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Posts Tagged ‘MLB’

 

Gift Ideas For the Sports Fan

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Wondering what to buy the football fanatic, dance devotee, or basketball booster this holiday season? Disco Sports has you covered! Find jerseys, jackets, hats, and tees from their favorite NFL, MLB, NBA, MLS, and Premier League teams. We also have great small gift items like ornaments, mugs, and water bottles. Take a peek at a few ideas below.

And back for 2016, teach your future sports fans the joy of giving at our Little Reindeer Shop. It’s always a home run with kids & parents alike! Now, bring on the pumpkin pie & christmas cookies!

Roger Clemens: One More Chapter

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

On July 18, Roger Clemens was found not guilty on six counts of lying to Congress about his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs during his time as a MLB pitcher. This jury decision put to end a long and litigious saga that for years cast a dark shadow on Clemens’ illustrious baseball career. After playing baseball at the highest level for 23 years and spending the better part of 5 years embroiled in lawsuits about steroids in baseball, what does a newly-acquitted Roger Clemens want to do?

 

Play baseball, of course.

 

On August 20, it came out that Clemens would return to baseball as a pitcher for the Sugar Land Skeeters, part of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He will pitch in a game for the first time since his retirement in 2007 on August 25.

 

Inevitably, speculation has already started as to whether this could evolve into a return to the Major Leagues. “I think anything is possible, if you have the mindset and the will and desire to do it and put the time in,” said Clemens in an interview with CBS This Morning. Clemens continued to say, however, that it would be difficult and that he is determined to balance time spent with his family.

 

At 50 years old, many say that Clemens’ return is a pipe dream. It’s easy to see the perspective of this being Clemens’ attempt to put one more chapter in the story of his career – that his exit from the public eye comes not from Clemens in a courtroom but on a pitching mound. Clemens himself has disputed that narrative, saying to Sports Illustrated “As far as all that stuff going on in D.C., it had no bearing on me needing to play baseball. I just want to play and have fun.”

 

But let’s remember what made the Roger Clemens controversy so compelling – this isn’t an average baseball player. Clemens’ stat line currently reads at 354 wins, 3.12 ERA, and 4,672 strikeouts (3rd all time). He won 2 World Series, was named to the All-Star team 11 times, and received the Cy Young Award a dominating 7 times (most all time). Clemens made a career out of unprecedented achievements – which was why when he became linked to the divisive PED debate it was such a flashpoint issue. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see his performance in 2012.

Barry Bonds is a Character

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

We like personality in our sports stars. We like them to have a good story behind them, or some unique characteristic, and a well-defined reputation. We thrive on exploring those personalities in a very public way – look no further than LeBron James.

But we’re also undeniably interested as a culture in the dark side of personalities. We, the media and the people who consume it, can’t help but pay lots of attention to the bad-mouthers and the negative aspects of sports figures. Even if those aspects are only a small part of that person, possibly based on very specific situations.  Look no further than LeBron James.

Sometimes a reputation can follow you forever. Look at Barry Bonds.  His legacy is forever defined by his conviction for obstruction of justice over lying about taking steroids. But his reputation was less than stellar before that – despite his legendary career, he was known as a braggart and a poor teammate. This left him with few defenders by the time of his exit from baseball and subsequent steroids controversy.

So it is with a certain degree of wonder that we now take the news that he wants to come back to the San Francisco Giants as an instructor. Perhaps even more mysterious, though, is his assertion that he “created that guy out there” for entertainment purposes. The larger-than-life, spoiled celebrity image was then presumably not only a persona but an intentionally created one.

What we see here is a man looking to redefine his legacy. One wonders if this approach – calling it all an act, essentially – is the way to win back the hearts of baseball fans and the minds of the Giants office.

