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Baby monkey with Giants colors could be the key to their World Series run

A run to the World Series would not be complete without a lucky animal to share it with, and the San Francisco Giants have continued the tradition this postseason. Just when it appeared that the Giants would be sent packing by the defending champion Cardinals as they trailed 3-1 in the NLCS, a lucky monkey was born. San Francisco has not lost since.

The baby monkey — more specifically a François’s langur — was born at the San Francisco Zoo earlier this month and like other members of its species it has an orange head and a black body. An endangered species, the François’s langur is born with an orange head that will turn black like the rest of its body within three to six months. Fortunately for the city of San Francisco, that means this baby will be sporting team colors for the remainder of the series.

“Things have turned literally since she’s been born,” zoo spokesperson Abigail Tuller said, adding that the baby appears to perk up when she sees people who are sporting Giants logos.

The monkey has not yet been named, but a sign hangs in front of the San Francisco Zoo that reads “Lucky Langur lives here.” Last season, the Cardinals credited a squirrel that ran across the field (video here) during the playoffs for becoming their good luck charm. The squirrel was later featured on a baseball card and even engraved into the side of the Cardinals World Series rings. If the Giants hold on and beat the Tigers, the next animal to end up on a championship ring could very well be a monkey.

Photo credit: Marianne Hale/SF Zoo

Jim Leyland Wearing Same Underwear, Socks Until Tigers Lose

The immortal Crash Davis once said, “Never f*** with a winning streak.” Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland clearly heeds that message.

The Tigers have won 12 in a row and are 13.5 games up in the AL Central. Their magic number to clinch the division is one, and Leyland isn’t doing anything that could put the streak in jeopardy.

“I will wear these underwear until we lose,” Leyland said before his team’s game against Oakland Thursday. “I can tell you that right now. And they will not be washed. And I don’t give a (expletive) who knows it.”

Leyland said his baseball socks have holes in them from being worn repeatedly. But he issued a warning to Tigers clubhouse manager Jim Schmakel.

“I told Schmakel if somebody threw them out, that would be the end,” Leyland said.

In addition to the underwear and holy socks, Leyland, a well known smoker, has been lighting up cigars each day of the streak. There was one in the ashtray in his office Thursday. Some people might find the practice gross, but you can’t mess around when your team is that hot. Wash one sock and it can all be over.

I get it, and I certainly prefer it to this nonsense. Let’s just hope he didn’t opt for the Aubrey Huff undergarment.

Kevin Towers, Derrick Hall to Shave Heads if D-Backs’ Winning Streak Reaches 10

The Arizona Diamondbacks have been hot lately winning nine straight games. They’re now six games ahead of the Giants in the NL West and their magic number is 20 to clinch the division. They have a big three-game set with the Giants beginning Friday night and the stakes are greater than just a potential shift in the standings. As Hardball Talk points out to us, D-Backs front office men Kevin Towers (pictured) and Derrick Hall will shave their heads if the team’s winning streak reaches 10.

That agreement apparently was in place this week when the team had only won six in a row. Third baseman Ryan Roberts tweeted about the deal on Wednesday, writing “I can’t wait to get the 10th win in SF so I can shave some heads!!!! I can’t say who but everyone will see. Hahaha.”

Cat’s out of the bag, Ryan. We know who’s involved. And apparently Roberts has expressed his desire to shave the heads on home plate. Hey, if the D-Backs can win their weekend series with the Giants, I’m guessing their execs will only be too happy to go bald. They’re not the first people in baseball to lose hair during a streak, but usually guys change it up when their team is losing, not winning.

UPDATE: The D-Backs lost to the Giants Friday night, ending their streak at nine. Derrick Hall tweeted “Not happy! I would much rather have to shave my head tonight!”

Forearm bash to Hardball Talk and the Mercury News

Did This Turkish Soccer Team Sacrifice a Lamb on the Pitch?

It would appear as if that is the case. How else can you explain a dead lamb being placed in the middle of the pitch?

Deadspin shared that video with us and explains that it’s “Turkish side Sivasspor posing with a restrained lamb before their friendly with FK Rad Belgrade.” Even though the camera cuts away, we can only assume some sort of cutting ritual took place.

Metro Online adds that “FK Rad club officials and players were reportedly left cowering in the tunnel as Sivasspor conducted the religious act. Once players had basted blood on themselves, they carried promotional gift bags toward fans sitting on the opposite side of the stadium.”

Man, we’ve talked about players and teams using black magic or voodoo to help gain an edge. Most of the time it was a joke. One time it actually happened. But sacrificing a lamb on the field before a game? That’s enough to make Pedro Cerrano shudder. Oh yeah, the stunt worked — they won the game 4-1.

Thanks to YouTube user aaaaa4187

St. Louis Cardinals Wearing Turtlenecks for Team Unity

We’ve seen lots of team unity-building exercises before, but I don’t ever recall seeing a team wear turtlenecks before. That hasn’t stopped the St. Louis Cardinals from doing just that.

Jimmy Traina at SI Hot Clicks alerted us the latest fashion move attempted by the St. Louis squad. Apparently the fashion attempt was prompted when Skip Schumacher was wearing a mock turtleneck in San Francisco. Lance Berkman decided it would be fun for the whole team to wear them, so they began shopping around to stock up. When they left Dodger Stadium last weekend to return home to St. Louis all the players were sporting the prophylactic look.

This is the same team that grew mustaches for unity in ’08, so I’d have to say the turtlenecks are a better look. In this video from FOX Sports Midwest you can actually see what it looked like with all the players wearing their neck warmers. Mitchell Boggs had a classic line saying “I’ve never been confused as a man of impeccable style, but today I brought it.” No doubt Charles Barkley would be proud folks, he certainly would.