Considering it is the eighteenth year of the century, it comes as no surprise that I have frequently heard Alice Cooper’s first huge hit on the local oldies stations. Even though “Eighteen” is a song about age, it has never been more appropriate this year than it has in the four and a half decades since it was released on the band’s Love It To Death album.
The year of ’18 will most likely continue to be a good one for Alice Cooper and his earliest Top Twenty single, but that number so far has not looked promising for some of those involved in baseball. In fact, the eighteenth letter of the alphabet has been a downright jinx for Major League Baseball teams whose names start with R.
More than half of the basement dwellers after the first week and a half are R clubs, whose combined record has been 15-26. Those four teams, according to most predictions in sports publications, will likely end up at the bottom in ’18.
Of the quartet, the Rays have suffered most. Tampa won its opener against Boston, but has since lost every single game. That record has them currently looking up at the rest of the American League East.
The Royals have faded only slightly better in the A.L. Central, where Kansas City has managed just two wins in seven games. Their counterparts in the National League, the Reds, are holding up the rest of the Central with just a pair of wins as well.
Cincinnati provides even more evidence of the curse, a word that cannot be spelled without the R in its center. The player who almost single handedly carried the Reds to one of its two wins with a five RBI game against Pittsburgh, third baseman Eugenio Saurez, broke his hand and will likely spend significant time in the disabled list.
Also cursed by the eighteenth letter (and the misfortune of having to open the season against the World Series Champion Astros) are the Rangers. Even though Texas has twice as many wins as the Reds and Royals, they still rest in the basement of the A. L. West.
Defying the curse of R so far in 2018 is Boston, who has won nine straight after dropping its opener. Still, fans at Fenway Park might want to refer to their club as simply the Sox, avoiding the colorful adjective preceding it.