How to Lose a Fanbase: The Josh Beckett Story

Friday, May 11th, 2012
(Photo: Josh Beckett by Daniel Goldman | The Associated Press)

Boston: one of the biggest sports cities in America. Their fans are among the most diehard and the most outspoken for every team they root for. The Bruins. The Celtics. The Patriots. And of course, The Boston Red Sox. These are lifelong fans that have been through no shortage of hard times and good times. Fans that worship their biggest stars and revile their rivals. Long story short, Boston fans care immensely about their teams.

Enter Josh Beckett. Beckett made a big splash early in his career, winning the 2003 World Series MVP with the Florida Marlins in his third season. He was traded to the Boston Red Sox in 2005, and was handed starting rotation duties in 2007 – and rewarded the Sox with 7 consecutive wins. He made the All-Star team in 2007, 2009, and 2011. So why is he currently public enemy #1 in Boston?

Let’s get one big fat factor right out in the open: The Red Sox are losing. This all started with the Red Sox’s historically epic collapse at the end of the 2011 season, losing 18 of their last 20 games. The cap on the season was emphasized with a particularly poignant loss in Game 162. A turbulent offseason followed, and the bad mojo has continued thus far into the 2012 season, where the Sox currently sit in fourth place in the AL East.

In such situations, any team member could easily find themselves under a certain measure of scrutiny from the fanbase. But what Beckett has achieved is special. Let’s rewind back to that 2011 collapse. Perhaps you remember when the Boston Globe dropped the bomb that Beckett, Jon Lester, and John Lackey reportedly would drink beer, eat fast food, and play video games in the clubhouse during games (games of importance, games their team lost). This, shall we say, did not go over well with the fans. To them, and to everyone with common sense, it showed a remarkable lack of dedication to the team and passion for the game. Everyone except for Beckett, that is.

So when Beckett was discovered last week to have gone golfing on the day he was taken out of the rotation for stiffness and soreness, the reaction was predictable. Then when he came back last night and pitched rather poorly, the boo’s as well were predictable. But it was the post-game presser that really put the icing on the cake. When asked about his golf outing, Becket stated emphatically that he thought it was no one else’s business what he does on his off-days.

At this time I’d like to quote Mike Greenberg of ESPN’s Mike and Mike. “If you’re a fan, in my opinion, you can only ask two things [of players]: 1. Act like you care. Act like it matters at least as much as me…And the other is…at least give me some reason to believe you have an appreciation for how good your life is.” Mike used this idea to highlight the difference between Boston stars Kevin Garnett and Josh Beckett. He couldn’t be more right. Where Garnett shows his fervor for the game with everything he says and does, Beckett has shown nothing but flippancy.

 

Spring means MLB baseball!

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Ah, spring. The time we bid a fond farewell to college basketball, we turn our attention to some BASEBALL!

With MLB opening day finally here, we just received an awesome shipment of Nike T shirts and hats to celebrate the occasion.

Come get the gear for your favorite team and show your spirit!

 

How do You Get Ready?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Athletes are an quirky breed, and it seems like everyone has their own unique pregame routine. Sometimes it’s a motivator, sometimes a relaxer, and sometimes it’s getting every bit of competitive edge you can.

In the late 1970’s one of the most feared cornerbacks in the NFL was Oakland’s Lester Hayes. He went with the Raiders to two Superbowls, and was a five-time Pro Bowl player. He was also a big fan of Stickum, a glue-like substance used to improve one’s grip. Similar to pine tar on baseball bats, in Hayes’ case the application was such that he didn’t necessarily intercept passes as much as they stuck to him like a pest on flypaper. The NFL adopted a rule in 1981 called the “Lester Hayes Rule”, that forbid the use of a sticky substance on any part of the player’s body or uniform. Seems that it was good for catching footballs, but made Lester Hayesthe post-game handshake somewhat regretful.

