Sunday, January 29, 2012

“I’m Not Superstitious, But I Am A Little Stitious”

Last week, we argued our case for why we should be arbitrators. Then we asked if you’d want us on your arbitration panel. 6 of you voted, “yes. You wear suits. And that’s awesome.” It sure is awesome. 1 person apparently didn’t like what we had to say about players being overpaid jack-a-loons and chose, “Oh, HELL no. Taco Bell? Are serious? You’re going to pay me in chalupas? F that!” We’ll have you know that we’ll take Taco Bell any day of the week. Stop being so spoiled.

It’s been a crazy week in New York, celebrating the Giants advancing to the Superbowl for the second time in just a few short years (yes, we know that this is par for the course for the folks up in New England, but give us a break). There’s been a lot of talk of not washing one’s jersey until the Giants lose. As if washing our jersey will somehow wash the magic of victory from our favorite teams.  It got us thinking. What other superstitious habits do fans and athletes (professional and unprofessional) have? Superstitious habits that we truly believe will make some sort of difference in the game’s outcome (or our personal performance). As fans, when we fail to perform these habits, we’re devastated when our team loses because we are the primary reason our team performed so poorly. As athletes, we missed that line drive or struck out because we failed to perform these habits. Some of us may be fully aware that these traditions are completely silly, but we’re not willing to take the chance and NOT partake in them. Others…well…others just have a special way of thinking that’s all.

Let’s cover the fans first, shall we? We’ll pick on ourselves first so that everyone else we pick on doesn’t feel bad about themselves. On the subject of the New York Giants, we legitimately think that our actions AND wardrobe before AND during the game make a difference in regards to how the Giants play. That is why Osi Umenyiora has been the TBB Super Hero of the Week for over a month. We can’t risk changing the Super Hero and having the Giants lose. Let’s start with our pre-game rituals. Lisa comes over to Serena’s house early in the morning. Serena then works us out until total, absolute fatigue. Serena takes a photo of Lisa half-passed out in pain on the floor and posts it to Facebook like a true friend. We take turns showering (as in not together). We get dressed. Both of us wear long-sleeved white shirts and Serena’s unwashed Giants jerseys (to stress this fact: we wear TWO different jerseys. We are not squeezing into the same jersey like a two-headed monster from Sesame Street). Lisa also wears her Mets fleece zip-up. Serena wears knee socks and a necklace with an elephant charm on it. Lisa goes to Brian’s Deli around the corner and buys us egg sandwiches (3 eggs, bacon, cheese, black pepper, ketchup, to which we add hot sauce pilfered from Croxley’s Ale House). Lisa has an in-depth conversation with the clerk at Brian’s Deli about superstitions. The deli clerk has a giant Santa wearing a Giants uniform on his front lawn that has remained lit since the Giants/Jets game. His block must be thrilled with the fact that it’s almost February and he still has a giant light-up Santa on his front lawn. Serena makes us coffee. We eat. After breakfast, we blog. At game time, Lisa wraps her head with Serena’s fleece blanket (aka: her burkah), Serena climbs under her Egyptian cotton comforter, and we drink beer. We do not leave our positions for anything until a commercial break. Even if the temperature of the room becomes stifling, Lisa is not to take off her burkah and Serena is not to remove the comforter…or her pants. While this bizarre behavior may be strictly applied to the New York Giants, we tend to exhibit similar habits during the baseball season. If the Yankees or Mets are on a winning streak, we don’t wash our jerseys. If the team has lost a game while we’ve been in attendance wearing a specific hat, we never wear that hat again during the season (don’t worry, we have plenty of Mets and Yankees hats to make up for one being removed from the rotation).

Next up is Noah (and we should forewarn you that 98.8% of our poll panel is from the same bar that we steal the hot sauce from. We also never got out of our seats to conduct this poll because we’re lazy, so the people mentioned here are pretty much individuals within our vicinity, customers who made the mistake of getting a drink at the bar near us, or employees of aforementioned bar). Noah wears the same jersey and drinks the same beer at the same bar during each game. Noah’s friend, Brendan, drinks an unsweetened iced tea from Dunkin Donuts and he doesn’t wash his jersey. If his team loses, he is overcome by a feeling of failure. That’s his words, not ours. This is the one time where we did not put words into someone else’s mouth. The boys also talked about their friend, Sage, who was not in attendance. Before walking into a Yankees game, Sage always orders 3 Ozzy dogs (we’re not even sure what kind of hot dog that is) from the same street vendor.

Joe explained that during a game, he wears only regular clothes. He does not like to represent the team.

