Category Archives: Foul Balls

The Crazy Things I’ve Done to Help My Sports Teams Win

Sports fans are superstitious. This is not new. I am not writing something revolutionary. We do a lot of things as fans with the belief that our actions will transcend the boundaries of a stadium, television or radio (or Twitter updates). This can be explained by the psychological phenomenon called Magic Thinking. As future clinical psychologist Paula Freedman explained to me, magical thinking is the belief that actions can illogically affect the outcome of another event.

I engage in these crazy rituals all of the time while watching my teams play, thinking my actions will help Northwestern, the Ravens, the Orioles and any of my fantasy baseball players succeed. If I take a step back and look at things rationally, I know my actions are beyond absurd, with insanity not far out of the equation.

I’ve done a lot of crazy things with the belief that my teams would benefit from my sacrifices. Below is a list of many of those actions I have taken in the name of victory:

THE CRAZY THINGS I’VE DONE WHILE WATCHING SPORTS

  1. Watched a game in the same place on a couch continuously
  2. Stayed in the same position while watching a game
  3. Stayed frozen in my same spot in the same position for well over an hour at a time
  4. Checked Twitter during every commercial break
  5. Refused to check my phone for an entire game
  6. Checked text messages religiously throughout a game
  7. Let text messages go unanswered throughout a game
  8. Worn the same shirt for every game (washing it in between games)
  9. Worn the same shirt for every game (not washing it in between games)
  10. Eaten the same food prior to each game
  11. Chewed a fingernail and kept it in my mouth for long periods of time (gross, I know)
  12. Kicked friends out of a room while I’m watching a game because they were “bad luck”
  13. Repeated the same sentence in my head before each play (sentence varied)
  14. Made deals with a higher-being that I would later retract postgame
  15. Held in urine for unhealthy amounts of time
  16. Tried to urinate during every commercial break
  17. Changed clothing when something bad happened to my team
  18. #17  includes underwear
  19. Muted the sound during a game even though the sound was not annoying me
  20. Reorganized countless aspects of the room in which I was watching the game
  21. Taken a shower in the middle of a game to wash away the bad luck
  22. Watched the game in complete darkness because things were going well
  23. Parked my car in a certain spot before the game
  24. Moved my car in the middle of a game if my team was losing
  25. Listened to certain bands before the game
  26. Made sure that band was playing on my ipod even if I didn’t listen to music before the game
  27. Thought about what it would be like for my team to win in the middle of the game
  28. Thought about what it would be like for my team to lose in the middle of the game
  29. Yelled at myself for thinking about the outcome in the middle of the game
  30. Turned my back on the TV during commercial breaks
  31. Watched each commercial as if it were the bottom of the 9th in Game 7 of the World Series
  32. Changed the channel during commercial breaks
  33. Covered my face during big plays
  34. Stood on one foot for big plays
  35. Stood during big plays, but on two feet
  36. Changed the temperature in the room
  37. Made the temperature uncomfortable just to help my team win
  38. Browsed the Internet during the game to help my team win
  39. Turned my computer off and placed it in another room during the game
  40. Just placed the computer on sleep
  41. Gone through the same routine prior to each game- meal, clothing, actions
  42. Shaved on gameday
  43. Let my beard (stubble) grow until after the game
  44. Clapped the same number of times before a play
  45. Clapped the same number of times after a good play
  46. Drank a sip of water at specific intervals during a game
  47. Gathered the same group of friends to watch a game
  48. Worried that my team would lose when one of the friends could not watch the game
  49. Repeated phrases such as “Come on, let’s go” before a string of plays
  50. If my team wins: Remember every action I took, food/drink I consumed and article of clothing I won for the next game
  51. If my team loses: Take all of the above and throw it out the window, figuratively and, in some cases, literally
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Things I cannot do well…

In light of a recent experience in which I ended up massacring a mango with a butter knife, I have decided to compile a list of all the day-to-day activities in which I feel inadequate. This way, everyone will know which of my traits to exploit, while I can attempt to better myself, one pathetic task at a time. If any of you are embarrassed for me after reading this list, just think about how I feel compiling it.