Hayes wasn’t the only pro to be a fan of sticky stuff. George Brett hit a 2-run homer in the 1983 World Series that should have won the Royals a game over the Yankees. New York Manager Billy Martin, knowing that Brett was a fan of the tar, asked the umpire to take a look at the bat after the hit, and the umpire ruled that it was overly stickified. Brett was declared out and proclaimed the first major leaguer to hit the “game-losing home run.”Berserk George Brett

But it’s not always about getting an edge. Sometimes it’s just a bit of home-brew luck. Soccer player Laurent Blanc kissed the bald head of goalkeeper Fabien Barthez before every game leading up to the 1998 World Cup – which his France squad would go on to win.

Remember our blog about superstitions? Turk Wendell, pitcher for the Mets, liked to hit the mound with fresh breath. He had a vigorous brush before every game, and even brushed his teeth in between innings.

John Henderson likes for someone to smack him across the kisser just before he leaves the locker room for a game. Maybe it’s like a boxer absorbing some sparring blows. Only problem is, Henderson is a 6’7” 330 lb defensive tackle in the NFL. Now who wants that job?

Cricket is a curious sport involving a ball, a bat, and pins. It is somewhat like baseball, but it isn’t. It has some commonality with tennis, but it doesn’t. Fielding players are called “bowlers”, but aside from the “pins”, called wickets, it has nothing in common with bowling. It is played on a pitch, like soccer or rugby, and involves a crease, like hockey. It has little else in common with those sports either. Cricket players (Cricketers? Cricketeers? Chirpers? Jiminys?) have their own set of quirks. South African Neil McKenzie put every loo seat in the clubhouse down before entering the gentleman’s fray, and prepared for his battle by taping his bat to the ceiling. He later spent some time being treated for his obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Sometimes the preparation is a bit of showmanship, meant to inspire the crowd or intimidate the opposing team. Take for example the New Zealand All Blacks. One of the most feared clubs in rugby, they start each match with a Maori War dance. To be honest, I wouldn’t want to engage in physical contest with those guys. Maybe it’s the dance, and maybe it’s because they’re huge and made of muscles. Not sure.

And of course there is LeBron James’s well-known powder toss. Just before every game, James takes a clump of chalk powder (used by many players to keep good control on the ball – not unlike chalking a pool cue) and throws it up in the air in a now signature little cloud. You may have seen it depicted on a certain billboard. You know…before they took it down when James became the NBA’s favorite villian.

Other teams have mass-hysteria rituals. John Brown University fans launch a tidal wave of toilet paper at their team’s first bucket. Great for the fans, but it’s a free basket as it earns them a technical every time. Perhaps a better move is the fan participation stunt of biblical proportions performed prior to every Lawrence Central Catholic High basketball game in Massachusetts. A fan dressed as Moses approaches the horde of red-clad boosters and “parts” the Red Sea to sprint to the top of the bleachers and begin a team spirit chant.  We can’t vouch for the quality of Moses’ shave, but it gets the fans riled up.

All They Do is Lin

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Are you a witness to the Linsanity? If you haven’t noticed, there’s a fever sweeping the nation – even the world. And the only cure? More Jeremy Lin.

Another star basketball player – no big deal, right? Not quite. There’s something a little…different about this 23-year-old phenomenon. Let’s take a look at where this guy came from.

Lin played high school ball in Palo Alto, California, where he was a senior year captain.  He was first team All State and was a California Conference player of the Year.

Lin wanted an Ivy League education and had his sights set on UCLA or Stanford, but neither school wanted him.  Harvard said that they could get him playing time, but the school offers no athletic scholarships.  So Lin just went.  He did great at Harvard, being the first Ivy League player to record at least 1.450 points, 450 rebounds, 400 assists, and 200 steals.  He was a finalist for the John Wooden and Bob Cousy awards.  Through all of this, he managed to get to class and graduate from Harvard with a degree in Economics.

