Oakland Athletics’ Sean Doolittle and The Curse of Jon Heyman
I was standing in the parking lot of In-N-Out Burger, a detail that will become salient shortly, when I reached into my pocket to retrieve my iPhone. As I stared down at my screen, I was delighted to discover that I had a message from Jon Heyman awaiting me in my inbox. For those of you who don’t know, Mr. Heyman is a baseball writer at CBSSports.com, an insider at MLB Network and WFAN and according to his Twitter bio, a big fan of In-N-Out. So to say I was surprised that Mr. Heyman was responding to me, would be an understatement.
It had all started with Mr. Heyman’s rather inflammatory tweet:
A shame the a’s and giants have to play these games at the coliseum while ATandT sits empty. #shame
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) May 29, 2013
The tweet elicited a wide array of responses, ranging from outrage to mockery to questions as to who the heck Jon Heyman was. But perhaps the most memorable reply came from Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Sean Doolittle. In defense of the O.co Coliseum Doolittle tweeted:
@JonHeymanCBS also your Sistine Chapel that is ATandT Park forgot the bullpens when they built the stadium so there’s that
— Sean Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) May 29, 2013
It’s not often you hear MLB players making allusions to Renaissance art, so it was quality stuff from the former University of Virginia standout. But then something awful happened. Doolittle, who to that point in the season had allowed exactly two earned runs in 23 innings and owned a sparkling 0.78 ERA, suddenly forgot how to pitch. Beginning the evening of May 29 (the day of his Sistine Chapel tweet) Doolittle began a stretch of five games in which he served up 10 runs in four innings. By June 8, Doolittle’s ERA had ballooned to 4.05.
I couldn’t stop thinking about that Sistine Chapel tweet, and how it seemed as though Doolittle’s season had begun to crumble immediately after he had pressed send. Perhaps, I thought, there must be some connection. So I decided to ask Mr. Heyman, well sort of:
— Karl Buscheck (@KarlBuscheck) June 10, 2013
And that is how I found myself standing in the parking lot of In-N-Out laughing hysterically. Here is how Mr. Heyman replied:
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) June 10, 2013
I gained a lot of respect for Mr. Heyman that day. It’s pretty cool that he took the 30 seconds to respond to me when you consider he has nearly 224,000 Twitter followers, and I’m not even one of them. But more importantly, I’m happy to report that Doolittle has turned in back-to-back shutout performances since my little exchange with Mr. Heyman. Perhaps one day Mr. Heyman and I might enjoy In-N-Out burgers at the O.co.