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Oakland Tribune -  July 21, 2002

"Stars play ball with A's astrologer"



SO THERE YOU ARE, AN Oakland A's fan lolling about between innings in the upper deck at a night game, weary of dot racing and gazing up into the starry heavens, likely musing, "I wonder. Does Barry Zito's awesome curve come from a wicked wrist snap, or is it actually because his Mars is conjuncting his sun in Taurus and he's got a Jupiter transit and three planets in Leo?" Only your official A's astrologer knows for sure.

That would be Berkeley astrologer Andrea Mallis, 42, who has been dubbed the "official" celestial guide for the Oakland A's on KFRC radio's post-game show at 610-AM. She also writes a monthly piece for the A's Web site, and for the past year has been running players' charts and crunching numbers and coming up with some stellar stats.

Could this be the dawning of the age of astrology in baseball?

"The two actually have a lot in common," Mallis said, her enthusiasm throwing her words into high velocity. "They're both all about cycles and timing. Numbers and statistics. And as professional athletes, the players are always looking for an extra edge. So this just gives them some guideposts. Another tool to improve their performance."

And hey, not that ballplayers are ever superstitious, but if they're going to rely on something "extra," at least this sounds a little more civilized than leaping like a gazelle to avoid the foul line, or not changing their underwear during a hitting streak. No bodies that subscribe to the latter could be considered anything close to celestial.

Anyway, Mallis stepped up as the Athletics' starting astrologer last season after she'd gone to an A's game and read in the team magazine how pitcher Barry "Planet" Zito is a big fan of yoga and meditation.

"I thought, wow, a whole new generation of baseball players has arrived," she said. "That night, the A's won -- which was great -- then I went home and I ran the entire team roster's chart. I discovered most of the roster is in the Neptune-in-Sagittarius generation, born from 1970 to 1984, which means they're very philosophical and instinctively spiritual."

Inspired by this new view of ball players, Mallis started phoning in on the post-game show called "Extra Innings" on KFRC, hosted by Robert Buan. She was a hit, and soon was signed up for an "astrology minute" on the show, Buan said.

"She talks about what happened that game and how the stars affected it," he said. "She loses me on half the stuff, with moons and houses in certain planets or whatever. But it's different -- a novelty. Some people love it. Some don't. Sometimes I'll get e-mail saying how astrology is the tool of the devil. But at least they're listening."

This union of stars and sports is perfect for Mallis, who is an A's fan of astral proportions. "I love astrology and I love baseball, they're my two absolute passions on the planet," Mallis said. "So this is a gift for me for these to come together."

Her apartment-office south of the University of California, Berkeley campus is jammed (in an organized way, of course -- she's a Virgo) with astrological charts, plus anything with a star-moon-sun motif, dozens of books on astrology and quite an admirable Oakland A's memorabilia collection involving pennants, jackets, photos, beach towels and, most notably, bobble-heads.

"Even my lava lamp is green and gold," she said.

She has been as astrologer for about 12 years, with a private practice in Berkeley. But she's been a baseball fan even longer. She grew up about a mile away from Shea Stadium in Queens, N.Y., and was a big New York Mets fan. She still loves the Mets, but when she moved to the Bay Area in 1983, she fell for the A's.

And this woman knows baseball. Mallis can rattle off player stats from here to Pluto, and she says she "eats, sleeps and breathes" the game.

Mychael Urban, who puts together the A's Web page on the Major League Baseball site, said he enjoys Mallis' contributions. "Some of the newspaper sports writers make fun of us running her predictions, but when you're online you have to do something different," he said. "And the thing is, she's often right.

"For June, she was dead-on," Urban said. "It was really kind of eerie. The players who she said would turn around, did. She said Mark Mulder would come out of a slump right then, and he did and he ended up pitcher of the month for the American League."

That's of course because Mulder was going through a very difficult and intense Saturn transit, which is nothing to do with the car, of course.

Mallis said the stars were favorable a couple of weeks ago when the A's new five-year lease agreement was completed. "That day it was signed, the new moon was in Cancer," she said. "Cancer, of course, has to do with a sense of home, family, roots. And the new moon, that signifies new beginnings. So the fact that the A's got their new lease that day was very auspicious."

The Oakland A's -- as a team -- have not officially endorsed Mallis and her planetary proficiency, but she's hoping someday they will. "They have team psychologists. Team masseurs. Team doctors," she said. "They probably wouldn't go for the title of 'team astrologer,' but I'm hoping to be Director of Intuitive Arts."

A lot of the players seem to get a kick out of all this. "You get players like Eric Chavez who say they don't believe in it," Urban said. "But then you get the free spirits like Barry Zito, and he reads it and really likes it."

Mallis says she has held individual consultations with certain players, but for client confidentiality reasons can't say who.

Mallis says her work is not about making predictions. She's no Jimmy the Greek. Astrology helps "foresee energies, not events," she said. But she still might want to expect calls from some Vegas bookies.

So Andrea, what does the A's energy look like in October?

"As an A's fan, I'd love to see them win the World Series," she said. "And as an astrologer, I think they have a pretty good chance."

One of Mallis' favorite movies is the 1970s flick, "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh." In it, Stockard Channing is the astrologer for a basketball team. After doing all the astrology charts, for team chemistry, she renames the team the Pittsburgh Pisces. They subsequently go on a huge winning streak.

"I guess she's the closest thing I have to a role model," Mallis said.

(c) 2002 The Oakland Tribune. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

Photo credit: D. Ross Cameron ANG Newspapers


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