Considering this is the eighteenth year of the century, it’s no wonder you’ve frequently heard Alice Cooper’s first big hit on local early music stations. Although “Eighteen” is a song about age, it has never been more appropriate this year than in the four and a half decades since it was released on the band’s Love It To Death album.
Year 18 will probably still be a good one for Alice Cooper and her first Top Twenty single, but that number so far hasn’t looked promising to some of those involved in baseball. In fact, the eighteenth letter of the alphabet has been a veritable curse on Major League Baseball teams whose names begin with R.
More than half of the basement dwellers after the first week and a half are R clubs, whose combined record has been 15-26. Those four teams, according to most predictions in sports publications, will likely finish at the bottom in ’18.
Of the quartet, the Rays have suffered the most. Tampa won its first game against Boston, but has lost every game since. That record currently has them looking to the rest of the American League East.
The Royals have faded only slightly better in the AL Central, where Kansas City has posted just two wins in seven games. Their NL counterparts, the Reds, are also holding up the rest of the Central with just a couple of wins.
Cincinnati provides even more evidence for the curse, a word that cannot be written without the R in the center. The player who almost single-handedly led the Reds to one of their two victories with a five-RBI game against Pittsburgh, third baseman Eugenio Saurez, broke his hand and will likely spend significant time on the disabled list.
Also cursed by the eighteenth letter (and the misfortune of having to open the season against the Astros World Series Champions) are the Rangers. Although Texas has twice as many wins as the Reds and Royals, they still rest in the basement of the AL West.
Defying R’s curse so far in 2018 is Boston, which has won nine in a row after losing its opener. Still, Fenway Park fans may want to refer to their club simply as the Sox, avoiding the colorful adjective that precedes it.