Bill has an old throwback Lawrence Taylor jersey that he only wears on special occasions. It’s only washed after a loss. He’s currently 7-1 with this jersey. Even though the white fabric of the jersey is sporting a stain, he will not wash it until the Giants lose. He will definitely be wearing it for Superbowl. A minor ritual he has before every game is that he posts the same Facebook status prior to the game. That status is, “Gameday.”

Now for the athletes. We don’t care who you are. If you play or once played sports, you have participated in superstitious behavior whether you realized it or not. For example, Serena played college softball with a girl who when she was on the mound, had to start each approach to the mound with the following system: stand at the rear of the circle, take 3 steps toward the rubber starting with her right foot (the third step lightly kicking the rubber with the toe of her right foot before planting). If any part of this procedure went awry, she had to start over again or else the mechanics of her next pitch would be off. Another pitcher on Serena’s team had to face the outfield between each pitch and scan the field to make sure every player was in position before approaching the mound. These are all superstitions. That committing the same act over and over again will in some way, effect what’s going to happen next.

Our paneled athletes came from the same pool (with a few exceptions) as our sports fans panel (remember, we’re lazy). Chris the Bar Back (and hot wing arbitrator) and a fellow patron (also named Chris) both have an at bat ritual. While standing at the plate, the boys use their bat to make a cross (you know…tap north, tap south, tap east, tap west) across homeplate. Chris the Bar Back also had other traditions: it’s bad luck not to wear his #23 wristband during a baseball game and prior to football games, he performed the same stretching routine.

The Great Awesome Super Fantastic Adam The Bartender (yeah, he had absolutely no involvement in how he was portrayed in this blog post) spits in his glove every time he gets into his position at short stop.

Herve played soccer, volleyball, and baseball. Regardless of which sport he was playing, he had to have a vanilla shake before every game. He also wore a lucky wristband.

Serena wore her hair in pigtail braids until a batting streak came to an end. Prior to stepping into the batter’s box, she waited until the catcher was in position. When getting into her position at third at the start of each inning, she smoothed the dirt just ahead of her with her right foot.

Lisa had no pre-game rituals as a cheerleader. Or if she did, she can’t remember them.

You know you’ve seen the professionals do it as well. Ever notice the at bat ritual of Joe Mauer or Nomar Garciaparra. It’s so repetitive that it’s like a tic. It could drive a person crazy to watch these routines over and over and over and over again.  Mauer kicks the dirt around in the batter’s box, runs his hand up and down the handle of the bat, steps into the box and taps his helmet with his left hand. Nomar fiddled with his batting gloves before stepping into the batter’s box and performed some sort of twinkle toes routine combined with a bat swish. We tried to find a better video of it, but this was the best we could do. Ignore the fat man who abruptly steps into the camera’s view just before the second pitch. You can see the whole routine just before the third pitch. Craig Biggio never washed his helmet. It was gross. By the end of the season, it looked like it was dipped in the La Brea Tar Pit. We’re not going to even touch upon the whole Jason Giambi golden thong situation. In fact, we just threw up a little bit in our mouths.

Superstitions can spill onto the pitcher’s mound as well. Ever notice a pitcher who has a no-hitter or perfect game on the line is always sitting at one end of the dugout by himself? And despite the fact that a no-hitter and perfect game is one of the most exciting things to witness, no one ever talks about it while it’s happening? As fans, we don’t even like to talk about it, fearing that it may jinx the pitcher…unless, of course, you want him to fail. Then you chat that sh*t up every chance you can.

Feel free to email us or post a comment to this blog about your strange rituals. We look forward to hearing from you.

Now onto some semblance of normalcy: this week’s baseball notes! On Tuesday, Jorge Posada officially announced his retirement. You can view the video of his speech here. You’ll notice that his wife is extremely hot. Watch this video with caution. It’s a little emotional and we’re a touch embarrassed to admit that we teared up a bit. Serena remembers when Posada when he first came onto the scene. He was a great hitter and a sh*tty catcher who eventually usurped Joe Girardi (who worked with Posada on his fielding skills, mind you. It was very similar to when Anakin Skywalker betrayed his mentor Obi-Wan and struck him down. Yes, we just compared a real life situation to Star Wars. Don’t judge us) behind the plate. At first, Serena hated Jorge and missed Joe (a similar sentiment that Mamadukes felt when Don Mattingly retired and was replaced by Tino Martinez). Over the years, Posada’s ability behind the plate vastly improved and his big Dumbo ears gradually grew on Serena.  Now as we think about how we’ll never see Jorge Posada bat at Yankees Stadium ever again (except maybe at Old Timer’s Day), we can’t help but feel old. First Andy Pettitte. Now Jorge Posada. You know Mariano Rivera’s retirement is gonna come sooner rather than later. He’s like 500 years old. He’s the Yoda of closers (see how we did that? Brought it full circle back to Star Wars again). Then all we’ll be left with is Lisa’s favorite Yankee: Derek Jeter. It’s an end of an era. It’s the Circle of Life. And it moves us all.

