The time the 1980s Astros used the occult to stop a losing streak

13 Comments

Jim Deshaies explains that once, back in the late 80s, his Astros dropped a bunch of games in a row against the Padres in Jack Murphy Stadium despite being the better overall team. Frustrated, he and some of his teammates resorted to the dark arts:

Clearly it was time to change the karma. Some unknown force led me to a local book store where I happened upon a book on the occult, full of spells,incantations and the like.

Flipping through the pages I came upon a spell that would put a curse on one’s enemies house. Seemed like a fit. It called for twigs from 3 different types of trees. I gathered twigs from the first three trees I came upon brought them to the ballpark and gathered a pair of co-warlocks .(Larry Andersen and Dave Smith) The spell mandated we spit on the twigs then light them on fire and while smoldering recite the incantation:

Burner be burned,
Turner be turned
Let nothing but good
come from this wood.

Go read how it turned out. And whether the lesson is that the occult works or, rather, that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher.

Note: Chris Truby did not play for the Astros for over a decade after this, so his well-known participation in the dark arts is totally unrelated.

Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-10-53-01-am
1 Comment

David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.

Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.

In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.

Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”

MIAMI - MARCH 14:  Venezuela fans cheer with a country flag while taking on the Netherlands during round 2 of the World Baseball Classic at Dolphin Stadium on March 14, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Getty Images
2 Comments

Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.

The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:

“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”

As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.

It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.