Monday, October 30, 2006

With Halloween coming up, it is the perfect time to examine an area of sports culture often passively accepted: curses. Many cultures across the world are superstitious, but Americans, being supposedly well-educated, still believe that Babe Ruth haunted the Boston Red Sox from when he was sold to the New York Yankees in 1920 until 2004, when the Red Sox broke the curse by sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. They believe this in the same way that they believe that crossing the path of a black cat brings them bad luck.

Superstition is defined as "a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like."

Nomar Garciaparra has a superstition of adjusting his batting gloves and wristbands, and kicking the dirt in the batter's box. Almost all baseball players observe the superstition of not talking to a pitcher who is throwing a perfect game. Some players refuse to wash their uniforms, equipment, or even their bodies while on a streak of good performance.

However, we will focus on sports curses, such as that of the Bambino, Billy Goat, and Billy Penn, and even the Sports Illustrated cover jinx, among others. You will see why curses, like other forms of superstition including belief in supernatural beings, is irrational.

The Curse of the Bambino

The Story: Babe Ruth, a star of the Boston Red Sox that won three World Series in the six years that he was with the team (and five in fifteen years), was sold to the New York Yankees by owner Harry Frazee on January 3, 1920. Frazee used the money from the Ruth sale to finance a play called "No, No, Nanette." Ruth went on to prosper with the Yankees and is now known as arguably the best player ever to play the game.

Since Ruth was traded, the Red Sox appeared in only four World Series in 86 years, while the Yankees appeared in 39 World Series, and won 26 of them. The Curse, however, gained its notoriety not with the Yankees' success, but with the Red Sox method of failure -- they lost each of the four World Series that they appeared in since the Ruth Sale until 2004 in seven games. And they found special ways to lose, even in the regular season, every time.

Why It Never Existed:

The Curse of the Billy Goat

The Story: Vasili Sianis brought his pet goat to Wrigley Field for Game 4 of the 1945 World Series, but allegedly placed a curse on the Cubs when he and the goat were ejected from the game as a result of the odor of the goat. Additionally, popular belief claims that a team is doomed to fail in the playoffs if it has three or more former Cubs on its roster (known as the "Ex-Cubs Factor").

Why It Never Existed:

The Curse of Billy Penn

The Story: In 1987, the One Liberty Place skyscraper was erected, becoming the tallest monument in Philadelphia at 945 feet tall. The title was taken from the statue of William Penn, which stood 548 feet tall. Since the skyscraper was erected, Philadelphia-based sports have endured a run of failure, as opposed to the run of success between 1974 and 1983, when the Phillies appeared in two World Series, winning one, the Eagles appeared in Super Bowl XV but lost, the Flyers won back-to-back Stanley cups in 1974 and '75, and the Sixers won the NBA championship in 1983. Since the One Liberty Place skyscraper came into existence, the Phillies, Sixers, and Eagles have appeared in one championship (1993, 2000, and 2005, respectively), each resulting in a loss. The Flyers have appeared in two Stanley Cups (1987 and 1997) and lost them both. The curse even extends to horse racing, when Smarty Jones failed to win the Triple Crown in 2004. In 2006, Barbaro was favored to win the Triple Crown, but suffered a fractured right hind leg.

Why It Never Existed:

The Madden NFL Cover Jinx

The Story: Whomever is featured on the latest cover of John Madden's video game series is said to perform poorly or become injured the following season.

Why It Never Existed:

As for the Sports Illustrated cover jinx, there are only twelve notable instances of the jinx in the fifty-two year history of the magazine. Superstition, especially in sports, implies that correlation is causation, which is never the case. Fans love the curses, though, especially if it's on their team (those masochists). The White Sox recently broke the curse of the 1919 Black Sox with their 2005 World Series championship, one year after the Red Sox ended the "Curse of the Bambino." As a result, most people were predicting the Cubs to win the 2006 World Series because they were the next most-publicized team with a curse. Instead, they faltered to a 66-96 record, proving that curses and the trends that result from them don't mean a thing.

