We often hear about the “baseball gods”, unseen deities who influence the fortunes of ballclubs and their players. It is this pantheon that brings about late-game rallies, fielding misfortunes and playoff runs. Last night, for example, it could be said that the baseball gods abandoned the Oakland Athletics.
However, little has ever been said about who the baseball gods are, beyond the fact that there there are many of them, making baseball a polytheistic religion. This puts the worship/prayer to the baseball gods, interestingly enough, in direct conflict with the vast majority of baseball fans, especially in North America, as well as the the vast majority of baseball players. This, perhaps, explains why none before have dared to give names to the baseball gods, as it would be like making them real, as opposed to an intangible force like luck or clutch-hitting.
They also lack any type of holy scripture about them, presumably because their names are written not in script but rather in THE UNWRITTEN RULES, the invisible text that all baseball players, fans, announcers and managers must follow, by punishment of being accused of breaking THE UNWRITTEN RULES. This has also helped obscure the names of the baseball gods.
Until now, because it is time to give the baseball gods names, and to write them. After the jump, of course:
Dub-Bull-Day, God of Creation
In the beginning, there was nothing. And then, in a Garden of Eden located in Cooperstown, New York, the god Dub-bull-day created baseball. And he saw that it was good, so he yelled “Play Ball!” And it was good.
Research has since found that neither Dub-Bull-Day nor his earthly herald Abner Doubleday created baseball, but some continue to give prayer to Dub-Bull-Day out of tradition and old-times-sake.
Longba’al, God of Home Runs
Also known by names such as Ding-Err and Homaah. Longba’al is a god for hitters who governs the distance a batted ball flies. All home runs that clear the fence are the work of Longba’al. It is said the Longba’al is the most attractive and popular of the gods, especially among women, leading to the saying that “Chicks love the Longba’al.”
From the late 80s to early 2000s, some devoted followers of Longba’al gave tribute to him by piercing their bodies with hypodermic needles filled with anabolic substances.
Euclis, God of Walks
One of the few baseball gods who’s name is known, it was revealed in the book Moneyball when Michael Lewis revealed that some members of the the Athletics’ front office had ascribed the name to then-Boston-farmhand Kevin Youkilis. Euclis is a deity loved by batters and practitioners of sabermetrics, but feared by pitchers.
K, the One-Letter God of Strikeouts
A god who’s many past names are often forgotten for his short moniker of K, he is the god of strikeouts. Tribute is shown to this god by displaying his name forward (for a swinging strikeout) or backwards (for looking strikeouts), leading some to believe that K may actually be two beings going by the same name.
Roger Clemens, noted worshiper of K, showed his devotion to the Strikeout God by beginning all of his children’s names with the god’s symbol.
Daheatah, the God of Fastballs
Generally connected to K, Daheatah is often invoked by people who yell at the pitcher to “Throw Daheatah!”
Beelzebunt, Demon-God of Bunting
Some say Beelzebunt is a good god who should be invoked whenever there is a man on base and nobody out. Others say invoking Beelzebunt’s name is essentially praying for an out. Interestingly, Beelzebunt’s power seem to decrease when age, as when children call upon Beelzebunt’s power they usually are able to get to at least first base on an error.
The Curses, Minor Gods of Doom
The Curses are, unlike most of the gods, likely mortal, able to be banished. But they are strange spirits that often inflict pain upon their victims in cruel ways. Members of the Curses have taken the form of a Billy Goat, Rocky Colavito, and a statue of Colonel Sanders. A previous curse, which took the form of “the Bambino” (a Messiah-figure amongst followers of Longba’al), was banished from this realm in 2004.
Rain, God of Rain-outs and Unoriginal God-Names
It has long been known that fans of teams with not-that-deep pitching staffs have prayed for rain. What they did not know was they were actually praying for “Rain”, the baseball god of… well, rain and rain-outs. The power of Rain has been greatly diminished in the last half-century with the increase in covered and retractable-roof stadiums.
So, those are but a few of the names of the baseball gods. Perhaps I will reveal more of them as time goes on.