Tagged: J-Roll Smurf

Strange Baseball Superstitions

The Definition of Superstition:  is a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge. The word is often used pejoratively to refer to supposedly irrational beliefs of others, and its precise meaning is therefore subjective. It is commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy and spiritual beings, particularly the irrational belief that future events can be influenced or foretold by specific, unrelated behaviors or occurrences. (Latin superstitio, literally “standing over”; derived perhaps from standing in awe; used in Latin as a unreasonable or excessive belief in fear or magic, especially foreign or fantastical ideas, and thus came to mean a “cult” in the Roman empire)

So, are the following weird baseball superstitions just plain strange or is it a case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?  You decide:

Chris Coste smells his bat after hitting a foul ball – he says it is part superstition and partly because he likes the smell of burning wood.

Ron Wright always shaved his arms, believing it helped him hit.  He was called up to the majors in Seattle in 2002 after 8 years in the minors:  In three at bats, he managed SIX outs with 1 strikeout, and then grounding into a triple play, then a double play his final at bat.  He was sent to AAA never to be seen in the Majors again.  I don’t suggest anyone try the arm shaving anytime soon.

Wade Boggs (1982-1999) earned the name “Chicken Man” because he religiously ate a whole chicken before every game.

Turk Wendell (a former Phillie) use to chew exactly 4 pieces of licorice while on the mound and then brush his teeth in between every inning.  He also liked to wave at the centerfielder before pitches – whoever was out there must have really been wondering about Wendell.

Mark (The Bird) Fidrych (Tigers, 1976-1980) used to talk to the ball after each pitch.  I wonder if it ever spoke back?

Kevin Rhomberg (Indians, 1982-1984) had some serious issues.  He was obsessed with having to touch a person back if they touched him.  He did this everywhere; the clubhouse, the dugout and even on the field.  If he was tagged when he was on base, Rhomberg would wait until the end of the inning and then chase down the infielder and touch him before he reached the dugout.  Someone please fetch Dr. Phil…

– Barry Bonds always kissed his gold cross necklace after he hit a home run.  Maybe he should try this strategy in court?

– While with the Yankees, Roger Clemens always visited Monument Park to touch the head of the Babe Ruth statue before he pitched in Yankee Stadium.  He also gave all of his children names that began with the letter K.  Maybe now he should send them all to law school.

Frank Viola (1982-1996), a three-time MLB all-star pitcher and former Cy Young winner, would clean the mound before every inning, kicking up the dirt exactly four times. However, if something went awry, he would try three or five.  Whatever it was, it worked!

Mel Stottlemyre, the Yankees’ longtime pitching ace (1964-1974), did not like stepping on the foul line.  One day, after a coach teased him about it, he went ahead and stepped on the line.  Immediately following, he gave up 5 runs in one inning.  He never stepped on a foul line again.  Greg Dobbs, current Phillie, once admitted to having this superstition.  He may have been joking at the time, but I was not about to ask.  I would have felt awfully bad if I embarrassed him by insinuating any silliness on his part :o)

– Pitcher Jose Cuellar (AL, 1964-1977) had many superstitions.  He would not allow anyone to throw him the ball to start his warm-up pitches or between batters.  He insisted on picking it up off the ground.  Teammates would roll him the ball and if they didn’t and threw instead, he’d move aside and let the ball drop.  Cuellar also had a ritual of eating Chinese food the night before any game he was going to pitch.  And on the day of that game, he showed up to the clubhouse dressed in all blue – suit, shirt, tie, socks and shoes; all blue.  He even drove a blue car.

Bobo Newsom (NL & AL, 1929-1953) would never tie his own shoes on a day he was scheduled to pitch.  He literally stood around until someone did it for him.  Really, I think this is just plain laziness J

Lou “The Mad Russian” Novikoff (NL, 1941-1946) insisted that anytime he batted, his wife Esther, was to taunt him mercilessly from the stands.  Apparently, the shouting of insults from his wife made him angry and he hit better when he was angry.  Marriage counseling anyone?

Kevin Elster (Mets) discovered in 1988 that sleeping with his bat was the key to success.  Once the hitting began, he even took the bat out to lunch with him.  Separation anxiety, perhaps?


