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Baseball's 10th player: you, on your couch, willing a win. (iStockphoto.com)

For Baseball Fans, May The Force Be With You

by Hart Seely
Apr 27, 2012 (All Things Considered)

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Hart Seely knows the Yankees count on him to will each hit and each run. They can't win without him.

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Hart Seely

Hart Seely is the author of The Juju Rules: Or, How to Win Ballgames from Your Couch: A Memoir of a Fan Obsessed.

Remember that pod on the Death Star, where Darth Vader would go to be alone? Did you ever wonder what he was doing in there?

Well, I have a theory: I think he was watching ballgames.

The new baseball season is here. For me, it means reclaiming the war pod, the living room — or, as I prefer to call it: my personal corporate luxury skybox.

It's been closed since October, when my Yankees fell to the Detroit Tigers in the first round of the American League playoffs. The next day, it changed back into the "family room," a place devoted to the nightly hunt for top supermodels and the wisdom of hillbilly hand-fishermen.

I retrieved my lumbar pillow and found all three TV remotes — including one that hibernated all winter in the bowels of the couch, where nobody else would reach. I set up my 6-foot cardboard cutout of Mariano Rivera, our closer, placed the Yankee cap above the tube, and cleared the floor of nonessential debris, so I can pace my circles.

The best part of my war pod is its direct wormhole link to the Yankees. This allows me to help the team. I have a certain place to stand while the Yankees are at bat, and a certain place to sit when we take the field. With the game on the line, I use certain Jedi juju tricks, which — frankly — are not for public disclosure. And my family knows better than to ever burst into the war pod and ask, "What's the score?"

From here, I work each game, each batter, each pitch. At times, I have tweaked my back, keeping home runs from drifting foul. I have bruised my knuckles, punching the floor after a rally-killing double play. When the Yankees lose, the doors in my home expect to be slammed.

Part of me recognizes that nothing I do in my war pod can affect the outcome of a game taking place in a distant universe, far far away. The mere notion of it defies logic. It simply cannot happen. Everybody knows this.

But what if they're wrong? They were wrong about Pluto being a planet. Should the Yankees suffer because my faith has wavered?

In this world, I believe millions of fans have their own war pods, their personal skyboxes, where they work for their teams. Every game is a home game, and every night, our vast armies secretly duel, each of us clutching to the belief that somehow, we do have an impact. We do matter.

Spring is here. I have reclaimed the living room. Mariano is standing vigil. The season has begun.

May the Force be wearing pinstripes.

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