After college, Lin threw his name in the hat for the NBA.  While nobody bit, he did get offers to play on some Summer Leagues and in some mini-camps.  After a brief stint with the Golden State Warriors and an even briefer one with the Houston Rockets, Lin was picked up by the perennially struggling New York Nets. He was, in fact, bumped down to the Developmental League for a brief time, but after an impressive triple-double game he was brought back to the Knicks bench.

Then starter Baron Davis got hurt. Coach Mike Di’Antoni was considering cutting Lin, but with such a struggling team he figured why not see what the kid can do on the court. So in their next game against the Nets, Jeremy Lin went on the court.

February 4  – 25 points, 7 assists
February 6  – 28 points, 8 assists
February 8  – 23 points, 10 assists
February 10 – 38 points, 7 assists (beating out Kobe Bryant’s 34)
February 11 – 20 points, 8 assists
February 14 – 27 points, 11 assists (oh yeah, and also this game-winning last-second three)
February 15 – 10 points, 13 assists

These are not good numbers. These are GREAT numbers. These are record-setting numbers. And yet the numbers don’t tell the story; they don’t fully explain Linsanity.

You see, this doesn’t happen in the NBA. It just doesn’t happen. Of all the big-time sports in America, professional basketball is the most talent-driven and the most star-driven. And the talented are known quantities – often heralded since before high school as future stars. Stars played in the McDonald’s All-American Game when they were in high school. Stars were recruited to NCAA Tournament-caliber programs in college. Because when you have the talent, it gets noticed.

Except…it doesn’t. Not always. Not this time. Lin played for Harvard. Lin isn’t an abnormal physical specimen. Lin is Asian-American (unlike Yao Ming, who is Chinese). There is plenty, and I mean plenty, of discussion on the web about what sort of a factor race plays in the story of Jeremy Lin – and I’m not interested in rehashing that here. Suffice to say that when an athlete is able to overcome expectations and defies the conventions of their sport – be it conventions of race, nationality, physical factors, alma mater, or others – it is always worth celebrating.

What makes Jeremy Lin’s story so fantastic is all the angles – the unlikely hero who was never given a real shot is given one chance before being cut and becomes the redeemer of his struggling team and an overnight sensation. Now that’s a good hook.

Passing for Faith

Friday, January 20th, 2012

He was ranked as one of the top high school quarterbacks in the country.  He was heavily recruited and went on to attend the University of Florida, where he led the team to a National Championship.  He went on to win the Heisman trophy, and was a high draft pick in the NFL.  He is most well known for his faith.

Tim Tebow?

Nope.  Danny Wuerffel.

Every time that Tebow took a knee on national television, or said his post-game thank you’s we heard about his faith.  But he is hardly the first high-profile player to be of strong religious conviction.  Is it really such a big deal if he expressed his faith?

Wuerffel grew up the son of an Air Force Chaplain, and his faith has never been far from his life.  While spending time in New Orleans as a Saint (any irony there?), he began working with Desire Street Ministries.  They work in impoverished neighborhoods trying to make them better places to live and work.  In a recent interview with CNN, he talks of driving to the Superdome.  If he turned right, he would go to practice, but if he turned left, he would go to Desire Street.  After stints with a few teams and a run-in with Hurricane Katrina, he turned left.  His own personal Road to Damascus.

Reggie White from USA TodayReggie White was one of the most feared defensive ends to ever play football.  A University of Tennessee All-American who is in both the College Football and Pro Football Hall of Fame, he played for the Eagles and Panthers, but is best known for his many years of mayhem in Green Bay.  It was there that he won two Super Bowls and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.  His teammates nicknamed him the “Minister of Defense”, which not only reflected his skills as a pass-rusher and team leader, but also his standing as an ordained minister.

A 3-time Super Bowl winner, Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton is also the son of a Pentecostal minister.  He attended the first-ever Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp.  In a recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal he wrote of prayers before games that ended, “Amen.  Now let’s go kill those (expletive deleted)’s!”

And it’s not just football.