Ready? OK!

Andrew’s List of things at which he’s not too competent…

  1. Cutting mango
  2. Singing with a falsetto that doesn’t sound like my voice just cracked
  3. Continuing to increase the amount of weight I lift
  4. Using apostrophes when writing contractions
  5. Refraining from talking over someone while on the phone with them
  6. Saying no to peer pressure
  7. Texting on my iPhone
  8. Finishing books
  9. Chugging beer
  10. Talking to random girls at a bar
  11. Chugging beer and then immediately talking to random girls at a bar
  12. Regularly writing blog posts/recording podcasts
  13. Making definitive decisions on whether or not to pee in the middle of the night
  14. Playing video games
  15. Playing Angry Birds
  16. Keeping an orange peel in one piece while removing
  17. Getting rid of the “orange hands” smell
  18. Timing whether or not to walk across the street when the “don’t walk” hand is blinking
  19. Using scissors in an efficient manner
  20. Removing the plastic tags from clothing with my hands
  21. Removing the plastic tags from clothing with scissors
  22. Drying clothing for the proper amount of time
  23. Keeping clothing from wrinkling, even after folding/hanging
  24. Seeing movies I “keep meaning to see.”
  25. Having cash on me when I really need it
  26. Using Bank of America ATMs instead of ATMs with $32409834098324 fees
  27. Using mechanical pencils
  28. Not hitting the snooze button
  29. Sorting recycling in NYC
  30. Ironing
  31. Getting rid of cramps while running
  32. Remembering to use cherry tomatos after purchasing them
  33. Resisting ice cream
  34. Keeping my self-esteem at a high level after making a list of the things at which I’m not good
  35. Keeping in touch with old friends
  36. Deciding whether or not to give a homeless person money
  37. Speaking up for myself
  38. Being confrontational when necessary
  39. Walking on sidewalks without tripping
  40. Saying no to people soliciting on the street for organizations like Greenpeace
  41. Writing legibly
  42. Motivating myself to be a morning person
  43. Packing
  44. Unpacking
  45. Refraining from overpacking
  46. Arriving at the airport without too much time to wait for boarding
  47. Keeping my shoes tied
  48. Refraining from biting my nails
  49. Reading e-mails in the middle of the night
  50. Not making impulsive purchases
  51. Quoting movies
  52. Remembering the names of actors/actresses/directors
  53. Singing lyrics correctly
  54. Anything handy- drilling, hammering, using power tools
  55. Constructing anything from IKEA
  56. Shaving my neck
  57. Checking Twitter too often
  58. Remembering to defrost meat
  59. Bringing lunch to work
  60. Eat avocado or guacamole and not getting the chills
  61. Drinking orange juice
  62. Not smearing while handwriting with pens or markers
  63. Not following through completely on seemingly good ideas
  64. Waterskiing
  65. Tying balloons…have never successfully tied one in my life
  66. Walking up an escalator going down
  67. Skateboarding
  68. Diving with any sort of noticeable form
  69. Operating on just a few hours of sleep
  70. Falling asleep while people are talking
  71. Sleeping through loud events/noises
  72. Leaving personal belongings in public places
  73. Cutting myself off after lists go on for too long…
  74. Just kidding
  75. Heading a ball in soccer
  76. Dropping it like it’s hot
  77. Dribbling with my right hand
  78. Finding sunglasses that fit my face
  79. Wearing sunglasses while doing activities that require looking into the sun
  80. Keeping my foot from falling asleep
  81. Washing dishes the night after using them
  82. Keeping headphones in good, working order
  83. Sending birthday/holiday cards
  84. Making lists that reach 100…

The Pre-Game Ritual

How it’s done in America:

How it’s done in New Zealand:

Don’t mess with those guys.

