Chiefs Say Bean Bag Toss Game Has Helped Turn Their Season Around

After a horrendous start in which they were blown out by the Bills and Lions and lost a tough game to the Chargers, it appeared the Kansas City Chiefs’ season was a lost cause.  Todd Haley was — and still likely is — on the hot seat as the Chiefs offense looked stale and their defense could not stop a nosebleed.  Fortunately for Haley, the last two weeks have been a different story as Kansas City was able to take care of lesser opponents in Minnesota and Indianapolis.

How is it that the Chiefs were able to prevent their season from becoming a lost cause and keep their squad in contention?  According to the Kansas City Star via Pro Football Talk, the bean bag toss showed them the way.  That’s right, the Chiefs began playing the bean bag toss game — known to some of you as cornhole — as a team-building exercise.

“We’ve been trying to figure out ways to create togetherness, and it’s been great,” Haley explained. “It’s a way to keep guys hanging around and interacting with each other, and winning helps out. We’re going to get two more because the line to play gets too long. We’re trying to create an atmosphere that’s fun to hang out in. … Had we not won the last two weeks, they might be being used as firewood.”

We are no strangers to slump busters here at LBS, having shown you baseball players cutting their hair, teams sacrificing chickens, and others beating the crap out of a toolbox.  That being said, playing cornhole is one of the more unique exercises in team unity we have seen.  If it makes the Chiefs feel better to say they won their games because of a tailgating game rather than as a result of facing two of the worst teams in football, more power to them.

Eric Hinske Gets a Mohawk to Turn the Braves’ Fortunes (Pictures)

The Atlanta Braves have struggled in September, going just 8-12. The St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants have been surging and are now pushing the Braves in the wild card race. With Atlanta’s lead in the wild care down to 2.5 games, utility man Eric Hinske decided to pull out all the stops Thursday. He went with the mohawk:

Hinske last sported that ‘do in 2008 as a member of the Rays. Tampa Bay reached the World Series that year. Maybe he’s hoping for the same result, although that might be considered wishful thinking. Whatever it is, Hinske almost assuredly won’t be as big of a factor for the Braves as he was for the Rays. The only hope is that his loose attitude will rub off on the rest of the team. Maybe someone in Boston’s clubhouse should take a cue. And let’s hope that Hinske didn’t go full-Morrison on the world.

Pics via Mark Bowman on Twitter

Not Even Eric Wedge Shaving His Mustache Can End the Mariners’ Losing Streak

The Seattle Mariners set a franchise record by losing its 15th straight game Sunday. They fell to the Red Sox 12-8 to make it four straight series in which they were swept (they’ve been outscored 86-40 during the streak). Manager Eric Wedge tried digging deep to end the slump, electing to shave his handle bar mustache after Saturday’s loss:

We’ve seen players go to crazy lengths to try and break slumps, so it’s not as if this is something new. We’ve seen them wear thongs, practice voodoo and even shave their entire body in attempts to turn things around, and most of the time it works. For Wedge sadly, it didn’t.

The Mariners manager explained his decision to chop off the ‘stache, saying “Drastic measures I guess. I just wanted to get the reaction out there that I’ve been getting from everybody and hopefully lighten them up a little bit.”

So much for that huh? At least the Mariners scored eight runs though. Baby steps Wedge, baby steps.

Logan Morrison Shaves Body Hair To Break Out of Slump

For whatever reason, baseball players tend to be the most superstitious people on the planet.  We rarely hear about football players sacrificing a chicken to recover from a string of bad performances.  We have never heard of a basketball player wearing a thong to snap a stretch of poor shooting, but guys like Aubrey Huff and Jason Giambi have done it to break out of hitting slumps.  And never can I remember catching word of an entire hockey team destroying a piece of locker room equipment to turn their luck around, yet somehow these things are common in the baseball world.