Mike Piazza of the Mets and Dodgers has never hidden his Catholicism.  He travelled to Rome, where he visited the Vatican and met Pope John Paul II.

As a long-time fan of Caddyshack, we fondly remember the scene of the Bishop playing the round of his life.  When Webb Simpson won the Greater Greensboro Open last year, he threw the trophy over his head and gave a shout-out to his maker.  Webb went to Wake Forest on an Arnold Palmer scholarship.  It was there that he majored in religion, with a minor, we can only assume, in golf.

Mohammad Ali was the World Heavyweight Champion in 1967 when he refused to go to Vietnam.  He was a conscientious objector on religious grounds.  His belief in Islam told him not to go.  He was publicly criticized and his objection and his faith have followed him to this day.  But like many of his public pronouncements, he was never shy about it.The Greatest

In a subtle irony, one of the greatest fights for The Greatest was with George Foreman.  Big George was beaten up pretty bad by Jimmy Young in 1977.  The man that Ring magazine called one of the greatest punchers of all time was exhausted, and fell ill in the locker room after the fight.  It was there that he was said to have had a life altering experience that led him to give over his life to his faith.  When he’s not trying to sell you cooking implements, George is an ordained minister.

Dikembe Mutumbo was a fearsome center in the NBA.  He practiced his religion while growing up in the Congo, and returned there upon retiring.  His continued work with the United Nations and CARE led President George W. Bush to mention him in a 2007 State of the Union address.

Bill Goldberg started off as a gridiron star, but became famous as a professional wrestler.  He is one of the few men to have defeated Hollywood Hulk Hogan.  Goldberg (“Who’s Next!) never hid his Judaism and is active in several charitable causes.

Tim Tebow may not be the subtlest player when it comes to taking a knee.  He is far from the only player to thank someone other than the coach after a big win (Why do players never blame a higher power after a crushing loss?).  The jury is still out about whether or not Tebow has any hope of having a career in the NFL.  He’s not exactly known for his passing or decision-making in the heat of battle.

At the end of the game, do we really care that he displays his faith?  Is his display any more arrogant than a Terrell Owens celebration?  Tebow plays football.  Who he plays for is up to him.

 

Just Play the Game and Roll With It

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

A late season interview with a member of the Washington Redskins heard him remark that a win (while rare for the ‘Skins this season) was fun.  They just played the game, had some fun, and rolled with it.  Some recent antics in sports would seem to dispute that sentiment.

In a game that was billed as the “Crosstown Shootout”, local rivals Xavier and Cincinnati faced off in an annual hoops contest.  Both schools are in Cincinnati, and the annual game is looked forward to by many, much like a VCU vs. U of R game here.

In interviews and on social media during the week leading up to the game there was a significant amount of jawing and braggadocio.  Players and fans of both schools claimed prowess and challenged their opponent’s abilities.  Then came game time.

After Xavier led most of the game and seemed to have victory in hand, the verbal taunting that had ruled the contest blew up into a physical altercation.  With less than 5 seconds left in the game, a Xavier player pushed a Cincinnati player, benches cleared, and fisticuffs ensued.  Players grappled, swung, kicked, and coaches struggled to clear the floor.  In a most egregious display, one player was caught with a blindside punch that left him on the floor, and as he struggled to cover himself was kicked repeatedly.  The end of the melee saw a player standing on the scorer’s table celebrating with the crowd.  At this point, referees called the game.

Things got really interesting after brawl.  For some inexplicable reason, Xavier coach Chris Mack made some of his players available for a post-game news conference.  Tu Holloway of Xavier, who was the celebrant of the scorer’s table, said that their behavior was to be expected.  “That’s what you’re going to see.  We’ve got a whole bunch of gangsters in our locker room.  That’s what we said we were going to do, zip ‘em up,” said Holloway.  Like, zip up a body bag?  Because that’s what gangsters do?

Did we mention that Xavier is a 180-year old Jesuit, Catholic school?

