Thursday, February 22, 2007

Are You Superstitious?

“I don’t know if it’s you guys [the media] or the players or what, but somebody out there has got something against us. Or somebody’s not living right. If you guys are very religious, please go to church. Pray for us.”

Charlie Manuel, Phillies Manager July 7, 2006

Originally hired as an usherette for the 1980 season, my work with The Phillies ranged from ballgirl to market researcher to fan liaison. I sold the most season tickets in 1985 and attended over 600 games, playoffs, World Series, five All-Star Games and fifteen parks while with the club.

The Phillies won their first World Series my rookie year and the National League Championship in 1983 but have had just two winning seasons since my departure in 1986.

I moved to New York in 1986, the Mets won the Series.
I moved to LA in 1988, the Dodgers won the Series.
I moved home, had my son a week before the 1993 Opener, and the Phillies won the NL.
I moved back to New York in 1998, and, well, those damn Yankees have made the playoffs nearly every year since—and there was that Subway Series in 2000…

Baseball sparked with superstitious talk of the curses on the Cubs and the Red Sox during the 2003 League Championships, and then the Sox rocked the World Series in 2004, saying bye-bye to the Curse of the Bambino.

Now we go Meta: I wrote The Constitution Blues to lift the apparent curse off my old team...

The Constitution Blues

The Constitution Blues is a baseball lover’s roman รก clef, a girl’s story of faith, doubt, sex, hope and a superstitious curse on her hometown team. The backdrop is America’s pastime, the issue is Choice.

Our Irish-Catholic heroine, Mary Katharine “Mick” Carmichael, goes to work for her hometown ball club, the Constitution Blues, gets involved with a rookie, makes a tough call, and then quits in the midst of personal turmoil when it seems a curse befalls the team. The Blues’ fortunes only grow worse, though, so Mick decides she must tell the owner the truth—“to change the luck.”

With the persistent misbehavior of professional sports figures, the crisis in the Catholic church, and recent attacks on the Constitution and women's rights, the time is ripe for this story, for it sits at the crossroads of these hot-button societal issues. Quotes of statesmen and those of letters and lyrics are sprinkled throughout the text to add historical color and contemplation to the play-by-play.

The Constitution Blues is grounded in authenticity. I worked for the Phillies for seven seasons, sold group and season tickets, at other times started their Fan Accommodations office and wore the team jersey as a ballgirl—playing behind Schmitty and Pete, those two entwined in Major League Rule 21, the twisty curse-causing broken rule of the book.