(Hat tip: C. Dessi)

What Omar Minaya Really Meant to Say

Sipkin/News

Sipkin/News

Omar Minaya did a bad thing yesterday. In the process of trying to fire executive Tony Bernazard, he decided to throw Daily News reporter Adam Rubin under the bus. Minaya claimed that Rubin had been inquiring about a job with the Mets, and insinuated that Rubin had written a piece about Bernazard’s bizarre behavior to put himself in line for a job.

Rubin vehemently denied the accusations, and Minaya and Mets management have since apologized. Regardless, it was another bizarre twist in the Mets’ roller coaster season. When my boy EZ baby messaged me yesterday telling me Omar was holding a press conference, I figured Bernazard would get the axe. We both wondered with Omar would actually fire himself. But never could we have anticipated what actually went dwn.

Minaya’s presser has gotten plenty of airtime in the last 24 hours, but we at Between the Headset are not content to simply take what he said at face value. Instead, we read between the lines to decipher exactly what Omar and Adam meant yesterday:

Omar: Once the reports came out, you know, of course we had to expedite more the investigation.

Translation: We knew about this all along, but once you guys figured it out, we had to act like we actually cared. Seriously, what’s wrong with a guy taking his shirt off and taunting players? It’s not like he whipped out his junk or anything. Didn’t you all see Bruno? I haven’t seen that much nudity since my 23rd birthday in the V.I.P. lounge of Stone Lotus.

Omar:Early in the process, early in the process, when the reports came out, I had to kind of tell myself, “Wow, these things are coming out.”

Translation: I spit out my milk when I found out you guys had uncovered this story. I mean, we even hired that guy Gene Parmesan from Arrested Development to help us cover it up. Seriously guys, what’s with all the muckraking? Haven’t you heard journalism is dead?

gene parmesan

Omar:And I say this because coming from Adam Rubin, okay, and Adam, you gotta understand this, Adam, for the past couple of years, has lobby for a player development position.

Translation: I know you guys aren’t going to believe me, and you’ll probably think I’m just trying to change the subject, but seriously, you gotta understand, the guy came to me and said he actually wanted to work for the Mets. I told him he could have the job. We were all set for the changeover and he backed out. I had my flight booked to Dubai. That little punk made me cancel. Do you know what cancellation fees are like these days? So now I’m gonna have to throw Adam under the bus.

Omar:He has lobby myself, he has lobby Tony.

Translation: Maybe if I speak in broken English, it’ll distract them. Then they won’t hear the bombshell I’m about to drop, because they’ll be too busy trying to add participles and all that good stuff to my quotes.

Omar:So when these things came out I was kind of a little bit, I had to think about it. And I was a little bit, you know, somewhat, kind of, we gotta find out about this. We really have to do a thorough investigation of this.

Translation: Ha! I think it worked. I don’t think one person in the room noticed that I just tried to link Adam’s article to the fact that he was asking about a job in baseball, thus implying that he had an ulterior motive for writing the article in the first place.

Adam Rubin: Is what you’re alleging that I tried to tear Tony down so I could take his job? Is that what you’re saying?

Translation: You mother$#$#%$%! Why does this always happen to me? In 4th grade Jack Toner tattled on me to the teacher because he said I stole his Oreo cookies. But that wasn’t true! I merely asked what I would have to do to get the Oreos from him. I didn’t actually do anything about it.

Omar: No, no, I’m not saying that. All I’m saying was, that I know that when you wrote the reports, but I am saying, that in the past, you have, have lobby for a player, for a for a job…

Translation: Damn, he heard me. Well now I better start backpedaling. This could get ugly. What would George Costanza do in this situation? He would have a good lie ready. I better think of one soon, because I sound like a bumbling idiot right now, and Sportscenter is going to show this clip while Charlie Steiner giggles on top of it. Remember that video of Carl Lewis singing the National Anthem? Francis Scott Off-Key? Funny stuff. Man, is this guy still talking to me?

Adam Rubin: If I were interested in working in player development somewhere in the major leagues at some point in my life, how did that impact this situation at all?