It was a little different across the hall.  Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin lit into his squad and took away their jerseys.  They didn’t deserve them.  He then went in front of the cameras and lamented that most of his squad would be lucky to be representing the school come Monday.  More to the point, he would be lucky to be coaching the team.  Cronin told reporters, “It’s a complete embarrassment no matter who started what.  Toughness is doing the right thing.  True toughness, you walk away from it.”

An Ohio prosecutor was considering pressing charges against some of the aggressors in the brawl.  He later declined to move forward as the schools seemed to have things in hand.  Yancy Gates, who knocked Kenny Frease to the floor with the blindside, received a 6 game suspension.  Tu Holloway, a brazen ringleader, was suspended for one game.

Really?

In 2009, Oregon Ducks running back LeGarrette Blount punched an opposing player after a game.  He was “suspended” for the rest of the year.  He ended up sitting out ten games and is now a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.

Texas Ranger Yorvit Torrealba is keeping in shape this winter by playing in Venezuela.  It was there that the catcher struck an umpire after striking out.  Venezuela has suspended him for 66 games, which is effectively the rest of this year and next season.  Major League Baseball and commish Bud Selig are “looking into it”.

James Harrison of the Pittsburg Steelers and Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions have been fined, chastised, suspended, and vilified.  Both use questionable tactics, but in Suh’s case, he was actually suspended for stomping on a player after a whistle.  Harrison has survived by paying several hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

And at last we see the return of the NBA.

Players and owners went back and forth for months to see who was greedier.  Just when Disco Sports fans thought all was lost, they came to terms.   Our Christmas gift this year was to get to watch some professional basketball.  In their first game of a ridiculously short season, Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics put his massive hand around an opposing player’s throat.  Perhaps he mistook the nape for a Spaulding.  Kevin’s penalty?  Nada.

If any of these players were gloved up and squaring off in the Octagon then some of this would make some sense.  But it doesn’t.  The New York Times recently did a series on Derek Boogaard, an “enforcer” in the NHL.  An average skater and mediocre stick-man, Boogaard was, at well over 6 and a half feet, respected for his fists.  In a career that took him from Minor League Canadian hockey to the New York Rangers, he played in almost 300 games, scored less than 20 points, and spent over 600 minutes in the penalty box.  He died of a drug overdose of painkillers mixed with alcohol and an autopsy showed a degenerative brain condition caused by concussion.  He was 28.  At least one NHL player has admitted to retiring rather than having to face Boogaard on the ice.

Not a fan of the hockey fight, either.

If two people in a parking lot contested the same parking space and an altercation ensued, there would be consequences.  If one shopper sucker-punched another, charges would be pressed.  If a dispute at the drive-through saw a driver reaching through the window and choking the attendant, someone would be facing jail time.

“sport:  (spohrt) noun:  diversion; recreation; pleasant pastime.  an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess.”

It’s fun.  Just play the game and roll with it.

 

 

 

 

What’s Your Rabbit’s Foot? Disco Sports on Superstition.

Friday, December 9th, 2011
Brian Wilson and The Beard

“Look at the ball.  Don’t look up.  Don’t look up.  Back one step, two steps, and three steps.  Don’t look up.  Don’t look up.  Left once.  Left twice.  Darn.  Looked up.  Look at the ball, don’t look up…”

We’ve all seen the pre-kick ritual.  Watched the player at the foul line bounce once, twice. Watched the golfer look and wiggle and look and wiggle.  Many of us have heard the yell, “Mom!  Where’s my lucky hat?”  We have our own quirks at Disco Sports.

Where is the line between ritual and superstition?  Coaches and sports psychologists have long believed in the importance of a ritual and visualizing a goal.  Much of it helps to build and maintain a particular technique.   A good practice swing.

A study of collegiate athletes in the NCAA found a couple of interesting things:

  • Athletes in individual sports (golf, swimming) had a higher belief in superstition influencing results than team athletes.
  • Female athletes were more influenced than male athletes.
  • Gymnasts used more superstitious rituals than football players.

