Last night I got lucky. – No, not that kind of lucky. I’m 74 years old, happily married, and totally sold on the idea that nothing good really happens on the streets of Houston after nine o’clock in the evening. I’m talking about getting lucky in real-time on an actual Astros game prediction. These things happen more often than this one in my own head, but this one just happened to slip into public exposure when I expressed it to my 27-year old son Neal – right before it happened almost exactly as I said it would.
It was the top of the 9th, Houston leading 5-3, two runners on base, lefty Will Ohman of the White Sox facing lefty Brian Bogusevic of the Astros. When Ohman missed on close outside calls on his first two pitches, it just came to me. “Watch this time at bat closely, Neal,” I said. “Before it’s done, the pitcher is going to force one over the plate and Bogie is going to crush it into the right center field stands for a 3-run homer and an 8-3 Astros lead.”
Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.
“Wow, Dad,” Neal exclaimed, “you called it. I guess watching all the baseball you’ve seen over the years has come into play again.”
“I just got lucky, son,” I answered, but it did give me pause to think. If you see the same kind of game situations over and over again, and you also develop a feel for the always rising and falling pulse of player production, as broadcasters Bill Brown or Greg Lucas do, it may leave you a little more anticipatory and less surprised when a guy like Brian Bogusevic comes along and hammers one almost exactly as you just saw it in your own mind. It happens about five times a season with me that last night’s occurrence takes place and then comes true in real time. When it does, I always see the swing and the flight of the ball in my mind before all else. Then it happens in reality.
I also have to add that sometimes I get that same strong premonition about a home run and the guy just strikes out. And that’s the part of this phenomenon that always points me back to “luck” and “wish-fulfillment” as the most logical, albeit incomplete answers as to what is going on.
All I know for sure is that it’s something more than the luck of a five-year old yelling, “Come on, batter, bit a home run,” and then it happens. And I suspect that knowledge of the game and some unconscious brain evaluation of the game situation is an important element. As in the Bogusevic instance, I think I’m much more inclined to get the “home run picture” for an Astros player when the count is 2-0 or 3-1. I don’t recall ever getting it when the count was 0-2.
The first and only other time I made a successful public call was also with Neal at the then new downtown ballpark when Jose Lima was on the mound and just been crushed for another home run.
“Watch what happens on the first pitch to the next batter,” I told Neal back in 2000. “The next batter is also going to take Lima deep too – and on the first pitch.”
And so it happened, establishing street cred for me and the 30,000 other Astros Psychics in attendance who saw the same thing coming.
Have a nice weekend, everybody. Just visualize a nice day. Then go out and have one.