Translator: You really think I’m dumb enough to try to get Tony’s job by writing this article? Come on, man, you should know better than this. I hired that guy from Arrested Development, Gene Parmesan, to get as much blackmail of you as he could. But so far, all he had gotten were some pictures of you walking out of a nightclub with A-Rod and Kate Hudson.

Omar: I said, because, when the reports came out a lot of these things were cross… I said “Who’s writing these reports?” and I said well okay who’s writing the reports and in the back of my mind, Adam, you have told me you have told other people in the front office that you want to work for player development in the front office.

Translation: Words…question to myself…Adam…player development…nonsense…give up.

Adam Rubin: So what you’re alleging is that.. the only conclusion I can draw from that is that you’re trying to allege that I tried to tear everyone down so that I could take their position. Is that what you’re saying?

Translation: Listen Omar, I’ve got an entire room of journalists here that have my back. You’ve got nobody in this stadium that has your back. Sportswriters have each others’ backs, except for Jay Mariotti. So I’m just going to act really mad and turn the tables on you and you are going to have to meekly back away into your shell.

Omar: Adam…

Translation: Of all the bad moves I’ve made here, is this what I’m going to get fired for?

Adam Rubin: It seems pretty despicable to say that.

Translation: You lose. Good day, sir.

Hasheem Thabeet doesn’t like Obese Flyers

thabeet

Recent Memphis Grizzlies draft pick and former UConn superstar Hasheem Thabeet was on a flight tonight from Houston to Memphis. Thabeet, a very tall man, was sitting in the emergency exit row, presumably so he could have more leg room.

But that all changed when a man Hasheem described as a “big hommie” sat next to him. Thankfully, Thabeet had his phone to tweet us all about it before taking off. Here is what ensued:

@HasheemTheDream:

Dude Took 2 seats!! Is this Legal?? Lmbo @mw1ll u gonna crack up if u see this flick!!

I feel bad!! But the guy was suppose to sit with me on the exit row seat since it’s all same seats, meaning no 1st class, smh at expressjet!

So I ended up gettin moved since the big guy took seat 12C and 12B I was suppose to be on B and now I don’t have exit row seat nomore!! FML

The dude didn’t even say thanks I let him sit on 2seats and one of them is mine!! Twittpic him? Lm(african)bo and he not even smillin! Pause

Hahahah he introduced himself to the other passengers!!! His name is Wayne!! Lmabo!

Oh and I didn’t know they have extenders for the seatbelt in the plane wat the hell?? Wat is this takin 2 seats?? Lmabo

Why extenders?? Why can’t he use the other belt?? Lol hillarious!!

@azamowaisi wat I was doin is talkin my life out, I’m 7″3 and they move me so somebody that 5″6 can sit on 12B and 12C, is that fair!? Smh

@Jrudner RT hey man. I’m the fan who flew with you. You’re right, that one guy was huge and a jerk. < to peepo thinkin I’m hatin!!

Well then. The next time you get into some sort of altercation with a person on a plane, train, in the grocery store or at work, you might want to check whether they just tweeted about you to the entire world. Especially if you’re overweight.

If I were Hasheem though, I would be careful about ripping into the overweight. The city where he is set to play, Memphis, was named America’s most obese city in 2007. Not a good way to make friends and fans.


Steroids Poker

poker table

It’s tough to get major league baseball players to talk about steroids these days. Particularly the ones who have been caught with PED’s or who are under intense scrutiny. Fortunately, I used my Between the Headset press credential to sit in on a high-stakes, no-limit poker game, and took some notes about the stuff the guys talked about.* Here’s how some of it went down:

Narrator: A dark, smoky room in in the basement of Manny’s house. I was surprised by how dumpy this basement was, but Manny assured me that the carpenter was coming to finish the basement on Monday. Apparently, these poker games have been going on for some time now, and they used to take place at A-Rod’s house, but they kept having to free Derek Jeter from bondage in the basement, and all of A-Rod’s cups were smeared with lip gloss.

