I do not like the number 11.
I've had...past experiences with the number, you see, and I've learned to both fear and respect its power. Allow me to explain. Back in my college baseball days, I had a long and hilarious string of very painful injuries. I've talked about them a bit on the blog, but just to recap.
Over the course of just about three years, I managed to tear my labrum in my throwing shoulder, I sprained my ankle and ended up in a knee-length cast on my left leg, and to round things out, I broke my jaw.
Oh, wait. And then I re-tore my labrum. Almost forgot about that.
According to more than a couple teammates, friends, and family members, at least some of that bad juju had to do with my donning of the number 11 while I played.
You see, numbers are very important to baseball players.
Before college, I'd always worn either 15 or 25--15 because of Yankees catcher Thurman Munson and 25 because the numbers added up to 7, which was Mickey Mantle's number. When my dad was growing up, Mickey Mantle was his favorite player. Like I said, numbers are important to baseball players.
Both numbers--15 and 25--had done right by me, and I felt comfortable wearing them.
Comfort is another big thing with baseball players. Many of the guys I played with had little routines, either before the game or during, to help make them feel comfortable. Small things like wearing a certain t-shirt under a jersey, or always tying the right cleat before the left cleat.
Baseball players are also quite superstitious.
And as such, many baseball players don't believe in coincidence. In my book, if it happens more than once, it's not a coincidence. There are no coincidences. Only good luck, bad luck, and curses.
For me, number 11 is cursed. For me, number 11 is most certainly bad luck. So today--on this 11th day of the 11th month in the year 2011 at 11:00, no less--I'm going to tread lightly...and possibly wear a helmet.
Stay safe, Exfanders.