Explanations abound for the Tigers' ALCS defeat at the hands of the Texas Rangers -- injuries, rainouts, the Rangers' bullpen, the ridiculous Nelson Cruz, etc. But really, there is only one reason the Tigers lost.
It's my fault.
You might wonder how it could possibly be that I caused the Tigers to lose when I was here in the Emerald City, thousands of miles from Arlington, TX. The truth is, it's my fault because I did not prevent my wife from getting a glimpse of the game. She is a jinx, you see, and even the slightest acknowledgment that a game is in progress, let alone actual viewing, is enough to trigger her super jinx powers. During the game this past Saturday, when I wasn't looking, she turned on the game (giving her usual excuse, "I just wanted to see what the score was."). At the time, the Tigers led 2-0. Seconds after she turned on the game, the previously comatose Michael Young awoke from his slumber and ripped a 2-run double down the left field line, opening the floodgates to a 9-run third inning and sending the Bengals home for the winter.
As soon as it happened, my wife found me and apologized. I am not kidding. She kept saying, "That was my fault, that was my fault, I just wanted to see what the score was, that was my fault . . ."
No, I accept the blame, because her jinxness (jinxion? jinxiousness? jinxity?) is well-documented, and I should have taken steps to prohibit her from accessing live programming. Here are just a few examples:
1997 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 4 -- Up three games to none, Red Wings led 2-0 late in the third period, looking for a sweep. With about a minute to go, my wife tuned in "to see the celebration," and Eric Lindros scored with 15 seconds left, making it a 2-1 game and putting some anxiety into the final seconds.
2008 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 5 -- Leading the series three games to one, the Red Wings were trying to close out the finals on home ice and led 3-2 in the last minute of the third period. Once again, looking to watch the celebration, my wife turned on the game, and the Penguins scored with 34.3 seconds left to force overtime. In fact, they forced triple overtime and the Penguins won that game. So, not only did she cost the Wings a game, she cost me three overtimes of stress and anxiety which were not rewarded by a Wings victory.
Our history together is marred by incident after incident of this nature, too numerous to mention or even to recall. Now, you might think that these were isolated instances, merely coincidental. You would be wrong, because I subjected the wife-as-jinx hypothesis to a scientific test years ago. You be the judge:
Ohio State trailed LSU 33-20 with 2:31 remaining in the game in a 1988 clash of Big Ten and SEC powers. Watching the game and cheering for OSU, I was joined by my wife, who casually asked who was playing and what was the score. After I told her, she inquired, "Who are you rooting for?" Always on alert when my wife and sports intermingle, I nimbly replied, "LSU." What ensued was one of the great comebacks in college football history, with OSU winning 36-33. The Buckeyes may have thought their victory was the result of an outstanding team effort or incredible individual performances, but it was preordained as soon as my wife (a) started watching and (b) thought I was rooting for LSU.
Unfortunately, she knows I root for the Detroit teams and for the Spartans, so I can't pull the OSU-LSU switcheroo. The only thing I can do is try to keep her away from the television while their games are on. And, even more frightening, I cannot even tell her the score of a game I'm interested in.
Case in point: Michigan-Michigan State from this past Saturday. The Spartans led 21-7. My stress level was through the roof, higher than a Valverde ninth inning, when she asked me, "What's the score?" Without thinking, I replied, "21-7, Michigan State." She said, "Really?" I thought, "What have I done!?"
I raced back to the television and saw Michigan score a touchdown in six seconds. SIX SECONDS!! They had done nothing all day, then my wife THINKS about the game, and Michigan scores in SIX SECONDS!!
So, when you understand what can happen if she only thinks about a game, imagine the destructive force when she watches it. And that's what happened to the Tigers. For this, I am truly sorry.
As Maxwell Smart used to say, "If only she used her powers for niceness, instead of evil."