Classic card of the week
Kurt Miller, 1991 Upper Deck
I’m not a superstitious person. At least I try not to be. But I married into an Italian family, and there are many, shall we say, quirks involved, of which I must abide lest I be blamed for an unfortunate occurrence. Among these not-quite-superstitious-based obligations: no shoes on the table, walk through the same door you came in, and, of course, when forced to mingle with an untrustworthy person—wear red underwear.
These are all important, obviously, but the most important obligation of all is this: never get ahead of yourself when speaking. In other words, the future is uncertain, no matter what things may seem, and never assume that this is not so. My wife and in-laws tend to take things a small step further with the notion that if you do happen to speak positively about something that is actually happening right here and now, your very words have just prevented this positive thing from moving forward. “Jinx” is an ugly, superstitious word, so let’s just say, in this case, you’ve (other word for “jinx”)ed it. Thus, if something good is happening, never acknowledge it until it is so over that you are safely removed from the risk of being personally held responsible for ending it.
A prime example, and one in which I am perpetually the victim-slash-perpetrator: If our daughter is behaving well for a sustained amount of time—rare, but it happens—I will often say something like, “Wow, she’s being so go—“ and at this point, my wife and mother-in-law will simultaneously shush me, dramatically roll their eyes in each other’s direction, and haphazardly prepare for an onslaught of bad behavior. Should our daughter, immediately after this, so much as faintly verbalize any sort of frustration or confusion, most likely as a result of the spontaneous and inexplicable reaction she has just witnessed, I will be outcasted to a different room and no one will speak to me for at least the next three hours.
So, I try not to get ahead of myself, so much so, that when I witness other people do it, it bothers me. As an example … Let’s say, hypothetically of course, that a person is speaking about a young pitcher, and this person, who is speaking about this pitcher, and ignoring the immense physical strain of pitching in general and also the random circumstances that can frequently cause unfortunate injuries, virtually guarantees, based only on the pitcher’s smooth delivery, that this pitcher will never get injured, and in making this point as emphatically as possible, uses a horrific example of something that, though seemingly improbable, could happen and which, if it did happen, would not only injure this pitcher but also kill him instantly.
Yes, something like that would bother me.
“He has a perfect delivery,” one scout said. “The only way he’s going to hurt his arm is if he’s run over by a semi.”
I spent way, way, WAY too much time on the Internet searching for “Kurt Miller injury,” and there is just so little information about him minus straight baseball statistics. So, I’m not sure if he ever got injured—if anybody knows, holla—but I will say that from ’97 through ’99, one season removed from throwing 46.1 innings, he threw a combined 14.1 innings.
More importantly, according to Wikipedia, unless they simply forgot to mention it, he was never—as of this date, as I would like to express my sincerest hope that this never, ever happens to him or anyone, ever—run over by a tractor trailer.
Did you know?
The anonymous scout quoted here once said of Tiger Woods, “Only way that guy doesn’t win 30 majors is if his personal life spirals out of control via an exposed extramarital history involving porn stars, initiated by a pre-Thanksgiving car accident.”