On May 21, our friend Michael Clair over at Old Time Family Baseball wrote an article over at Baseball Prospectus in which he did tongue-in-cheek scouting reports of ballplayers who did Playgirl shoots in the 1980s. While he didn’t provide a scouting report on him, among the players who Clair exposed (pun intended) was Steve McCatty, who is now the pitching coach for the Washington Nationals.
However, since that fateful day, the Nationals fortunes have fallen. They are a mere .500 since Michael Clair’s article went up*, have fallen another game back in the NL East standings, and would have fallen back even more if not for the fact that the Braves were almost as averagely mediocre as the Nationals were.
So, did the Steve McCatty Playgirl shoot curse the Nationals? I don’t know. But, then again, it’s no less ridiculous than Colonel Sanders cursing a Japanese team…
*Yes, I do know that the Nationals were on a 4-game losing streak before the article went up. Now be quiet and let me tell the story.
The resurrection of the Baltimore Orioles, it could be said, began last September. Buck Showalter had said early on that he would be playing his regulars in games against contenders, while using the September call-ups in the games against also-rans.
By comparison, the Yankees, who had stitched up the division by the final series against the Wild Card contending Tampa Bay Rays, decided to send in the call-ups.
So, it was a study in contrasts. When Boston arrived for the series that would decide their season’s fate, they ran into a team with Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, and a mindset that essentially said “This is our World Series.” The Rays, meanwhile, were basically facing a Yankees team that was playing Spring Training baseball.
And so as we barrel through September with several races still close, the question becomes: will the potential spoilers this year be like the Orioles, or like the Yankees?