Looks like the latest weirdo to go to extreme measures in an attempt to bust the slump is Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison.  According to the Miami Herald via Ben Maller, Morrison decided to shave all of his body hair off twice in a 24-hour period when he found himself in an 0-for-14 slump this past weekend.  Thinking a hairless body may not be enough to do it, he also started avoiding sidewalk crevices during that period.

Morrison may have been onto something, as he recorded three hits on Monday to break out of the slump.  I wonder if his speed benefited at all from improved aerodynamics.  In any event, Morrison’s slump buster idea worked.  What does that mean?  Chicken sacrifices, thongs, beaten-down toolboxes, and hairless bodies are here to stay in the baseball world.

Mets Sacrifice Toolbox to Turn Season Around, Have Not Lost Since

Being a New York Mets fan is filled with surprises. Whether it means having your team mocked on a subway sign or trying to raise money to buy out a player’s contract, the news is rarely positive for New York’s other team.  By destroying a toolbox, the Mets hope to change all that.

Big League Stew shared a story with us on Saturday about a toolbox named “Stanley.”  Stanley was once a mainstay in the Mets bullpen.  He carried essentials such as nail clippers, medical supplies, and various toys.  After watching his team get off to a league-worst 6-11 start and his bullpen post a league-worst 4.11 ERA, Mets CEO Jeff Wilpon gave an executive order: kill Stanley.

Wilpon requested that every player donate an article of clothing or piece of equipment to place inside Stanley, and the team then took the toolbox into the back room before Thursday’s game and destroyed him with baseball bats — Office Space style.  That afternoon, the Mets beat the Astros, 9-1.  They currently hold a 2-0 lead over the Diamondbacks and have not lost a game since Stanley’s demise.

Was it the Curse of the Toolbox that was holding the Mets down for all these years? Time will tell.

Western Hills High Baseball Players Investigated for Sacrificing Chickens

Two Western Hills High School baseball players have been kicked off their team after allegedly killing baby chickens in a superstitious act aimed at turning their success around on the field. This is not a joke. The report hit the Associated Press after initially appearing in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and SI web producer Andy Gray called it the oddest story he’s seen. I wouldn’t call it as strange as I would disturbing.

Anyone who follows baseball and watches sports movies know that sacrificing chickens has deep cinematic ties. In Bull Durham, they needed to sacrifice a live chicken to take the hex off Jose’s glove. In Major League, Pedro Cerrano was looking to sacrifice a live chicken to give him more power for the team’s game against the Yankees. And even in real MLB, we’ve seen two acts of voodoo superstition recently (see this and this).

Western Hills High coach Bobby McIntire is pretty convinced the movies inspired his players for their alleged acts. “Baseball is very superstitious, and I assume [movies like Major League and Bull Durham] are where they got it from,” McIntire said.” Duh, do we really think a few teenagers could have come up with this idea on their own? And what’s wrong with these kids? Couldn’t they have just done the sensible thing and headed to KFC or Popeyes or something?

Heath Bell Sacrifices Chicken to Break Padres Losing Streak

In a 162 game season, the potential for things to go wrong in baseball is great. Even for a team winning its division, things haven’t gone perfectly for the San Diego Padres.

The Pads just snapped a 10-game losing streak with a win over the Dodgers on Monday night. Sick of losing for a week and a half straight, the team went to great lengths to change their luck. They didn’t try on red thongs or gold underwear, but they did pull a Chase Utley and do some voodoo. From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Stealing from the movie “Major League,” before Sunday’s game against Colorado, Heath Bell asked a clubhouse attendant to bring in a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken to be sacrificed.

Even if it didn’t lead to a turnaround on Sunday, the Padres figured things out a day later beating the Dodgers 4-2. Maybe they needed to give it a few hours before the chicken reached the baseball gods in heaven. Bell of course was there to close out the win for his 38th save. He has the look of Rube Baker, the personality of Rick Vaughn, and the smarts of Jake Taylor. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Padres’ losing streak hits double digits [Union-Tribune]