the bunt against the shift and nearly every unconventional uniform design. He eagerly awaits Jamie Moyer's inevitable comeback.