Over the course of the past several years, baseball fandom in Houston, Texas, has meant deep, dark, and prevailing sorrow.
The last time the Houston Astros made the playoffs was 2005, when they were swept out of their first-ever World Series by the Chicago White Sox. Not only has the team not been back to the playoffs since, but in 2013, the Astros became the second team in Major League history to lose over 105 games in three consecutive seasons.
This year was meant to be different. In late July, the Astros were on pace for a playoff berth when the team announced that the Taylor Swift concert at the team's stadium had been rescheduled to accommodate a potential playoff run. Baseball is a notoriously superstitious and curse-prone sport. Understandably, this logistical hubris made some fans a little bit nervous:
One month later, the Astros had taken over first place in the AL West and had a five-game lead on their in-state rivals, the Texas Rangers. They still held the top spot in September when Taylor Swift performed her rescheduled gig in Houston. And then came the curse.
As D’Arcy Maine at ESPNW notes, “Houston has turned in a lackluster 7-11 record since her [September] concert—including losing seven of the eight games immediately after.” The young team, once poised to storm into the playoffs, is clinging onto life, having lost control of the division and the wild-card spot.
If you’re willing to believe in the dark power of Swift, you’ll see that Houston isn’t the only team afflicted. Two days after Swift performed at the Washington Nationals’ ballpark in July, the lights went out during the next home game. The star pitcher Max Scherzer knew who to blame:
Well who was the last one to use Nationals Park last? Taylor Swift.. I blame her for the power outs tonight. We now have #BadBlood— Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) July 18, 2015
The Nationals—a preseason favorite to reach the World Series—were also poised to make the playoffs when Swift performed in Washington, D.C., holding first place in the National League East.
Maine notes, that since that Swift concert, “the team has had an epic collapse—compiling a 32-38 record and being eliminated from the postseason.” In an added jinx, earlier this week, Scherzer, who pitched a no-hitter in June, had another no-hit bid broken up when he was just five outs shy of the feat.
Baseball fans are getting spooked. On Thursday, the Toronto Star fretted aloud about Swift’s two sold-out performances this weekend at the Rogers Centre, where the Toronto Blue Jays play. Twenty-four hours earlier, the team clinched a division title and will be making its first playoff appearance since 1993 when the team won the World Series on Joe Carter’s famous walk-off home run.
The city is understandably excited. Just a few weeks ago, one zealous fan made a viral Blue Jays-themed video parody of “Blank Space,” Taylor Swift’s hit song. The highly produced “First Place,” has lyrics like: Oh my god/Look at this team/Could be better than ‘93.
Those poor fools.