Reading the Tea Leaves Baseball Cards

I know I’ve been a bit negative lately. I might have, in a fit of pique, compared the Red Sox to a sinking cruise liner. And as recently as today, I might have intimated I was "skeptical" about the Sox’ chances in the upcoming five-game series against the Yankees.

I would like to formally apologize and say: I was wrong. I know now the Red Sox will sweep this series. The baseball cards have told me so.

Now, I’ll be the first to acknowledge it’s not as scientific as the YFSF Scrabble-based preseason predictions, but I have a lot of faith in my baseball cards. And they have spoken loud and clear about this one.

Last night, for the first time in a while, I splurged and bought six packs of baseball cards, containing 57 cards.

  • 2006 Upper Deck Series II (2 packs, 8 cards each)
  • 2006 Upper Deck Series II (2 fat packs, 15 cards each)
  • 2006 Topps Allen and Ginter’s (2 packs, 6 cards each)

In opening the first of the two regular Upper Deck packs, the third card I pulled was the following:


Clearly, pulling Josh Beckett — not only as the first card of any player who will participate in this series, but also pulling his jersey card — is a sign that he is set for a monster performance. At least 7 shutout innings in a 3-0 Red Sox win (three runs because his was the third card from the deck).

Sixth in the pack was:


I don’t think I need to explain the significance of two Red Sox pitchers in the same seven-card pack (only seven because of the jersey card). Clearly the cards have aligned to pronounce a Red Sox sweep, led by the sterling performances of Beckett and Papelbon.

The universe is kept in alignment by the pairing of opposite forces — God and the devil, yin and yang, good and evil. The cards are no different.For every positive pack of baseball cards, there must be a negative pack. With the first pack opened being a positive one — a pack in which the owner pulls a jersey card cannot ever be negative — the cards must align negatively for those players in the subsequent pack. And lo! Look at the following sequence of cards (1st, 2nd and 7th of eight) from the second open pack:

Bardcard  Farnsworthcard  Jetercard

Notice that the first card pulled is Josh Bard, someone considered a failure in Boston. Who else will be considered a failure in Boston after this weekend? Clearly, the cards say Kyle Farnsworth (not exactly considered a success anyway) and Derek Jeter. Expect a blown lead from Farnsworth — perhaps in tomorrow’s double-header — and an 0-fer series or key defensive miscue from Jeter.

But who will be the offensive hero for Boston in this stunning sweep? Well, let’s open Pack No. 3:

Penacard   Fiskcard

The pairing of Wily Mo Pena giving his trademark home run salute with a Carlton Fisk "Legends" card makes it clear — Pena will hit a walk-off home run in this series. The fact that Pena’s card was the second pulled from the deck is significant because he’s considered in some circles to be the second Papi or Ortiz Jr. This is also the third opened pack, and he’s considered the third bat of an incredibly potent Papi-Manny-Pena combo (if Francona will only align his own cards properly).

The other packs say little. Randy Johnson was pulled from a Topps pack, but he was immediately followed by Danica Patrick, the poison from a racing card polluting the whole deck and the fortunes of all the players enclosed in it. The only other Yankee I pulled was Kelly Stinnett, and he’s not even with the team anymore.

As one final piece of evidence, in the first Topps Allen and Ginter’s pack — which takes after the Cracker Jack brands with a vintage look — I pulled this as a miniature parallel card:


Although an Ohio native, Hayes, the 19th president of the United States, was educated at Harvard. Had the Red Sox existed in the 1850s, he surely would have been a fan.

Finally, I pulled 57 cards from these packs. The Red Sox’ record against the Yankees over the last 57 games, including the postseason? 30-27.

Let us now put aside our fear, our trepidation, our silly childish nervousness over these contests. The cards have spoken; the fates are arranged. There is nothing we can do but sit back and await the coming sweep.

9 comments… add one
  • You just jinxed your team.

    bloodyank78 August 17, 2006, 11:55 pm
  • Ordinarily, I’d agree, but the sarcasm outweighs any jinxing effect.

    Paul SF August 18, 2006, 12:35 am
  • Touche

    bloodyank78 August 18, 2006, 12:38 am
  • Okay so Johnny “I can too throw far!” Damon triples to lead off the game, Derek “I’m prettier than you” Jeter singles him home to open the scoring and seemingly the floodgates… but Johnson steadies and pitches well enough to keep the score at 1-0 The Sox waste multiple scoring chances until Hinske garners his second hit of the game a double, takes third on a fly ball out by Javy Lopez, and scores on a ground out…small ball but in this case, effective…

    Brian August 18, 2006, 2:47 pm
  • Johnson then loses the battle to “Milky” Cabrera and walks him bringing up Johnny “I can too throw far” Damon and damn it, if Damon hasn’t taken out his earlier hitting frustrations against the Sox hitting a homer to make it 3 to 1… and just like that Jason Johnson blows up letting Derek “I’m prettier than you” Jeter single and and Abreu single him to second… Giambi up facing Kyle Snyder
    on this AB could hang the outcome

    Brian August 18, 2006, 2:54 pm
  • Make it now 4 to 1, Snyder gives up a single to Jason “I thought it was Coconut Oil” Giambi score Derek “I’m prettier than you” Jeter first & second 1 out

    Brian August 18, 2006, 2:58 pm
  • Alex “I’M the MVP!” Rodrigez flies out… first & third now 2 down.

    Brian August 18, 2006, 3:01 pm
  • Kyle Snyder limits the damage to thee costly runs in the inning…

    Brian August 18, 2006, 3:02 pm
  • 4-1 Yankees… can the Sox answer?

    Brian August 18, 2006, 3:03 pm

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