I am in Kathmandu. This morning I visited the Great Stupa of Boudhanath, a magnificent temple in the heart of the city where many pilgrims gather to pray by walking around the stupa and by spinning one or more of any number of prayer wheels. Our guide, a young Nepali, had been with us for five days, and he and I had struck up a relationship as I asked and he answered my many respectful questions about the people, culture and religions of Nepal. As I observed the petitioners spinning the wheels and praying, I asked him what it is considered appropriate to pray for. He said that one could properly pray for literally any good thing. I asked whether this included the success of a sports team. He said such a prayer would be entirely within accepted norms. I then asked how one prays at the stupa. He said that a petitioner should walk around the entire circumference of the building in a clockwise direction while quietly uttering the prayer and then follow this by walking entirely around one of the large prayer wheels in a clockwise direction while touching the wheel and quietly repeating the prayer. So I did both of these things. I walked around the stupa and then around one of the large prayer wheels while quietly asking that the Indians be permitted to win the World Series this year.
At the exit near the large prayer wheels sat a very old woman with a deeply lined face who was begging for money. She spoke not a word of English, and I of course speak no Nepali. Nevertheless, I thought it might be helpful to enlist some additional spiritual help for our team. So I gave her 20 rupees and in a friendly but firm tone of voice asked her to pray that the Indians win the World Series this year. In response, she smiled broadly but also emitted a low, mordant chuckle. From this I assumed that in her state of heightened spiritual enlightenment she somehow knew that we are simply lacking in starting pitching.