Monday, August 31, 2015

How Stitious Is Joe Maddon?

After Jake Arrieta's masterful no-hitter* Sunday night, Joe Maddon channeled his inner Michael Scott, saying, "I'm not superstitious. I'm just a little stitious ... I watch The Office every night." The comment received chuckles from reporters, but it stuck out to me as a pattern.

*The phrase "masterful no-hitter" might seem redundant, but it's not. For instance, Andy Hawkins and the Yankees irreparably uglied up the game of baseball in 1990, but Hawkins still twirled a no-no. Of the six (six!) no-hitters this season, Arrieta's 98 tied for the highest Game Score.

Maddon's affinity for Michael Scott quotes shouldn't surprise us. Way back in February, upon his arrival at Spring Training, Maddon said, "Never permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure of the moment." At the time, I noted that the manager's comment was a great set-up for a "That's what she said" zinger.

Anyways, it's a good thing that the Cubs skipper isn't superstitious about mentioning no-hitters, because ESPN did its best to jinx Arrieta toward the end of the game. Here's the graphic that the Worldwide Leader showed at the close of the eighth inning:

Arrieta defied the jinx and struck out the side in order during a terrific ninth frame. Now, if only the Cubs could get rid of the pesky curse that hit Meredith with Michael Scott's car...

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Follow Francis Tolan on Twitter @frantweet

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