Become a sports atheist: don't believe in the irrationality of curses, however fun they may be.



Monday, October 30, 2006: New Article

Tuesday, October 17, 2006: New Article

Tuesday, October 10, 2006: New Article

Sunday, October 8, 2006: New Article

Sunday, October 8, 2006: In honor of the New York Mets defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, I created a wallpaper. Click here to download it, or stop by my graphics page for other wallpapers.

Friday, October 6, 2006: New Article


Saturday, September 30, 2006: New Article

Saturday, September 23, 2006: My article on drug legalization got published in the Opinion section of the Delaware County Daily Times. Click here to see a scan.

Thursday, September 21, 2006: New Article

Monday, September 18, 2006: New Article

Thursday, September 14, 2006: New Article

If you are interested in advertising on my website (for a fee, of course), please contact me via E-Mail at

I have also disabled the graphic request form on the graphics page for the time being. It will be back up again in the near future when I can devote more time to fooling around in Photoshop. If you recently requested something, your best bet is to try and get it completed elsewhere, and if nothing else, you can resubmit your request when the form is up again.


Saturday, August 26, 2006: New Article

Sunday, August 20, 2006: New Article

Wednesday, August 16, 2006: Fixed the problem in Internet Explorer where the navigation bar wasn't showing up.

Thursday, August 10, 2006: New Article

Sunday, August 6, 2006: New Article

Saturday, August 5, 2006: New Article

Friday, August 4, 2006: Updated the Graphics Page for the first time in a while. 19 new graphics including one wallpaper -- enjoy!

Friday, August 4, 2006: New Article


Thursday, July 30, 2006: New Article

Thursday, July 20, 2006: New Article

Wednesday, July 19, 2006: New Article

Wednesday, July 12, 2006: New Article

Monday, July 3, 2006: New Article


Wednesday, June 28, 2006: New Article

Wednesday, June 28, 2006: The Senate rejected the proposed flag desecration amendment (Read). We can all get on with our lives now.

Saturday, June 24, 2006: I noticed there is no way to navigate through this website if you are using Internet Explorer. I am trying to fix that issue as soon as possible, but you should be using Mozilla FireFox anyway!

Thursday, June 22, 2006: New Article

Tuesday, June 20, 2006: New Article

Thursday, June 15, 2006: Congress is trying to amend the Constitution to ban the burning of the American flag (Read). Write your Congressperson to help prevent this un-American amendment from passing.

It's un-American and hypocritical in that the First Amendment grants freedom of speech and The Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that flag burning was protected under constitutional free-speech guarantees.

While you may disagree with the act of burning the flag, it is the fact that they are continuing to limit and control what we can and cannot do in this country. The United States is slowly morphing into the Soviet Union we fought in the Cold War for 44 years, when Sen. McCarthy created "black lists" to ostracize suspected Communists.

Now, our "black lists" are not of suspected Communists, but of suspected anti-Americans. Whether by monitoring your phone calls and E-Mails, or by limiting your right to criticize and question those in power in this country, we as a people are all on the black list.

Don't let Congress pass this Amendment without putting up a fight.

Saturday, June 10, 2006: New Article

Wednesday, June 7, 2006: New Article


Sunday, May 28, 2006: New Article

Friday, May 19, 2006: New Article

Sunday, May 14, 2006: New Article

Wednesday, May 10, 2006: New Article

Monday, May 1, 2006: New Article


Tuesday, April 25, 2006: New Article

Friday, April 21, 2006: New Article

Monday, April 17, 2006: New Article

Saturday, April 8, 2006: New Article

Wednesday, April 5, 2006: New layout!

Welcome to The Binder! If you're looking for opinions on politics and sports, you're in the right place. Each article will be written in a "no holds barred" manner -- this is not the place for you if you're sensitive to potentially offensive material. I am a liberal atheist in favor of democratic socialism -- and you thought there were none of us left after 9/11, huh?

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