The Yankees have officially acquired RHP’s Michael Pineda and Jose Campos in exchange for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi. With Seattle, Pineda went 9-10 last season with an ERA of 3.74 and finished 5th in the American League Rookie of the Year Award voting. He led all AL rookies in strikeouts (173) and strikeouts per 9 innings (9.11). The Yankees have also re-signed Andruw Jones to a 1-year contract worth reportedly $2 million with $1.4 million in performance incentives? Really? You need performance incentives? How about a f*cking cookie, you d*ck licker? How about if you don’t do your job well, my foot goes up your ass? F*cking a-hole. Go back to Atlanta. Oh, wait, now they’re too classy for you. What’s another d*ckhead team that you can be a part of? Hmm…the Red Sox. Go frolic around the outfield at Fenway and let them pay you performance incentives. PS- you spell your name wrong, you f*cking d*ck.

Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants have agreed on a 2-year deal worth $40.5 million. It’s a little disappointing that they came to this agreement considering we were ready and able to arbitrate that situation. We tried on outfits and practiced speaking in legal jargon. Serena practiced not using the word, “f*ck.” Or any variation of that word, like f*cked, f*cking, f*cks, f*cker, f*ck-ass, mother f*cker, etc.

As the great Stevie Wonder once said, “Very superstitious behaviors at the bar. Very superstitious unwashed jerseys about to smell. Your 13-hour batting stance broke the no-hitter. The goat’s brought the Cubs 66 years of bad luck. The good things in your past. When you believe in things you don’t understand, then you suffer. Superstition ain’t the way.”


  1. I wore the same disgusting, sweaty T-shirt under my uniform during a 12 game win streak, both to practice and the games. It was never washed for 2.5 months, and it started getting slimey after 2 weeks. It was no fun, but I got really superstitious and kept throwing on that awful thing every day. Fortunately, we kept winning and won a championship.

    I'm just thankful it wasn't a pair of underwear.

  2. That is both amazing and disgusting at the same time! Thank you for sharing with us.

  3. Hmmm, I gotta start getting to write my comment earlier so I don't have the "ewwwwwwwwwwww" moment I just had.

    I had my own particular routine when batting, where I would spit into my hand, then grab some dirt from the batters box and rub my hands together. then kick the dirt for a spot for my back foot, grind my spikes into the dirt. The id reach out to tap the outside of the plate, and finally take a few practice swings. Finally, I'd settle down, and stare straight into the pitchers eyes.

    I know I had a reason for each of these particular items that were not associated with the feeling that I had to perform each and every one in that order. The spit and dirt thing was to make the bat not slip in my hands. The kick and grind was to make me feel like my back foot was lower, which just felt right. And reaching across the plate was to make sure I could reach the outside corner. Staring was just an attempt to get in the pitchers head.

    But . . . I performed that little ritual literally hundreds of times. I can't say whether I ever thought about it, I just did it, and it never varied, except once. And I hesitate to tell you that the one time I didn't, which was in the middle of a come from behind rally, I merely strode to the plate and looked at the pitcher. His first pitch landed well over the fence down the right field line, and capped the rally with a three run homer. Weird thing . . . I only remember the pitch on the way in, and I never saw it go over the fence. It was also the only opposite field homer I ever hit, until many years later in a beer softball league, when I began routinely hitting that way.

    Before I finish this, I do have to grudgingly wish you good luck with the Giants this weekend. I am sure it comes as no great surprise to you that I am not a fan of those Jersey Giants (yeah, that's right, they play in New Jersey) but just like the reluctant admiration I have for the Yankees, I gotta at least give the Giants their due for their success this year, with impressive victories in the playoffs and returning to face the Patriots once again in the Superbowl. So good luck ladies, even if I can't root for your guys.

    And one day, we just gotta get the whole lowdown on Serena taking off her pants in bed . . . must be a story there somewhere.

  4. I promise you that there is no story in regards to taking my pants off. I just don't like wearing them in bed...or around my apartment when I'm alone. They're constricting and I'd rather hang out in bed without them on. It's that simple. I've suffered no traumatizing incidents at the hands of pants. I'd just prefer them to remain in my dresser drawer. I also promise that when I have company or when I go out in public, I wear legitimate clothing. I do not go to work or out to a bar in my underwear.