A different study of Canadian collegiate athletes found variations in the rituals by sport:

  • Hockey players focused on equipment.
  • Basketball players on action like sinking the last warm-up shot.
  • Volleyball players on food.
  • Swimmers on the color of a suit.

Maybe it’s Tiger Woods and his red Sunday shirt.  Maybe it’s Brian Wilson and his beard.  Superstition certainly makes the leap to the pros.  Tiger and Brian aren’t alone.

Kevin Rhomberg of the Cleveland Indians would only turn left.  He also had to touch anyone who touched him.  If he was tagged out he would return to the base to touch the player that tagged him.

Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks took a page from Michael Jordan, who famously wore his North Carolina shorts under his Bulls gear.  Except that Terry sleeps in the shorts of his opponent’s team before each game.  At least they were clean.  Steve Kline, a pitcher for the Cardinals would pick a hat, and wear it for every game.  One hat, all season, no washing allowed.

Sometimes it’s food.  Brian Urlacher started each game day with 2 chocolate chip cookies.  Never one, never three.  LSU Coach Les Miles also has a pre-game ritual meal.  He chomps down on a piece of turf.  Keeps him connected to the game.  Does he have to floss after Astroturf?  Wade Boggs was famous for his chicken dinners.

Boggs was also famous for his punctuality.  He always took batting practice at 5:17 and ran sprints at 7:17.  He must have been an influence on slugger Larry Walker.  Walker played for the Rockies, Expos, and Cardinals.  Every batting practice?  3 hits and a rest.  3 swings before every at-bat.  He always set his alarm for 33 minutes past the hour, got married on November 3rd at 3:33 p.m., bought tickets for charities in blocks of 33 seats in section 33, and requested a salary of $3,333,333.33.

Turk WendellThe Kindred Soul Award goes to the duo of Turk Wendell and Mark Fidrych.  Both right handed pitchers, both fan favorites, both superstitious.  Both were notorious hand-shakers, and both had an aversion to the foul line, leaping over it going to and from the dugout.  Fidrych started each inning by carefully grooming the mound and talking to his baseball, while Wendell ended each by brushing his teeth.  Wendell made a fashion statement with a necklace made from the teeth of animals that he’d killed, while Fidrych made his with a mane of unruly hair that earned him the nickname “Bird”, as in Big Bird.  Fidrych liked to take a victory lap around the mound with every strikeout, while Wendell kept his eyes on his catcher.  If his catcher stood, he would squat.  When the catcher went back to his squat, Wendell would stand.  This dance continued into the dugout and the clubhouse.  Musical Bullpen Chairs, anyone?Mark "Bird" Fidrych

 

 

Superstition isn’t limited to baseball or basketball.

Patrick Roy of the Montreal Canadiens was one of the best goalkeepers of all time.  It all started with his goal.  He would start at middle ice, skate backwards to the goal, and whip around at the last minute.  He liked to scare the goal into submission.  He thought that they would shrink in fear.  Like, physically get smaller.  He wasn’t without respect, though.  He would frequently talk to the goal, offer encouragement, and thank the posts for deflections and protecting him.

I wonder if he played against Bruce Gardiner of the Ottawa Senators?  Early in his career, Gardiner was having trouble putting the puck in the net.  A veteran player suggested that he was perhaps too nice to his stick.  “Go dunk it in the toilet.  Show it who’s boss!”  He did, he scored, and for the rest of his career took his equipment to the lavatory before hitting the ice.

If you’re a life-long Redskins fan, there are probably some players and seasons that you’d like to forget.  Do you remember journeyman punter Reggie Roby?  Not the fastest release, not the best hang-time.  The Redskins were one stop in a career that sent him all over the league.  Why do we remember him?  He always wore a watch.  Always.The late Reggie Roby