The Curse of The Bambino lasted 86 years. The Curse of The Baby lasted two weeks, although the term seems much too harsh for a precious child, and grandchild, who has known nothing but love and brought nothing but joy.
Just no Oriole wins until Tuesday night, two weeks after her birth on May 18th.
It had become a topic of conversation with BaltimoreBaseball.com writer Rich Dubroff, who promised that Juniper would see an Oriole win someday. She happened to be asleep at 10:29 Tuesday night when the 14-game losing streak came to an official end.
That she was born on Brooks Robinson’s 84th birthday, and that it took the Orioles two weeks to win a game is now part of her story. Part of her story that she’ll need to be told when she gets older, along with being born when the cicadas returned from their 17-year absence and created more noise than a hospital nursery.
Juniper was asleep in my arms when the Orioles took a lead on Tuesday night, occasionally moving her hands and sighing deeply, the cares of the world left to others. When her father, Cody, came back inside, I told him the Orioles were leading. “It’s early,” he said.
Cody had sent the first picture of Juniper when she was born and encouraged family members to guess whether the baby was a boy or girl. The telltale area was concealed, and I got it wrong. I wasn’t alone, but it became embarrassing when others suggested the baby be named after Brooks. It could have been Brooke, but Juniper fits her perfectly; it means young or evergreen.
As we age, we should never stop appreciating a childlike faith or the wonder in which children see life. I was thinking as I held her that the trust she has in those closest to her is beautiful in its purity. My arms represented the protection we want for our children and grandchildren as they step into a world that is much more difficult than a 14-game losing streak. And one that Juniper had nothing to do with other than that her birth coincided with its start.
When the Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1920, he had led them to three championships. Boston did not win another championship for 86 years, thus the Curse of The Bambino, one of Ruth’s nicknames. Boston and New York reversed their standing in baseball because the Baltimore-born Ruth was the game’s best player and its biggest star.
Juniper was born less than 3 miles from Loyola Blakefield, where Tuesday night’s winning pitcher, Bruce Zimmermann, played his high school ball. He was humble in victory, crediting centerfielder Cedric Mullins, who made an extraordinary catch of a Nelson Cruz drive, for providing the turning point.
It didn’t appear to be a turning point in Juniper’s young life, but she did sleep soundly that night, the curse having been lifted.