 – Houston Astros Craig Biggio does not wash his batting helmet for the entire season.  Yuck!

– Former pitcher Charlie Kerfeld (1985-1990) had a lucky “Jetsons” T-shirt.  After winning 6 or so games while wearing it, he decided to wear it every day until the magic wore out.  I am guessing players tried to avoid him in the clubhouse…peeww!

 Dion James (Braves, 1988); during a 16-game hitting streak, James decided not to wash his underwear for fear that it would break the streak.

Vida Blue (pitcher, Athletics) believed that the same baseball cap he had worn since Opening Day in 1974 had special powers and brought him good luck for 3 straight seasons.  By the time 1977 rolled around, it was so dirty and faded that umpires refused to let him wear it any longer.  Blue burned the hat on the field and then proceeded to lose 19 games, a league high that year.


– Tito Fuentes (Giants, 1965-1974) liked to spray “voodoo juice” on his glove, arms, hands and feet.  He also carried a pouch with an eagle’s claw and turtle shells in his back pocket.

Steve Finley / Darin Erstad; as teammates on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2005, both players have worn a small leather pouch containing a mysterious concoction of minerals around their necks to ward off injury and slumps.  The pouch was given to Finley by Craig Counsel who then passed it to Erstad in his “time of need.”

Jenn, your happy Phillies blogger: 
Thumbnail image for P5250748 Smurf.jpg
Yes, it is true that I believe Smurfs have magical voodoo powers.  And damn if I wasn’t right!  J-Roll Smurf and friends (photo) beat up on the NL East opponents all year and sent the Phillies straight to a World Series victory!  Yes, J-Roll Smurf takes full credit

And no list would be complete without the old standards in Baseball Superstition:

Sports Illustrated is a bad magazine to have your picture on apparently.  In a 2002 study, it was found that 37.2 percent of the time (913 out of 2,456 covers to that date), something bad happened to the cover subjects. That includes nearly 12 percent that suffered injuries or death.  The very first SI cover was of Eddie Matthews of the Milwaukee Braves; shortly after the cover ran, Mathews injured his hand, missed 7 games, and the Braves fell out of first place.  Spooky or coincidence?  Hmmm….

The Curse of the Bambino: Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees and it took the Sox 84 years to overcome the curse.  The Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, ending a lifetime of “bad luck.”

The Curse of the Billy Goat, a curse on the Chicago Cubs: Tavern owner William “Gus” Sianis was angered when his pet goat was not allowed into a World Series game in 1945. Sianis then announced that Wrigley Field would never see another World Series.  Apparently, this curse is still in effect today.

The Curse of William Penn on the city of Philadelphia:  Supposedly, when Philadelphia City Hall was built with a statue of William Penn (founder of Pennsylvania) atop it, there was an agreement that no building in the city would rise above the Penn statue.  But in March 1987, a modern steel-and-glass skyscraper called One Liberty Place opened three blocks away which was 397 feet taller than City Hall, thus enacting the curse.  No Philadelphia professional sports team had won a major Championship after that, until just this past October.  It took 100 sports seasons and 25 years to get a win, but the Phillies did it by winning the World Series on October 29, 2008.  And so, the curse is over.  Philly fans everywhere can rest easy.


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The Voodoo Returns…

In light of the Phillies recent loss to the Tampa Bay Rays and the terrible absence of offense for the Phils, I have decided to take drastic measures.  Yes, I have dusted off old J-Roll Smurf and he is back to doing what he does best:  Voodoo magic on the opponent.  
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But this time, his has a partner in crime.  Chutley Smurf, although smaller in stature than J-Roll Smurf, carries a bat that is proportionately larger to his body size than that of J-Roll Smurf. 
J  He is a pint-sized warrior!  And so together, these Phillies-lovin’ Smurfs will conquer the enemy – The Rays.  This is the World Series: this is no time for the meek.  Crush those squirmy fish!

J-Roll Smurf (Rollins) is batting only .191 so far in the post-season with just 2 RBI.  Not too Smurfy so far…  It is our hope that he will break out of this slump tonight in front of the friendly, Smurf-Lovin’ crowd.  Chutley Smurf (Chase Utley), on the other side of 2nd base, has done slightly better, but certainly not what anyone expected.  He has 7 RBI, is batting .250 and has hit 2 home runs.  Clearly, both players are in need of an injection of Magical Smurf Juice to get them kick-stated in the right direction.  I think the home crowd will be just what the doctor ordered.