On this particular night, the attendees were: Manny, Jose Canseco, A-Rod, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. An all-star cast, to be sure, with only half confirmed of taking steroids, and the other half being guilty in the court of public opinion.

The game was Texas Hold’Em, but the conversation soon turned away from cards and, as could be expected with this group, onto other things.The following conversations are as I remember them:

Clemens: Hey Big Mac, you remember that time I struck you out 4 times and you had to buy me all those shots after the game?

McGwire: I’m not here to talk about the past, bro.

Bonds: Come on Mark, stop doing that. The last time Sosa asked you about about your 70th homerun, you started crying. Get over it already.

A-Rod: Easy there, Bondsy. Let the man be. Some of us, er, some people are just sensitive.

Canseco: Hey man, if you’re upset I’ve got some stuff for you. In fact, I think I brought some with me in the car. We can go take care of it later if you want…

A-Rod: I’m not trying to end up like Manny with one of those 50 gamers. Manny, how’d that work out for you?

Manny: I didn’t have to play left field for like, 2 months man. You know how many errors that’s gonna save me this season? Like 35 or something.

Narrator: Not surprisingly, Manny was the first one to go all-in and lose. He bought back in a couple of times before giving up. Apparently, hitting a baseball really is the only thing he does well. Of course, the conversation eventually turned to steroids again, with Bonds being the center of attention:

A-Rod: Barry, how’d you keep all of that proof hidden all this time? How come your name never came out on any lists?

Bonds: I don’t know man, I really don’t. My lawyer told me to use that cream and clear excuse, like I didn’t know what they are. People didn’t believe it, but it kept them off my case. Cream and the clear? What kind of idiotic thing is that? That’s almost as dumb as Manny using that estrogen stuff.

Manny: Hey man, why are you attacking me like that? I’ve won a World Series, and people don’t hate me. And I somehow convinced people that whenever I do something dumb, it’s just Manny being Manny. I couldn’t have paid people to make that up.

Clemens: Everyone just thinks I’m a jerk because I’ve lied to every media organization out there. I lied on 60 minutes! That’s badass! But what those pricks don’t understand is that I’m the king of the strikeout. I party on the reg. Yachts on the reg. Good times on the reg. I’ve got the Dinali, and I’m not turning back. Who cares if I took some of that HGH stuff? It made my pecs look bigger when I wear tight shirts.

McGwire: Rog, what are you talking about? I’m the king…remember, King McGwire? I hit 70 homeruns one year. Tearing: It was a year that baseball fans will never forget. It saved baseball after the strike. Fans came back. People cared again. I saved baseball…

Bonds: You idiot, people hate you because you tainted the game even further. People cared until your whole steroids thing. Remember? Or can your mind not go back that far?

McGwire: Shut up, man. You’re the most hated guy in baseball.

A-Rod. Guys, guys, stop fighting. We’ve all taken steroids, there’s no need to for the bickering. By the way, Jose, I’ve been tired lately. You got anything that could pick me up?

Canseco: Boy, do I ever. It’s called JOOSE and it is awesome. Energy drink and malt liquor together in one can! Ever want to know what it’s like to have a heart attack before you get one from all the steroids later in life? Try some of this stuff. You’ll be reaching balls in the hole that Jeter could never dream of getting.

joose

Manny: Do you think it’ll make me a better fielder?

Clemens: Remember that time you cut off a throw from the outfield as an outfielder? You’re a lost cause, bro.

Narrator: At this point, tensions are high between the normally friendly ballplayers. The poker has ceased and the guys are all having a beer and arguing. Some of the topics they argued about:

  • Hot or not: Meryl Streep
  • The fastest way to drive from Long Island to Brooklyn
  • Is Jerry Garcia a descendant of Ghandi?
  • Favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor
  • Does the move in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall in which Woody’s character kisses Diane Keaton before dinner actually work in real life?
  • Favorite sausage in the Brewers’ sausage race

sausage race

As the night wore on and the players passed the point of tipsy and crossed into drunk-land, they became more reflective. Well, McGwire and A-Rod did. The rest just became belligerent. But inevitably, the conversation turned to steroids once more, and it seemed that the players were genuinely remorseful.

