And then there’s me.
I, Joshua Blake Rutledge, possess one special gift: the ability to ruin people’s lives. At least in the case of baseball. My endorsement is more like a career death sentence. Go take a look at your Zisk back issues. Read my contributions. Remember my piece on Rico Brogna and how he was so underrated? He retired mere months after I wrote that article. I did him in. I single-handedly destroyed the career of a two-time 100 RBI man. He’s now forgotten, and it’s all my fault. Another time, I similarly cursed Andy Ashby.
Most recently, I jinxed the 2002 Phillies. And then there were my oh-so-brilliant pre-season predictions last year. I probably doomed the Detroit Tigers to 100 years in the cellar.
It’s obvious that there’s a Josh Rutledge Zisk jinx. Just ask Pete Rose.
Spider-Man learned that great power brings great responsibility. I’ve learned that too, and that’s why I’ve decided to write this piece. Like Spider-Man, I find myself obligated to use my gift to combat evil. And what single evil could be more evil than the Atlanta Braves? The heinous
Braves! The diabolical Atlanta
Braves! Ted Turner’s pact with the devil has ensured that the Braves
cannot lose. Key players leave each year, but new recruits always arrive and
blossom into stars once they’ve tasted the mandatory demonic juices. Several
Braves, I've heard, are actually robots programmed for baseball supremacy. It’s
just not fair. Atlanta
Therefore, I now present my predictions for the remainder of the Braves’ 2003 campaign. As I write this, it’s
July 16th, 2003. The Braves
are 61-32, which puts them wight-and-a-half games ahead of second place . They’ve got
the division locked up, right? Of course. Philadelphia
(You’re reading this in the fall. So by now, you’ll know whether I really possess the “gift of jinx” or am just a baseball ignoramus)
August 1Polygamy is legalized in the
August 5In a shocking move, Gary Sheffield holds a press conference and announces that he’s a spoiled, bigheaded jerk. That night in
August 12Javy Lopez’s 35th home run of the season gives the Braves a 1-0 win over
August 13The video for Rafael Furcal’s new rap single, “Sweet Swingin’ Stick”, debuts at #1 on MTV’s Total Request Live.
August 21The Braves complete a four-game sweep of the Giants with a dominating 7-0 victory. Andruw Jones hits his 43rd home run of the year, and Greg Maddux tosses his second consecutive perfect game. The Braves now lead second-place
August 27Marcus Giles cures cancer and parts the
September 5Chipper Jones flies to
September 11Julio Franco hits two inside-the-park home runs, and the Braves complete a four-game sweep of the last place Phillies with a 5-2 victory. Vinny Castilla tries his hand at pitching and strikes out Pat Burrell twice.
Gary Sheffield comes down with a terrible case of humility and is immediately placed on the disabled list. Still, the Braves top
September 23The Braves slam the Expos 12-1 as Russ Ortiz wins his 29th game of the season. After the game, Henry Blanco flies to
September 26Roberto Hernandez finds out that he’s been cast to play Professor Dumbledore in the next Harry Potter film.
September 28The Braves wrap up their regular season with a 10-0 win over the Phillies. In order to ensure that the Braves don’t choke in the playoffs, God himself endows every Brave with superpowers. He also arranges for Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi to go down with hamstring injuries.
OctoberNo jinxing necessary here. The Braves will still choke.
Josh Rutledge lives in southeastern
the on-line rock magazine NOW Pennsylvania WAVE. He likes
full-figured women, ’70s punk rock, and 20-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola Classic.
Contrary to popular belief, he is neither a drug addict nor a Journey
fan. His favorite ballplayer is Bobby Abreu.