The Power of Fritos

Baseball is a game with more superstitions than all others combined. That's why I munched on Fritos throughout the entire seventh inning on Wednesday.

First, a bit of background.

During WVU games, I'm almost always on the field or court, shooting pictures for our website and the print edition of the Blue & Gold News. Football and basketball games provide a nice halftime break when I can go in, dump my cards to my laptop and begin processing photos so that our galleries and stories are ready to go after games. Baseball, unfortunately, offers no such break, so I'll often try to jump out of the photo box for an inning or so to accomplish this task.

During Wednesday's game against Kansas, I held out until the Jayhawks took an 8-2 lead. After the sixth inning, I headed up to our area on the third floor of the grandstand to get started, but I won't lie and say that it was a happy time. WVU was flat, and didn't appear primed to mount any sort of a comeback. I grabbed a bowl of Fritos from the pressbox while my card was loading, then began working on photos.

All the while, I'm keeping an eye on the game via the GameTracker app, and the scoreboard, which Chris Ostien, the jack of all trades video producer for IMG and WVU, can see through a curtain. And of course, as soon as I sit down, WVU starts hitting. We both have some Fritos, and WVU hits some more.

It's at that point that the superstition comes in. I'm conscious of many of them (don't step on foul lines, rally hats, and many others), but one of the most sacrosanct is to not change your position or what you are doing when a rally is underway, or your team starts playing better. So, I didn't go back down on the field. Instead, Chris and I agreed that karma would best be served by staying upstairs and keeping the Frito train rolling. While I did sneak a few shots from the upper deck, we mostly stayed back. And sure enough, the Mountaineers rallied to cut the lead to 8-7. Then this happened:

{Big roar from the crowd}

Me: "What was that?"

Chris, getting up to look, deadpans: "Cramer just hit a three-run homer."

Me: "No way."

Chris: "Yes he did."

Had I gone back downstairs to shoot, there's no way that Cramer would have hit that bomb. At least, not in the halls of superstition we inhabit. Had Chris and I not not kept tossing a few Fritos back, the rally would have died. I have no doubt.

Now, I'm not taking away anything from WVU's players and coaches in regard to this win. Randy Mazey's continued belief in the process of grinding out each at-bat and each hit was certainly a huge factor, was was his players' belief in that. Production under pressure was also huge. But I'm also sure that, somewhere in there, among the rally hats, "ones" and "twos" (rituals conducted by WVU players when the scoreboard ball-strike-out count is 1-1-1 or 2-2-2, there's room for a snack food.

I did eventually make it back downstairs for the final couple of innings, as my professional need to cover the action worked against the superstition. And that might have nearly been WVU's undoing, as Kansas mounted scoring threats in both the eighth and the ninth. The Mountaineers eventually held on, though, and from our vantage point, it was due to one overriding factor.

The power of Fritos.

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