Are you superstitious? Baseball is.
Baseball has some of the most wacky and traditional superstitions of any sport.
A player should never walk on the foul line when returning to the dugout. It will jinx the team.
Leave your starting pitcher alone.
Don’t sit with him, don’t talk to him – don’t even look at him – you could ruin his mojo.
Never mention the ‘No-hitter’ especially if it’s occurring during the game.
Big no-no. It’s definitely voodoo related – even baseball announcers avoid it.
A few years ago I began a new tradition - the caricature illustration for the Bee Sports section on opening day or near opening day. Besides being fun for me to do I have noticed something kind of spooky regarding the turn of events surrounding the subjects I have chosen to illustrate.
This season I illustrated the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw in an Atlas pose holding an enormously large baseball. Shortly after the opener in Australia and on the flight home Kershaw began to experience pain in a large muscle of his upper back. He is on the DL (disabled list) for the first time in his storied career and will likely be out for at least a month.
One of the first illustrations was of Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants. Zito had signed one of the richest contracts for a major league pitcher that season. He was a bust, turning in some of the worst performances of his career year after year* – even left off the 2010 World Series roster.
Buster Posey. You know him. Giants. Catcher. Suffered a broken leg in a freak collision protecting home plate. He was out the remainder of the season. Yes. I illustrated him for the cover of Sports that year.
Hey, did you hear that the San Francisco Giants won the World Series? Oh yeah, totally happened. I’m sure you didn’t hear ANYTHING about it on Facebook or Twitter. Here’s one fun Fresno fact that you and your sarcasm detector might not know, though: 17 of the 25 players on the Giants’ World Series roster played for the AAA affiliate Fresno Grizzlies at some point.
Some players we saw a lot of — catcher and clutch home-run-hitter Buster Posey, Game 2 winning pitcher Madison Bumgarner and Game 4 tripler Brandon Belt, for instance. Others, like MVP Pablo Sandoval and unlikely Game 1 winner Barry Zito, we only saw briefly.
It’s hard to argue with the Grizzlies current “Farmgrown” marketing campaign. Just look at the pics below. In some cases these Grizzlies look quite different than the guys you saw soaked in champagne last night.
Since it’s not often we get a major leaguer as famoustalented well-paid as Zito, we thought we’d offer some suggestions of stuff the quirky pitcher could do while he’s in town.
Buy those fields at Granite Park — he’s making $18.5 mil this year, he can afford it — and turn them into the home of the Zito League, a new baseball league where all the pitchers only throw curveballs.
Hit the Fulton Mall with his guitar and spend some time serenading the good people of Fresno.
Get out his camera (yep, he’s also a photog) and do some street photography with Fresno sharp shooter (and Giants fan) Ryan C. Jones.
Go hunting for teddy bears. Did you know that another of Zito’s quirks is his teddy-bear collection? True story. Dude can probably find some cool stuff on the Van Ness Ave. strip of thrift stores.
Decide to stay. The Giants don’t really need him and Fresno would be happy to have him. Heck, someday he could probably become mayor. In the meantime he could get himself a downtown loft, open a wacky boutique and have his own ArtHop show. He’d be a legit downtown Fresno hipster in no time.
We’re just a few days away from The Great Fresno Tweetup 3, when our local Twitter community gathers for a night of baseball, $1 beers, games and networking at the Fresno Grizzlies game. In preparation, The Grizzlies have turned the spotlight to their own outfielder/prolific Tweeter Thomas Neal (aka @TDaddyNeal) for the promo video above.
A things to know now that it’s almost Tweetup time:
You can still RSVP on Twitter with @fresnogrizzlies to get on the list for $5 seats in our “Tweetdeck.” Those include your first Thirsty Thursday $1 beer. Like last year, we’ll have our own beer cart so our Tweeps don’t have to wait in those long lines.
We’re making the Tweetup extra cool for a few local Tweeps. One lucky fan will get to throw out the first pitch, while a few others will get to take the field with Thomas Neal before the game. Watch both @fresnobeehive and @fresnogrizzlies on Wednesday and Thursday for contests.