Wednesday, June 9, 2010

When Extra BP and Your Lucky Rabbit's Foot Fail You

Today's entry comes from the minor leagues, where Wilmington Sharks play-by-play guy David Tanklefsky dishes about the "slump-buster."

We know that Mark Texeira tried taking more swings from both sides of the plate to bust his current slump, then tried taking fewer. Neither seemed to be working.

Big Tex was three for four with a pair of walks and a pair of rib-eye steaks last night, so it's entirely possible that he partook in a little slump-bustin' this week.

Tanklefsy writes:

Ballplayers are a superstitious bunch, as anyone who follows the game closely knows. An assistant coach I recently met took to cutting his spiked red hair into a mohawk and drawing mullet-like lines into his sideburns after his team went on a winning streak--a one game winning streak.

So it should come as no surprise that ballplayers mired in the doldrums of a slump will do some [ahem] less than conventional things to break out of it.

Enter the slump-buster.

Urban Dictionary's most PG explanation of this phenomenon is that a slump-buster is an unattractive female that a player has relations with in the effort to get out of a slump. The term has also found its way into the non-baseball world (which may be where it came from to begin with) to mean a person who helps a friend or acquaintance who has been lacking in the department of corporal relations to "break their slump."

The theory behind the slump-buster seems to be that once you get back on base, the hits will come in droves.

As you might imagine, there aren't a lot of first source texts that point the way as to which ballplayers have utilized slump-busters over the years. Wade Boggs drew plenty of unwanted headlines to the Red Sox in the late '80s when he was found to have carried on an extramarital affair for four years, but the guy only hit below .300 three times in his 18-year career. It's hard to have a slump buster if you never have a slump.

Also, when trying to determine who constitutes a slump buster and who does not, it's important to note that the guy in the slump isn't typically attracted to the slump-buster. So, no A-Rod--Kate Hudson and Cameron Diaz do not count.

David Tanklefsky is a freelance writer and musician from Boston who is currently calling play-by-play on internet radio for the Wilmington Sharks in Wilmington, N.C.


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