I'd like to think I bring the Astros good luck, as evidenced by the winning streak that they've gone on since I arrived in Kissimmee. But I'm an engineer, not a practitioner of voodoo, so I am compelled to search for more logical reasons for events. So as an engineer, I am looking for what might have changed in the past few days, which may have resulted in a turnaround in the Astros' game performance. And I think I've found it:
It's the change in Lance Berkman's facial hair.
Last Wednesday, the day we arrived in Kissimmee, Berkman was wearing what appeared to be a two-day beard and the Astros lost yet again. Fast forward to Friday, when Berkman was clean-shaven, but still sporting gigantic muttonchops - he hit a home run in that game and the Astros won. Now look at today's game: The Fat Elvis sideburns are gone, Berkman hit two home runs, and the Astros won again. See the evidence for yourself:
A quick scientific analysis seems to indicate that Berkman is the opposite of Sampson (the Biblical one, not the pitcher): Less hair, more strength, and more success for the team.
Disclaimer: I have to be honest, since the new Administration in Washington has vowed to get rid of the abuse of pseudo-science in the promotion of fanciful beliefs. I actually don't have any idea how Berkman has been decorating his chops over the past few weeks, since I wasn't here. He could have showed up with whiskers like Bagwell's in 2000 for all I know. This is what I've been saying all along: If you aren't here at Spring Training, you can't really see what's happening. If only I could just call in sick for the rest of Spring Training, I could actually collect the evidence to back up this wild hypothesis, that Berkman is really the Anti-Sampson.
More importantly, I would have so many more observations about the team's strengths and weaknesses, on-field personalities, and maybe even an assessment of which Astro is most likely to replace Brad Ausmus in the fantasies of female fans and readers of Outsports.com. The Spring Training box scores and the few sentences that appear in Astros.com or the Chronicle after each game just aren't enough. There's just not enough information there, and definitely not enough pictures. (Thank Alyson Footer for the ones she's posted on her blog!)
So Berkman's hair probably doesn't have anything to do with anything. But who knows what might happen if Wednesday (after I've gone back home), he decided to shave his head?!!