Using the Yi Jing to predict the outcome of sporting events is a tricky enterprise, as my Super Bowl forecast demonstrated this year. But the Yi always leaves open the possibility of human folly and contingency, and, thus, is not itself responsible for our inability to either understand or correctly act upon the wisdom of the oracle. In other words, it's always appropriate to ask the Yi Jing whether the New York Yankees will win. And when I asked today about next week's wild card playoff game, the Yi came back with a generally favorable response. As that profound Yi Jing interpreter, John Sterling, might say: "Yankees win! Th-th-th-th-the Yankess! Win!"
For those keeping score at home, the Yi presented me with Hexagram 59, "Dispersion," with moving lines in the first two positions, thus tending toward Hexagram 42, "Increase."
The Judgment of "Dispersion" gets off to a good start: "Success. The king approaches his temple. It furthers one to cross the great water. Perseverance furthers." Success! It is tempting to interpret "temple" here as the hallowed ground of Yankee Stadium, but perhaps that is too literal a take. "Crossing the great water," too, should not be taken literally: it usually implies that undertaking some significant task - like playing a single win-or-go-home playoff game - is auspicious. The Yi tells us how the Yankees should approach these favorable circumstances, since nothing is automatic either in baseball or prophecy. They need to maintain their team unity and follow the guidance of their leader, manager Joe Girardi.
The line statements make this even clearer. The moving line in the first position of Hexagram 59 tells us: "He brings help with the strength of a horse. Good fortune." The Wilhelm commentary continues: "...when hidden divergences in temper make themselves felt and lead to mutual misunderstandings, we must take quick and vigorous action to dissolve misunderstandings and mutual distrust." So, who is the "horse" here? It could be Tanaka, who has been a stalwart as starting pitcher this season and will take the mound on Tuesday. But the suggestion that "vigorous action" might be necessary could imply that Girardi will need to step in quickly should Tanaka falter and bring one of his other horses, most notably Betances. And should that have to happen early in the game, the team should accept it and stay united in their efforts.
Indeed, the nine in the second place points to some difficulty in the game: "He hurries to that which supports him. Remorse disappears." The mention of momentary remorse here is ominous. It could be that the Yankees fall behind early, that Tanaka is not as effective as hoped, and that Girardi might need to go to the bullpen early. But don't fear Yankee fans, clear leadership should yield good results. As the Minford translation states (and I am drawing on that text more and more as a supplement to the standard Wilhelm volume): "seize the moment. Regret goes away."
The tendency toward "Increase" is also favorable. Certainly, the modern connotations of the character 益, yi - "profit, benefit, advantage" - bode well for the pinstripes. And the Judgment of this hexagram also encourages playing the game: "It furthers one to undertake something. It furthers on to cross the great water." All of this furthering suggests the Yanks will get through to the next stage of the playoffs.
It should be noted, however, that weather could be a problem. Hexagram 59 is the combination of wind above and water below, and Hexagram 42 is wind above and thunder below; all of which suggests inclemency.
But, whatever the weather, it looks like good fortune ahead for the Bronx Bombers.