Orioles on the SI cover

26 Sep
September 26, 2012

Friends, neighbors, fellow Baltimorons:

(And we can call each other Baltimorons, the rest of you can just back away from the term.)

I ask you to put down the torches and pitchforks on this obvious affront to the baseball gods.  When Sports Illustrated called and asked for an essay they said nothing — nothing — about the cover.  It’s a big magazine, with a lot of sports coverage.  And I undertook what amounts to a sidebar-next-to-the-main-baseball-piece.  And, hey, all of that runs inside the mag as a package right?

Had I known about the cover, I would have written half as long, and misspelled every other word, and scrawled it in crayon.

Yes, I am worried.  Yes, at this instant — if not three days ago — I believe the jinx to be an absolute threat.  An SI editor first mentioned the cover in a phone conversation with me on Monday, late afternoon.  The O’s had won the first game of the Monday doubleheader, they dropped the second.  And then they were shut out for the first time in almost two months last night.

Right now, I am so tight you couldn’t pull a pin out of my ass with a John Deere tractor.


49 replies
  1. Tom Sheehy says:

    I am a Rays fan big time. Season tickets. If we don’t get there then I am an O’s fan (anything but Red Sox or Yankees). Beside that I grew up in Miami and played high school against Boog; or should I say I was on the same field. The My Home Team SI 7/17/14 is one of the finest pieces of writing I have ever seen, just re-read it for the 3rd time.

  2. Kathleen Pape says:


    I loved your article last year about the Baltimore Orioles, especially the opening. I may be misquoting, but I believe that it began, “They slip away from you. One day they’re using their glove to shield their eyes from the sun . . .” I’ve been looking for my soon-to-be ten year old’s SI with that piece in it, but I can’t find it. The other day I realized our the remaining years with our son in our home are now fewer than what we have already had. He’s slipping away, and I would love to read your piece again. Where can I find it?

    • David Simon says:

      I loved the chance to work on that. Thank you. So glad that SI called me last year.

      The magazine doesn’t post its content online, so you can either contact them and they’ll send you a copy at the newsstand price, or if they’re out of copies, I’ll send you one of my handful. Let me know if SI makes it easy for you. If not write back.

      Or actually, it now being months old, I could ask SI if they’ll allow me to post the text here. It will be their call, as I respect their unwillingness to compromise copyright by posting all content on the internet.

      Go O’s.

  3. Jim Winn says:


    Just read your SI article yesterday. Outstanding! What an amazingly fun, magical season we all had in Birdland! In regards to your comments about some Yankees buddies giving you a hard time about our low attendance during the White Sox mid-week series in September, hopefully you have returned the favor on them now as they have had a MUCH WORSE attendance issue during the playoffs! Several THOUSAND empty seats during ALDS game 5, and equally as bad in ALSC games 1 & 2! Inexcusable! Yankees fans have obviously grown complacent w/winning and have lost the hunger. In Camden Yards, however being at games 1 & 2 of the ALDS and witnessing how LOUD and raucous our fan base was…WOW! So incredible! Our fans are hungry. Of course we all wish we were still playing and it’s always tough to lose to the Yanks but what a fun season! Can’t wait till Spring!! GO O’S!!

  4. Karen Billing says:

    Just had to say that your SI article was the best thing I’ve read in the magazine in a long time. Amazing storytelling, I loved it.

  5. Susie says:

    Damn Yankees.

  6. Christy says:

    write more! write more! I have been checking your website every day hoping you would weigh in on the Os. Can’t you go back to the Sun just for the post-season and cover the birds? Please?

  7. AugieW says:

    As a kid that grew up in a port town on the Eastern Shore, this all has pretty much made my year. Look forward to reading your article, Mr. Simon.

  8. Maccabee Montandon says:

    I stupidly wrote this thing about the Orioles yesterday. And then they lost. I am hereby removing another jinx. Thank you. http://www.fastcompany.com/3001738/ifans-quest-follow-baseball-without-tv

  9. Maccabee Montandon says:

    Ain’t the beer cold???

  10. Justino says:

    Angels 7, Rangers 8!

    And with that, the drought has ended. Not that this is any time to relax, however. Not when the AL East is still to be had.

  11. Lee Krempel says:

    First heard the “tractor” line in Roseanne back in the day. I still hear that voice in my head — Roseanne’s voice, that is. I was probably 10 or something.

    Great line.

    Either way, the Os are keeping pace still. The damn Yankees just won’t cooperate.

  12. Maccabee Montandon says:

    Is it possible that by talking publicly about the jinx (and/ or by fasting) we’ve effectively negated its power? Here’s hoping.

  13. Miles Orion says:

    You fucked up. The cover??? Shiiiiiit.

