There is no such thing as a curse or a jinx in baseball or in any other sport. Believing otherwise is ridiculous. Another thing that’s ridiculous is when an MLB team - in this case, our favorite baseball team, the Orioles - loses 19 consecutive games. It is entirely natural to consider that the explanation for this ridiculous circumstance may also be ridiculous.
With that in mind, it is clear that right now the Orioles are suffering the Curse of the Cat. I do not take credit for coining the term. A number of people have observed that the O’s downfall has followed in the aftermath of the August 2 game in New York against the Yankees that was briefly interrupted by the appearance of a stray cat.
At the time, it seemed like the cat might actually be a good omen for the Orioles. They won that night’s game, after all, blasting four home runs off of Yankees deadline acquisition Andrew Heaney on the way to a 7-1 victory. MASN’s Kevin Brown joked on air that the cat had shown more speed than any of the Yankees on the field that night.
The best thing in sports is an Orioles win. The next best thing is a Yankees loss. When these two things happen in the same game and the Yankees are being ridiculed in the process, that’s pretty darn good. Sadly for me and for anyone else who had the injustice of the Jeffrey Maier Game as part of their formative years, this state of affairs did not last beyond that night.
The Orioles have gone 0-19 following the night the cat appeared. The Yankees are 18-3 in the same stretch of time. What the hell, universe? That’s just not fair. The O’s rather infamously lost the first 16 of those 19 losses by multiple runs. They’ve given up double digit runs seven times and they’ve been blown out by five or more runs ten times.
It’s an ongoing disaster that feels like it has no end in sight. Any negative outcome is in play. Breaking the franchise record of 21 straight set by the 1988 O’s? No problem. The 23 straight defeats of the 1961 Phillies that mark the worst losing streak in MLB since 1900? Sure, why not? Maybe they can even take aim at the 26 straight losses put up by the 1889 Louisville Colonels. After all, who’s going to pitch well enough for them to win? If they do get a good outing, who’s going to hit well enough?
Put it all together and there can only be one possible explanation of why the Orioles have lost these last 19 games. It is the Curse of the Cat. If they are going to ever win again, they are going to have to break the curse by either defeating or appeasing the cat. With that in mind, I submit these possible solutions for the team to consider.
Purge the player who most offended the cat from the roster
One way you can be sure that the Orioles have dabbled at least a little bit in trying to combat the Curse of the Cat is that they have already taken this step. It was reliever Adam Plutko who stood guard at the door of the O’s bullpen in Yankee Stadium as the cat tried to find its way in. He did not open the door. Was this the action that displeased the cat and caused him to unleash his power?
Unfortunately for the Orioles, they designated Plutko for assignment on August 15 and that was not enough to blunt the rage of the cat. They’ve lost another nine straight games since Plutko was DFA’d. Do they need to take the further step of not having Plutko in the organization at all? Plutko accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Norfolk. Should they have launched him into the Inner Harbor by catapult instead? Or maybe the Orioles just need to explore a different avenue altogether.
Locate the cat and find it a loving home
Maybe the way that the Orioles will have to get out of this mess is to deploy organizational resources to locate the cat, care for it, and see it placed into a home with people who will take good care of it. We might not need Mike Elias and Sig Mejdal personally combing the alleys of the Bronx looking for strays, specifically that stray cat. We also might really need that. If the losing streak stretches on even closer to historic levels, that will increase the need for drastic action.
Perhaps for now a cash donation to an organization that will help care for unfortunate animals in New York City, as well as a like donation to the O’s typical Baltimore animal charity BARCS, would be enough to get the cat to release its grudge against the Orioles franchise. Get out the big novelty checks and see what happens. Helping animals is a fine cause even when there aren’t curses involved.
Sacrifice The Oriole Bird to appease the cat
Cats tend to like to try to get at little birds, something that anyone who’s ever owned a cat, or just watched an old cartoon with Tweety Bird and Sylvester, knows very well. So what is a team with a bird mascot that has drawn the ire of a cat supposed to do? Obviously, they need to let a cat mascot eat the Bird.
No, hear me out. Towson University’s athletic teams are the Tigers, so arrange for Doc the Tiger to come in before the next home game. Set up a wrestling ring out in the area next to the bullpens, then let Doc loose on the Bird like a wrestling heel does when his back is turned. Get a steel chair involved. Have the Bird get power-bombed through a table. Take the Bird out on a stretcher after the “match” is staged to suggest the tiger took a bite out of the Bird. Play some old Jim Ross sound clips.
To really sell it, the Bird must not appear again this season. No seventh inning stretch dugout dancing. No concourse high-fives. No one-armed push-ups in front of the other team’s dugout. Not even any trying to get the sparse crowd to spell out O-R-I-O-L-E-S. As far as the cat is concerned, the Bird must be gone.
Yes, I suppose this might upset any children present, and lead to some uncomfortable questions about what just happened and why the Bird is gone, but seriously, this is a 19-game losing streak. They’ve got to get creative to end it and if the easier solutions don’t work then they might have to try something crazy to avoid making major league history. I can only think of one thing crazier than this.
Have a major league roster that has better baseball players
There’s always next year.