The Rays, while they are undersea creatures, are not used to stormy weather and they are sure in for some this weekend.  The pampered players from Tampa Bay will certainly miss the climate and weather controlled deep-sea environment of the Dome they normally play in.  Look for the weather to play a part in the games tonight and maybe Sunday.

In the event of a rain-out tonight, all games will be pushed back one full day.  Therefore Game 3 would be Sunday night, Game 4 on Monday night and Game 5 on Tuesday, which was originally a travel day.  But so far, it is game on!  I will be there tomorrow night if the rain holds up with Chutley Smurf in tow, attached to my backpack.  J-Roll Smurf gets a much needed day off as he has outgrown my backpack. J  If you see me wandering around, please say hello or toss Chutley Smurf a ball!  And stay tuned for more World Series Smurf adventures, coming your way soon!  And for those reading who are wondering if I have gone off my meds, then you may be in need of a humor injection.  Go find yourself a stuffed toy and give it a great big hug!  I promise you will feel much better J  Go Phillies!

Read more at MY OTHER HOME PAGE!  Phillies Phollowers has joined forces with Phightin’ Phils Phorum!  Please check out our new site and bookmark it.

And for the football fans, I have also started a Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod!  All Dol-Fans, and anyone else who wants to say hello is welcome!

Remember also to check out our homepage My Team Rivals and our Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, Billy Penn Curse, Reinstate Pete Rose,  Phillies Mets Rivalry, Phillies Marlins Rivalry, and Phillies Braves Rivalry pages!

Kendrick Gets Smacked Around In LA

Kyle Kendrick did not fare so well in Hollywoodland last night as he got beat up by the Dodgers in 3 1/3 innings, giving up 7 earned runs on 9 hits.  Manny Ramirez,
P7143277 manny cr.jpgas anticipated, did major damage, picking up 2 RBI’s on a double in the 3rd off of Kendrick.  The rest of the line-up followed suit as Kendrick was unable to stop the bleeding.   And as adorable as I find Manny, I am afraid that J-Roll Smurf is going to have to perform some of his voodoo magic again and STOP Manny from beating up on my Phillies!  This is just unacceptable.  Maybe Manny should spend the entire game in the bathroom, and not just the 9th inning?  I am all for that idea…

Despite the early pounding by the Dodgers, the Phillies offense did battle back and came within 2 runs, losing 8-6 by the end.  They had 2 men on with 2 outs in the 9th for Ryan Howard who meekly grounded out to second to end the game.  It was a valiant attempt at a comeback, but they fell just short.  Howard did manage to reach the 100 mark in RBI’s for the season though.  He is only the second player in Phillies history to reach 100 RBI’s with at least 30 homers in three straight seasons.  Chuck Klein did it also: 1930-1932.

So, good news, bad news I guess.  Bad they lost the game…good the Marlins & Mets also lost, so no ground lost in the standings.  Another positive is that Wes Walrond had a good outing on the mound, going 2 2/3 scoreless innings.  Perhaps a sign that he may wind up being useful in the pen after all?  He does have a wicked scary breaking ball that seems to really fool hitters.  Let’s hope he can be of some use.  Another positive note was that the offense never gave up, even after being down by as many as six runs in this game. 

Cole Hamels will try to bounce back tonight after missing out on his 10th win, yet again on Thursday.  Another late one – 10:10pm EST; get out the toothpicks and prop open your eyes J  Go Phillies!

Phillies Win A Wet One & J-Roll Smurf Tours The Stadium

Well, I drove through a very scary hail storm and sat through a nearly 2 hour rain delay, but eventually, the Phillies pulled out a win for me.  Jamie Moyer logged another quality start today in this water-logged event, going 6 innings of rain-filled fun and giving up 3 runs.  But the highlight of the day was watching the 45 year old Moyer take out umpire Randy Marsh on his way to second base after a throwing error by the Pirates in the 3rd inning.  And when I say he took him out, I mean seriously, he pushed with both arms and THREW the man to the ground to get him out of his way!  And then another throwing error on the same play landed Moyer on third base.  The next batter, Jimmy Rollins, hit a sac fly to left to score Moyer who exhaustedly ran straight from home plate and directly into the dugout to sit down.  After the game, Moyer joked, “There was no oxygen on first or second.  They had the oxygen tank at third.”