  14. Peter says:


    This has nothing to do with the Orioles, but I’d be interested in your thoughts on this story that’s happening in Boston and presenting a huge problem for the criminal justice system:


    • Stephen says:

      So, if this has nothing to do with the Orioles, then why are you posting it to this thread? Not to denigrate your actual question, but I don’t think this is where it belongs. I’m starting to see a lot of thread hijack attempts on this blog and I was hoping this audience (meaning, one familiar with Mr. Simon’s works) would be above that…

  15. Timesink says:

    Brilliant SI piece. My son was also born in 1994, and grew up watching a losing baseball team – in his case, the Nats – and at the end of a miracle season he’s 400 miles away in college. Leaving him at school wasn’t one-tenth as hard as it is going to ball games without him. I know, I’m the weirdest mom in the world.

  16. Mike says:

    Loud knock on the door today. My mail carrier, a fan of that team up north (I refuse to print the name), hand delivered an envelope from Camden Yards (Wild Card ticket) with a note wrapped around it–something about the obscene nature of the item and ending with “Go [pinstripes]“. In her other hand was my copy of SI which she handed to me while smiling and chanting “jinx, jinx, jinx . . . . .”.

  17. Chris says:

    the last week of the schedule doesn’t favor us to win the division — finishing off with Boston and Tampa Bay while the Team Formerly Known as the Baltimore Orioles gets their shot at Toronto and then the Red Sox in the Bronx.

    but given the way last season ended for all concerned, stranger things have happened.

    i will make my daily tributes of cold beer to the shrine of Chuck Thompson

    as the city slogan once said, “Believe” (hon)

  18. DGN says:

    I’m seeing SI Covers for this week with Notre Dame football on the front and the DC/Baltimore articles as a top banner. I think the O’s got bumped….unless they’re doing different covers in different regions, which I didn’t realize that SI did.

  19. Half Coyote says:


  20. Half Coyote says:

    So I’m watchin’ the game and after the break the announcers show the cover of SI and I’m thinking oh God! Simon is probably thinkin’ curse right this second and then Jim Thome comes up and crushes one to right. Good times are here again. Can’t wait to read the article and I loved the one on the site by Laura Lippman. I think that is her proper name!

  21. Obamney says:

    Forget the tractor! Burn some sage or sweet grass immediately to assuage any lingering evil spirits. The baseball gods must be appeased.

  22. Alan says:

    Hi David. Wonder if you might be free this evening to come on a podcast and talk Orioles, Tight Asses, and general stress involved with (finally) being close to maybe possibly potentially being a playoff team.
    The podcast is called Baltimorons, and while we’re not quite “professional”, we sure do live up to that title. Plus, we have a lot of love to give.


    • David Simon says:

      This evening ended the Jewish Day of Atonement, so no, I have to send my regrets as I just got home after breaking my fast with family. Had I done anything outside the synagogue or family preserve, I am convinced that the Orioles would have lost tonight. The Old Testament God can be a vengeful and unforgiving god when He is provoked.

  23. Seamus Sullivan says:

    Don’t worry, the O’s have a surplus of good karma this year, all the jinxing in the world would not offset the fact the O’s rid themselves of Luke Scott.

  24. Jason says:

    haha… love that last line. Can’t wait to pick up a copy. Regardless the outcome of this season, I think the O’s have turned the corner and have a paved the road to being a competitive team for the next few years. Bundy, Chen, Hammels, Matusz (yes I still have faith in him) & Britton form a solid group of arms that can will win some games. They also have the entire bullpen under contract (I believe) for next year. A trade or two in the offseason to bring an extra bat or two to the lineup and this team could be very dangerous.

    Tonight (w/ the Yanks winning today) is a must win game.

  25. J Bibo says:

    It’s well-documented that the SI curse, while statistically significant, is a perfect example of regression to the mean. And if regression to the mean were the inescapable, every-case-in-time, iron-clad determinant of events it is often misinterpreted to be, the Orioles would be about 74-81 at this point in the season. I retain my hopes, lightly gripped as they may be.

  26. William says:

    Oh hey, roster, about the last couple of days… my apologies. Misdirected vilification.

  27. Anita says:

    Oh, man, you can’t mess with the baseball gods. They will get you. This was bad mojo, no doubt, but SI did trick you into it. (Nice cover, though.)

  28. Alex says:

    Hey, don’t sweat it! I don’t really blame you…yet.

  29. John says:

    As torturous as it would be for the O’s to miss the postseason now – you can’t completely blame SI. I just bought playoff tickets Tuesday. I take part of the blame.

    Let’s go O’s!

  30. Mrs. David Simon says:

    Oh, honey, not the tractor again.

    • David Simon says:

      A metaphor as crisp and visual as that one deserves the prominence that comes with regular rotation. Just because you’ve heard it a dozen times before doesn’t mean I’ve let it fly in prose so very often. And frankly, after getting venereal disease and incest in the published piece, I’m not sure I had anywhere else to go.

  31. Mike Olmert says:

    Can I just add, as a DC lad, I’m not too wild about the Nats and the Skins on that same cover. It’s not as dire, but there’s not much upside about an SI cover.

  32. Kevin Stevens says:

    That’s cool, leave the pin there, wouldn’t want you to go off like a grenade.


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