THE GRAVITY of the first-round playoff defeats by both Bay Area baseball teams doesn't hurt nearly as much as the manner in which they bombed. For J.T. Snow, the best defensive first baseman of our time, to let that ball roll through his legs like Bill Buckner, it doesn't make sense. For Rich Aurilia to boot several grounders, for Marquis Grissom and Jose Cruz Jr. to drop routine fly balls, something was oft-kilter. For both Eric Chavez and Miguel Tejada to become obstructive on the basepaths and self-destructive at the plate was positively eerie. For Eric Byrnes not to touch home plate was outright spooky. For Keith Foulke to become Joe Slusarski in Game 4, and for Ken Macha to pinch-hit for Jermaine Dye in Game 5, the earth had to be off its axis. Or possibly the planets were misaligned. I put no credence in astrological mumbo jumbo, but the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's played as if their Zodiacs had been zapped. No two teams ever seemed
so hexed. Perhaps paranormal forces were at work. To find out, I interviewed Andrea Mallis, a Berkeley astrological consultant who writes for various baseball publications, is featured on ESPN and is a bonkers A's fan. Mallis said Mercury, the planet of communication, dexterity and coordination, was in a retrograde shadow period until Oct.5, which explained the confusion surrounding the A's in the Boston series. "Delayed flights, breakdowns, mishaps, weak links revealed," she explained before breaking these problems down individually. "Chavez is a Sagitarius," she said. "Neptune is right next to his sun, making him dreamy, kind, vulnerable (against the Red Sox). He had one foot on the gas, one foot on the brake." And one hit for the series. "Tejada is a Gemini," Mallis said. "Geminis are ruled by Mercury's shadow, and he was clearly trying to do too much. Forced to demonstrate the validity of what he's doing." In likely Tejada's farewell
with the A's. "Byrnes is an Aquarius," she said. "They're high-strung, a bundle of nerves. Mars is a crucial planet for an athlete because it has energy, assertion and aggression. But Pluto opposed Mars -- that happens once every 248 years -- and he had too much energy." Even to remember he needs to touch home plate to score. "Foulke is a Libra, a sign of balance," Mallis continued. "Saturn, the planet of limitation, squared Mars, setting up a conflict. He wasn't in a winning frame of mind." Right, David Ortiz? "Macha is a Libra. Indecisive, impulsive, with aggressive behavior," she said. "Libras have conflicts over authority and leadership." What's that you say, Terrence Long? You too, Jermaine? Clearly the A'strolologically jinxed Oakland team folded like a taco. Was it the same jinx on the Giants, perhaps their moons in the wrong houses? "Felipe Alou is a Taurus," said Mallis. "Stable, reliable, steady, good endurance.
Jupiter, the planet of expansion, made a challenging aspect to Mercury, the communication planet, and threw all this energy at Alou, putting him in danger of making impulsive, inappropriate decisions." Like keeping Jason Schmidt from pitching Game 4 against Florida? "Snow is a Pisces, one of the more passive signs of the Zodiac," she said. "Mars opposed Jupiter, which meant he may have overestimated his abilities and was in danger of overconfidence." Leaving him with his worst-ever E3. "Grissom is an Aries, the fire sign. Warrior, muscular, great competitor. Saturn squared his birth chart, which led to an identity crisis of self-confidence, that you've made a wrong turn in life." Or wrong turn of the glove. Cruz also is an Aries, which includes yet another negative. "Poor judgment," said Mallis. The worst. Mallis offered a separate appraisal of Barry Bonds. "He's a Leo," she said. "He wants the stage. He wants to be domineering.
It was very irritating to him to be. ..." Walked, walked, walked. However, if Bonds maintains his superstar status next season at 40, and with Brian Sabean magically pulling strings, the Giants should repeat at division champions. Los Angeles can't hit, and Arizona's pitching is too old. And with Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Ted Lilly and Rich Harden forming a five-man rotation for the ages, who's going to beat the A's in their division, even without Tejada? But for both teams to advance past the first round in 2004, it will depend on Mars, Jupiter, Vladimir Guerrero ... or simply not choking. Dave Newhouse can be reached at (510) 208-6466 or by e-mail at email@example.com .
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Andrea Mallis is an avid baseball fan and creator of Virgo in Service Astrological Consulting. She’s the official astrologer on “Extra Innings” Oakland A’s radio. Her numerous sports astrology profiles are published in magazines for the Athletics, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Tigers and Padres. Recently featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight, she resides in Berkeley, California, she can be contacted at 510-874-4911, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.virgoinservice.com