Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Why Athletes Don't Want Me To Buy Their Jersey

I'm sure you have heard of the Sports Illustrated Jinx. Legend has it, that if you are on the cover of Sports Illustrated, you will have significant bad luck. Well, I'm no best selling sports magazine, but I have my own jinx: "The Mandii Buys Your Jersey Curse." Don't believe me? Let me convince you.

It all started with Brian Giles. He was a major player on the Indians 1997 team, and by far my favorite player. So how does a supportive fan show her love for her favorite player? You buy a jersey! Shortly after buying his jersey, he gets traded to the Pirates. I waited it out for a good while to see if he would get traded again. When he didn't, I bought his jersey, this time for the Pirates. Oh, and he got traded to the Padres shortly after that jersey was purchased. Jinx!

Einar Diaz (1999 was a bad hair year for me.)
I can honestly say that this next baseball player was one of my absolute favorites. Einar Diaz was a backup catcher to Sandy Alomar. His jersey was pretty much nonexistent, so I had one made just for him. My family and I traveled to Toronto, Canada to catch a weekend series in 1999. We just so happened to be staying at the team hotel. I saw Mike Hargrove in the lobby, Doc Gooden, and Jaret Wright coming in from dinner. One morning, we stepped out of the hotel and saw a big charter bus out front. We stuck around, and out come Tribe players. I'm off in the corner because I'm a shy kid and #famouspeople. My dad spies Einar and tells him the tale of my shirt, and how I'm probably the only fan with a Diaz shirt. My mom comes to get me and I get my picture taken with Einar. He could not have been any nicer! I spent the rest of the trip with a smile on my face, and kept repeating the phrase "he smelled so good" over and over. (I guess I thought they would smell sweaty off the field?!) After getting his jersey made, he was traded following the 2002 season. Jinx #2. (I might have cried when he got traded.)

Robbie Alomar
Next up was another Cleveland Indian that I loved, Robbie Alomar. Name me a more dominant infield than Omar Vizquel, Robbie Alomar, and Travis Fryman in the year 2000. Those three players earned a Gold Glove that year, that's pretty special. Again, showing my love for Robbie, I bought his jersey after that Gold Glove winning season. He was traded to the Mets before the 2002 season began. Jinx #3

Ryan Garko and I
Ah, Ryan Garko. Man did I love this guy! He was from Pittsburgh, He played first base. (You can find out how I met him here!) You couldn't find his jersey in the Indians Team Shop, so I had one specially made. Ryan's fandom started around 2006, and continued into 2007. I went to 7 games that year wearing my "Garko Girl" shirt every game. We were so close to going to the World Series...but we blew a 3 games to 0 lead on the Red Sox in the ALDS. Then, Ryan got in Eric Wedge's doghouse and his playing time decreased significantly in 2008. He was traded in 2009 to the Giants. Sensing a theme here? Met him, had a shirt made...Jinx #4

Now I know you are thinking, "Mandii, these are all about baseball players." Oh, you want other sports too? I have those covered as well!

Let's talk hockey shall we? 

I have been going to Penguins hockey games since I was a little girl. One year I sat behind the glass when the Pens were playing the Toronto Maple Leafs. Coolest.Experience.Ever. So when the Russian phenom Evgeni Malkin came into the Penguins organization, I knew I definitely needed his jersey. The Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009. My Aunt and Uncle gifted me Malkin's #71 jersey for Christmas in 2009. In 2011, during the second period of a game against the Sabres, he tears his ACL and MCL. Keeping count here? Jinx #5

My aunt invited me to a charity gala that had several of Pittsburgh's athletes in attendance. One of those athletes was James Neal who had just been traded to Pittsburgh from Dallas. After that gala, I knew that I wanted to become a fan of his. I rooted for him, and cheered for him at the games I went to. Now, I am full aware of the "Mandii Buys Your Jersey Curse" and refrained from buying his jersey, until he signed a 6 year contract extension with the Pens. I just couldn't help myself. The jersey came late in the 2012 season. I wore it once to a game in 2013. In 2014 he was traded to Nashville. What are we up to now? Jinx #6

Let's see, we covered baseball and hockey. Shall we talk about the NFL? 

Even though I am from the Pittsburgh area, I root for the New England Patriots. I like Bill Belichick, and I like Tom Brady. (Insert haterade here.) The year was 2006, and the Pats were playing the Peyton Manning led Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game. Winner goes to the SuperBowl. The Patriots were dominating, up by 14 at the half. I say to myself, "Patriots are cruising to the Superbowl, I'm ordering a Brady jersey." I no sooner hit order, and the Colts start coming back into the game. As of course, my luck would have it, the Colts won the game and ended up winning the SuperBowl that year. When the jersey came, it went right into storage to be worn the following year. Yep. Jinx #7.

If I am a fan of you and your team, I'm all consumed. I root for you, go to games, post my love for you on social media, and well, buy your respective jersey. I have a list of players whose jerseys I want (hello Jason Kipnis, Trevor Bauer, JJ Redick, Sidney Crosby, JJ Watt etc...) but will refrain because of the "Mandii Buys Your Jersey Curse." This proves that I am putting "team" before myself.   ;) Now, this theory has only been tested when I buy a jersey, or have been gifted a jersey by family. Will the curse ever be broken? Who knows?

Did I convince you? Am I cursed? Has this ever happened to you? Please leave me a comment and make me feel better about my terrible luck. 

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