P8107515 utley dobbs cr.jpgAnother highlight tonight was watching Greg Dobbs break a record that has stood for 95 years when he hit his 21st pinch hit of the season in the 7th inning.  That double scored Carlos Ruiz and tied the game.  Later that inning, Chase Utley hit a 2 run home run to give the Phillies the lead.  And I am sure he felt a lot better, as earlier in the 5th, he hit into a double play with the bases loaded to end that inning.  Speaking of double plays, Eric Bruntlett is still on a roll; in his 0-4 performance tonight, one of those managed to be a double play, all of them were easy ground balls and NONE of them left the infield.  I’ll say it again…PLAY GREG DOBBS!  Geez!  And to make matters worse, Charlie Manuel is batting Bruntlett in front of Ruiz…??  All I can say is, they won today, despite this and thanks to the pinch hit of Dobbs, home run by Utley, and pitching.  But how many more games should we have to overcome this error in judgment?  Just a thought…

And here is the moment you have all been waiting for!  J-Roll Smurf also had a super day at the ballpark, as did everyone who encountered him.  I have never had so many people ask me questions…everyone wanted to know where I got him and how they could get one.  All I can tell you is…E-Bay.  And the clothes are by Build-A-Bear Workshop.  Of course, the players name and number are a “custom” at home job.  J-Roll Smurf got lots of hugs today!  And as I wandered the park, pimping out my stuffie, I took a few PHOTOS J  Below you will see J-Roll Smurf finding things to do during the rain delay, like check out his beloved 2007 NL MVP Award.  In the second photo, he was attempting to save other Smurfs from a blue, fluffy death in those plastic tubs…I explained the joys of cotton candy to him, and he felt better…
Smurf collage 1.jpg 
Finally, the rain ended, and it was on to the game where J-Roll Smurf helped to keep score.  He was very excited to see the Phillies win today and even participated in the wave as it rounded the stadium. 
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If you would like to see the rest of J-Roll Smurfs tour of the stadium, please CLICK HERE to go to my photobucket page and see what other mischief he got into.  There were a few odd incidents with ketchup packets, strangers on elevators and romp in the fluff with multiple Phanatic stuffies…  Worth a look

Well, that’s all for now!  Oh, FYI…the Alumni Batting Challenge was cancelled today due to the rain, in case anyone was unaware, thus no photos of that.  I know, bummer :o(  Anyway, on to LA to face the Dodgers…10:10pm EST tomorrow…yuck!  We are in for some late nights here….Go Phillies!

J-Roll & Myers Combine To End Phillies Offensive Woes

The drought finally ends…whew!  The Phillies beat the Pirates tonight by a score of 4-2, thanks in large part to another outstanding starting pitching performance.  This time, it was Brett Myers who put forth the quality start, going 7 2/3 innings with 1 earned run given up on 5 hits and one walk while striking out 6.  Myers was extremely displeased about being removed from the game late in the 8th inning, but I am guessing Charlie Manuel just wanted to make sure his outing ended on a high note.  JC Romero got the final out that inning and then Chad Durbin pitched a one-run 9th to earn the save, as Brad Lidge was given a night off.

The other half of the puzzle, which has been mysteriously missing for oh, 23 innings or so now, was the offense, which followed the lead of Jimmy Rollins tonight and managed to score a few runs. (see “Happy Dance” below:) 
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J-Roll led off both the 1st and the 7th innings tonight with triples; and both times, Shane Victorino got the job done and was able to knock the run in.  Greg Dobbs, in at third base instead of the “oops, I hit into another double-play” guy, Eric Bruntlett, went 2 for 3 with an RBI – a serious upgrade to the offense, to say the least.  I constantly hear people argue that Bruntlett is better defensively than Dobbs but frankly, I don’t buy it.  I have seen them both play.  If anything, I’d say they are about the same, in which case, you should play the better hitter which clearly is Dobbs.  And just for fun, look at their numbers:  Dobbs has 1 error on the year; Bruntlett has 6, although he has played more games…I’ll give him that.  So, go to lifetime fielding percentage:  Dobbs – .974%, Bruntlett – .964%.  Like I said, not much different.  And Dobbs was originally a third baseman – it is his best position.  Let the man play!

