Back in 2006 the Dallas Mavericks won the first two games of the NBA Finals over the Miami Heat. With a 2-0 lead in the Best-of-7 series, they headed out for Miami to secure the first championship in franchise history.
The referees, Dwyane Wade and an anxious politician, however, had other plans.
Dallas Mayor Laura Miller – who inexplicably shrugged her shoulders when both the Rangers and Cowboys proposed building new stadiums near Dallas' Fair Park – began mapping out a parade route for a Mavs’ celebration. Those plans leaked to the media, were posted in the Heat’s locker room and – presto – the Mavs lost the next four games and didn’t get their parade until 2011.
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Obviously Texas Gov. Greg Abbott isn’t a Mavs fan, because he knows nothing about jinxes and the dangers of premature exaltation.
All of us in DFW want a Lone Star ALCS featuring the Rangers and Astros. But with Houston seemingly in prime position to hold up their end of the bargain Monday afternoon, Abbott’s office called the election. Prematurely.
After the Astros scored three runs in the 7th inning to take a 6-2 lead over the Royals, Abbott’s official office Twitter account tweeted:
Congrats to the @astros on advancing to the ALCS!. Hoping for an all- Texas #ALCS. Looking at you @Rangers.
Several things wrong with this Tweet. You don’t need a double-punctuation period after the exclamation point in “ALCS!.” Why is there a space between “- Texas”? And I’d prefer a comma after “Looking at you”, ya know, just for dramatic emphasis.
But the big problem? Um, the Astros lost. And the Rangers. Oops.
Abbott’s tweet went out at 3:02. By 3:30 the Royals had rallied for five runs in the 8th and went on to a 9-6 win. With a chance to clinch the series for the Rangers, Derek Holland was a worse thrower than the Cowboys' Brandon Weeden. He got six outs and gave up five runs. The team in Arlington fell behind 2-0 at about the same time and never even flirted with the lead in their Game 4 loss a couple hours north on I-45.
Perched for history, the teams produced a Texas 2-Stumble. Both teams now face Game 5s on the road Wednesday.
Honestly, I don’t believe in jinxes and karma and knocking on wood. But I’m a big fan of common sense. And Abbott showed a giant lack of it. Some are saying the offending account - @GovAbbott – is “fake.” I call B.S. It has 65,000 followers, tweets legit news and/or comments about the goings-on of the Gov. and is validated by Twitter’s precious little blue checkmark. Abbott has another account – @GregAbbott_TX – that also has the checkmark and a gaggle of followers.
But, sorry, if it comes from your “office”, it comes from you. In ’06 I’m sure Mayor Miller didn’t get out the pencil and protractor for the Mavs’ parade route plans, but years later she still gets the blame.
A bullpen and defensive meltdown cost the Astros. And Josh Donaldson and R.A. Dickey had more to do with the Rangers’ loss than some wishful Governor’s assistant. But both Texas teams had champagne and goggles in their clubhouses, and it all went unused.
To get our desired Astros-Rangers ALCS, we need to let Cole Hamels and Collin McHugh do the talking. And put a muzzle on Austin.
Heavy on the pitchers. Light on the politicians.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.