The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

“As soon as I saw it, I knew it was an omen…” (Something’s Brewing, pt. 3)

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It’s a strange sport, baseball.  It can be played nearly letter-perfect according to volumes of statistics and turn out a champion.  Baseball fans slaver over those same stats.  They are the sole basis for fantasy leagues.  Player salaries are determined by them.  Entire franchises have been engineered according to them.  Hardcore baseball nuts dream about inventing new stats that will change how the game is played.  Despite all the factual information, though, many baseball players and fans are devoutly superstitious.  Players won’t talk to the pitcher during a no-hitter.  They won’t step on the foul lines as they take or exit the field.  Fans turn hats inside out to summon a rally in the late innings when their team is down.  The list goes on ad infinitum, and both players and fans swear that omens have more to do with success than what is registered on a scorecard.  I take a good deal of comfort in that, given what happened at Miller Park last Sunday, April 24, while Milwaukee played Houston.

I have little reservation in thinking what happened was an omen, especially given the fact that the supernatural has unfolded at 1 Brewers Way before, and Houston has figured prominently in what unfolded–in 2008, they played there as the home team against the Cubs and were no-hit by Carlos Zambrano.  What happened a few days ago is every bit as unusual.  During the third inning, a Cooper’s hawk flew under the retractable dome, snared an unlucky pigeon, and then camped in the outfield.  It’s a good thing the accipiter picked Miller Park for his adventure; had he tried that at Wrigley Field, three ushers would have rushed to check his ticket.

No relation to the Burds of northeast Indiana.

 Though maybe not so much in baseball, birds of prey are of great significance in Greek mythology.  The Odyssey alone is ripe with bird references and imagery.  Early in the story, Telemachus tries to protect his home and family as he argues with Antinous over the fate of his father, Odysseus, and the disposition of his mother.  He knows he must protect his estate, wait for his father to return, and not surrender his mother to the whims of the suitors.  As he speaks, two eagles appear from the heavens and stare death at the suitors before tearing into each other.  It is a warning about the fury the gods will unleash if Telemachus relents and the suitors continue spoiling what is left of Odysseus’ legacy.  Unfortunately for the suitors, they shook off the sign.

Later in the story, an eagle with a great white goose in its talons lands on Telemachus’ right hand.  It is taken as a sign that his father will return and wreak havoc on the suitors.  Not long after that, Telemachus prepares to sail back to his home in the company of Theoclymanus, a sympathizer in his conflict with the suitors.  As they speak, an event eerily similar to what happened in the third inning last Sunday unfolds:

“As he was speaking a bird flew by upon his right hand- a hawk, Apollo’s messenger. It held a dove in its talons, and the feathers, as it tore them off, fell to the ground…”

 Telemachus is then told,

“…that bird did not fly on your right hand without having been sent there by some god. As soon as I saw it I knew it was an omen; it means that you will remain powerful and that there will be no house in Ithaca more royal than your own.”

Given these events , how could the Cooper’s hawk not be taken as a sign?  It wouldn’t be the first time an animal superstition has influenced baseball history–the Cubs have lived under the pall of two animal curses, and the Anaheim Angels rode the positive vibes from the rally monkey to the 2002 World Series championship.  Maybe this means that the Brewers are fated by the gods to slip championship rings on their fingers in late October this year.

Written by seeker70

April 27, 2011 at 8:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] the team good fortune, and even has his own doghouse out in center field.  A few years ago, it was the portentous appearance of a Cooper’s Hawk that helped Milwaukee reach the National League Championship series.  Maybe this domesticated […]

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