P5230738 smurf.jpgOk, that is my rant for the day J  I will be at the park tomorrow to see the last game of this series and to watch the Alumni Batting Challenge before the game.  I will try to get some photos for everyone!  Also, J-Roll Smurf
 will be in attendance taking a tour of the stadium and talking to the people
J  Say hi if you see him!  He loves cuddles from strangers…  Naughty smurf! J 

Also, I want to send out a huge THANK YOU to IAN who recently wrote to me to let me know that the lady I saw at the Nationals game on 7/30 in DC who was badly injured by a foul ball was ok.  I am so glad to hear it!  Everyone in our section was very worried about her so I am glad to report she made it out of the hospital in one piece and is doing well!  Thanks again Have a great night everyone!

Kendrick Helps Phils Shut Out The Marlins

Going a full 6 innings without giving up a run, Kyle Kendrick improved his overall record to 10-5 with tonight’s P7306493 kendrick cr.jpg5-0 win over the Florida Marlins.  As is Kendrick’s usual style, he had quite a few base runners, including 5 walks, but pitched his way out of jams when he needed to.  Chad Durbin went 2 scoreless innings as well, looking extremely sharp and Ryan Madson finished them off in the 9th.  J-Roll Smurf was also very excited about the pitching performances and he celebrated by bashing a Fish senseless J  Later tonight, he will have a stiff drink and prepare for tomorrow’s Fishy Voodoo…

The other great news is that the offense came back tonight.  Last night, they had 8 hits and scored only 2 runs.  Tonight, they had 9 hits, but scored 5 runs.  The difference is situational hitting and driving runs in when P7306699 cervenak cr.jpgthere are runners in scoring position.  Chase Utley hit his 30th double of the year for an RBI; Ryan Howard smashed home run #32; Even Eric Bruntlett who usually has a quiet bat, went 2 for 3 with an RBI.  The rookie Mike Cervenak got his very first major league hit and first RBI in his 3rd pinch hit appearance.  Here is a photo of him for those wondering who he is…another Independent League product, much like Chris Coste was.  I had a chance to talk to him in Spring Training…very nice guy, hard working…really great to see him finally get a break in the Bigs J

Gotta take this series!  Everyone get out your favorite Fish bashing sticks or fire up the grill and get ready to FRY some!  Don’t let the Smurf do all the work now…  After all, he is only 3 apples high…  He’ll do his best for a little guy J  1:05pm start tomorrow…Go Phillies!

Phillies Flounder Against The Fish

As the offense continues their slumber, Jamie Moyer, normally an automatic Fish-Fryer, takes his first career lost against the Marlins tonight, losing by a score of 8-2.  His record lifetime against Florida now stands at 10-1.  Of course, he did only give up 2 runs in 5 innings, which is not his normal superb effort, but certainly enough to deserve a win.  However, for the 3rd game in row, the offense did not produce and this time, the lack of runs came back to bite them.

The only scoring by the Phillies was a 2-run homer by Shane Victorino which, when watching the replay, was actually a foul ball.  So if you want to get picky about it, they really did not score at all.  They did have 8 hits, but also hit into 3 double plays to erase many of the base runners.  All I have to say is, this was one UGLY game.

And for those of you who were oh so anxious to see JA Happ back in action, well, there ya go.  Tough day for the rookie as he was put into a position he is not used to as a reliever…he pitched 2 innings and gave up 4 earned runs on 4 hits; he walked 2 batters and struck out 1.  Yikes!

Ok, all I can say is, it is time for J-Roll Smurf to do some Fish bashing!  Yes, he is back…the amazing Voodoo Smurf has officially returned to wreak havoc on the Marlins!  And, as you can see, he has recently received the blessing of Jimmy Rollins himself. 

There is no stopping him now!  J-Roll Smurf will not be denied.  Now darn you Phillies!  Pick up those friggin’ bats and hit the ball!!!  Thank you in advance for your cooperation