The first child came in 2003, the day before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Philadelphia Eagles en route to their first Super Bowl win. Brian Fasulo, the former host of WFLA's Daytime, became the proud father of Gabriella. The second child, Avery, arrived during the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, which the Tampa Bay Lightning won. Afterward, people joked that the family's third child would come the year the Tampa Bay Rays went to the World Series.
"I would always say, tongue in cheek, "Looks like we're never going to have another baby,' " Fasulo said. "And I must have said that 1,000 times."
Fasulo, 39, owns a television production company, and his wife Sandy, 35, works for the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office. He grew up in New Jersey a Yankees fan. She grew up in Boston rooting for the Red Sox.
It was during spring training when a doctor looked at a sonogram and told the Fasulos that their third baby was due in October — World Series month.
The Fasulos had done their part. The rest was up to the Rays.
Brian Fasulo wasn't optimistic about the team's prospects.
But Sandy found herself in the hospital — needing an emergency caesarean section — on the morning of Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
Out came Grace, the day the Rays lost Game 1 to the Red Sox. But the loss didn't diminish her reputation as a lucky charm.
When the Rays and Red Sox were locked in the fierce seventh game last week, one of Fasulo's friends sent him a text message.
"You better rub her head," the message said.
Fasulo shrugged it off.
"No seriously," the next text said. "Rub her head now."
So Fasulo reached his hand inside the crib and rubbed his little girl's head.
"Watch Aybar," he texted back.
At that moment, Willie Aybar was at bat for the Rays.
Smack. And the Rays are in their first World Series.
"We've got those championship kids of ours," Sandy Fasulo said.
Justin George can be reached at (813) 226-3368 or firstname.lastname@example.org.