I have a hat. I would say it is more than just a hat, but that would be a little melodramatic. It is a worn Oriole's trucker cap with a mesh back, plastic fitter strip, and an Ornithologically Correct Oriole Bird. The brim is a piece of plastic between two pieces of torn fabric. The front is sun-bleached a reddish brown. It is my hat.
In August of 2004, I was cleaning my parents' garage and uncovered this beat-up old hat. (Technically, it is my Dad's hat, but possession is 90% of the law and all that jazz). When the 2005 season rolled around, I started wearing it. You will recall that the 2005 season was the last time anyone could be excited about the Orioles. At the All-Star break, the O's were about 1.5 games out of first place, after holding first for most of the first three months. I had worn that hat for almost every game they won. But around July, I went on a road trip to Florida. I left the hat in my buddy's car. My buddy lived in North East PA. He kept saying he would send me the hat, but he never did. I didn't wear it, the Oriole's lost. I got the hat back in December.
Since that time, the hat has been my "lucky hat," although it has been less than lucky. Something was lost when I left it in that car. A trust was broken. I still wear it, mostly to show people that I am a long suffering fan and not a "pink hatter" (as is so prolific with the Red Sox bunch). I had not yet broken out the hat this season, in good part because Jane hates it and had rudely hidden it at the bottom of my hats.
But yesterday, I knew the team needed the hat. I scrounged for the hat, pulled it out, and put it with my bag to go with me to work. There was no way this hat was going to allow a 9 game losing streak. It was against its very nature as a lucky hat to allow such a thing. I went through my entire day with full confidence that the Orioles would win. My safety blanket was working.
But sure enough, they won. Ok, so it wasn't the hat. It was an offensive explosion behind clutch pitching. But seeing the team from Monday and then seeing the team last night, you couldn't help but feel like something had changed. It might just have been an old beat-up hat.