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Taylor Swift’s Baseball Magic Is Back

The singer-songwriter has released a new album, and you know what that means. So who has she anointed to win the World Series? (Hint: definitely not the Giants.)

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Well. OK. So. You know what we’re doing here, on this most blessed first day of playoff baseball in a blessed (OK, semi-blessed) (OK, mostly unblessed) year of a Taylor Swift album release. She of red lipstick, of four adjacent Tribeca homes, of—don’t look now—adulting: Her baseball magic is happening again, and we are here to parse it and the championship she hath foretold.

But before we do that, let’s pause for a brief refresher. At this point, the basics of the Swiftmissioner’s Trophy theory are widely known. Though a native of Pennsylvania with a birthright to any and all Chase Utley profanities, our country turned pop turned indie songstress seems to have forsaken the Phillies back in 2008. From that point on, she tapped into an ancient sorcery dubbed Even-Year Magic. In the autumns of 2010, 2012, and 2014, she released a new album, which on each occasion was followed by the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series—a relationship that swiftly (ha! haha!) tilted from correlational to causal based on the overwhelming evidence. (Such as: the Giants’ utter lousiness in 2011 and 2013, the triumph of even-year teams that were less than best-in-baseball caliber, the championship rings on fingers of players no one was quite sure were actually Major League Baseball players, etc.) Whether Swift was in cahoots with the baseball gods or whether she herself is a baseball god has never been established. (As of press time, Swift’s publicist had not responded to a request for comment.)

At some point after 2014, things changed. Swift broke from her previously rigid release schedule and did not put out an album in 2016; she also went through some, erm, turbulent times in the popular imagination. Careful observers (me) wondered whether these developments might alter her allegiance to San Francisco, and sure enough, the Giants tumbled through the back half of the season—just as Swift’s feud with Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West was becoming public—and went what is conventionally referred to as splat in the postseason. (Though Swift, ever gracious, did transmogrify rumors of a forthcoming album into the Giants taking a game off the eventual World Series champion Cubs in the NLDS.)

So if not the Giants, we very serious minds here at The Ringer dot com wondered as rumors of that album continued to swirl in early 2017, whom might she anoint in their place? We studied the evidence: her few but seemingly pointed public comments, the travel patterns of her cats, a hidden baseball cap in behind-the-scenes footage of “Bad Blood,” the walk-up music of one Preston Tucker. And we concluded that spring—you can check!—that Swift’s magic pointed indisputably to the Houston Astros winning the World Series that fall.

They did, in case you were wondering.

So here we are again. In July, Swift released Folklore, a surprise collaboration with the National and Bon Iver that has been widely hailed as the now-30-year-old singer’s biggest and maybe first step into musical adulthood. Which is to say: It is fall, and it is a Taylor Swift album year, and it is time for us to deduce who is about to win the World Series. Not by thoughtfully studying the strengths and weaknesses of the 16 squads poised to take the field this week, but by poring over itty bitty Taylor breadcrumbs, and the 16 (!) tracks on Folklore, just as the pinstripes in the sky intended.

(Wait, what about Lover, the album she released *last* year? You are asking. Are you just skipping an album entirely? Did her 2019 tunes bring about the Nationals’ victory? And, hey, since she was tied up in the whole enterprise, did she know that the Astros were cheating? “He’s in the club doing I don’t know what,” she sang—what sort of club, anyway? A ballclub??? Does “the worst of crimes” involve a trash can? Man, I don’t know. Go find a witch.)

Swift’s Astros prediction had been noticed by so few that many theorized that Folklore portended a resumption of Even-Year Magic and a 2020 Giants World Series victory—one that most certainly will not be happening, given that the team was mathematically eliminated on Sunday night. How best to set the record (ahem) straight and let the people know that Swift’s gifts are not bound to San Francisco?

Why, by personally anointing the Los Angeles Dodgers the winners of the 2020 World Series.

Consider, friends. The seed for the shift to the City of Angels may have been planted back in 2015, when the power went out during a July game at Nationals Park between the Nats and the Dodgers. The game took place just days after Swift performed in the stadium, and Nats ace Max Scherzer minced no words. “Well who was the last one to use Nationals Park last?” he wrote on Twitter. “Taylor Swift.. I blame her for the power outs tonight. We now have #BadBlood.”

Yes, Rebekah West Harkness, the real-life subject of “The Last Great American Dynasty” was from St. Louis, and yes, Joe Alwyn, Swift’s British boyfriend, has a troubling propensity for Yankees caps. But also: Joc Pederson is a noted fan. The Dodgers have catcher Austin Barnes, who shares a first name with Swift’s brother and was born in (no big deal) 1989. Cody Bellinger used to use “Style” as his walk-up song. Quoth Clayton Kershaw: “If you don’t like Taylor Swift, you’re just lying to yourself.”

Have I mentioned, as noted earlier this year, that if L.A. wins this year, it would be the Dodgers’ seventh World Series victory, and Swift just so happened to include a song called “Seven” on this year’s album? And could “Betty”—“Betty, I won’t make assumptions / About why you switched your homeroom”—be about anyone but Mookie Betts? (No, I do not think Blake Lively or Ryan Reynolds is involved in any of this, but since you’re asking …)

And lest you think that Kim Kardashian West’s Dodger fandom might pose a problem—well, Dodgers fans roundly booed Kanye West himself back in 2013, which he interpreted (perhaps correctly!) as prolonged comeuppance for his infamous VMA interruption of Swift in 2009.

A star finally getting their dues and pan-industry respect? Yep: Congratulations to the 2020 world champion Dodgers.