McGwire: Do you guys think we ruined baseball? I mean, will the sport ever recover from what we did to it?

A-Rod: I might break Barry’s home run record one day, but I’ll always have this steroid thing hanging over me. Why did we do it?

Canseco: Chellooooo…you made millions of dollars. You’re world famous. Celebrities. Big time. TMZ puts you on their website. I call TMZ every day trying to get the paparazzi out here. What do I need to do, invite Hannah Montana over for brunch?

McGwire: It’s not about the money, man. It’s about the integrity of the game. We all grew up loving baseball. It’s been in our blood since birth. And we may have had a part in destroying an entire era of the game. Why should I feel good about that for a little bit of celebrity?

Bonds: For me, when I get off my high horse and actually think about it, it’s not about the game. It’s about my own legacy, which is forever tarnished. And that sucks. A lot. Willie Mays publicly stands by me, but deep down the dude hates me. I cheated. He never would’ve done that. That’s what hurts me the most.

Manny: You guys see that ESPN piece about me where they interviewed people in my hometown about their reactions to my suspension? Made me cry, man. Made me cry. They didn’t even say it was just Manny being Manny. It was Manny being a cheater.

Clemens: But what can we do? Some of us are out of the game, some of us haven’t even been officially caught. You think the Mitchell Report is gonna keep me from Cooperstown? Think again.

Canseco: What if I inject every baseball fan with some of that stuff that makes them forget? Then we’ll all be clean.

A-Rod: Do you actually have some of that stuff? I’d be down for that plan. Actually, could you get me a supply? That way I wouldn’t be lying with the media when I say I don’t remember my bad games…

McGwire: OK, so here’s the plan. Jose injects everyone at parks across the country with that forgetful juice. Meanwhile, we start a public campaign against steroids. That way, we look like we’re ahead of the curve on the issue.

Bonds: I like it. Let’s put our hands together. Balco on three…one, two, three…

Everyone: BALCO!

balco

Narrator: And so that was how the night concluded. The personal drivers came to take everyone home, the poker chips were put away, Manny’s basement was finished that Monday just as he promised me, and I left that night thoroughly confused. Just when it seemed there would be a breakthrough in these guys coming clean and taking an initiative to fix what they messed up, something got the better of them. Thus, we are all still left in a cloud of uncertainty, weighing the steroids issue in baseball, without knowing exactly what happened.

Perhaps one day these men will sit around the poker table and decide to admit their flaws. Maybe one day they’ll all come completely clean. Perhaps David Frost needs to conduct interviews with all of them. Until then, we can all only speculate, just as I have, about what goes through the minds of some of baseball’s cheaters.

I doubt they are spending a whole lot of time debating whether Meryl Streep is hot or not.

*Because I don’t know what the libel laws are, this is satire and fiction and not true and I’m making all of this up. Not trying to get sued.

Sometimes, being a reporter looks like so much fun

One thing I don’t like about reporters doing live shots is that they are too stuck up, particularly when they are doing soft/featury type reporting. That isn’t necessarily the case in this video, which was shown on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.” Still, the way the reporter acts…well, take a look for yourself. The live shot starts at the :32 mark:

First off, the look on the anchors’ faces when the camera cuts back to them is priceless. “Apparently, an unruly fan out there.” You think? Lighten up, ladies!

Steve Ryan definitely handled this the right way. Start shoving and throwing punches. If this idiot wants to try to mess with your job, you should mess with his mug. I would’ve liked to have seen Steve give that guy an uppercut that knocked him cold.

I also liked the line, “Yeah I bet you do like Michael Jackson.” Take that how you will, but I’ll give Steve the benefit of the doubt with a witty zinger on live TV.