Baseball, perhaps more than any other sport, can appear deceptively simple to the outsider or casual fan. It is, however, a richly nuanced game governed for more than a century as much by the written rulebook as by a constantly evolving tacit philosophy referred to as "the code." The code concerns itself with nearly every aspect of the game and can be considered baseball's moral compass, in place to engender loyalty not only to one's teammates, but also to the game itself.
The Baseball Codes, written by Jason Turbow (with Michael Duca), is an anecdotal glimpse into the game's unwritten rules. Intimidation, retaliation, cheating, and general etiquette are all covered at length, and even the most devout fan will learn something new. The many unbelievable stories employed to illustrate a particular tenet of the code make this book a must-read for any sports lover who has ever spent the long winter pining for the month of April to come again. In an age of sports media often dominated by tales of performance-enhancing drugs, multi-million dollar contracts, off-the-field improprieties, and superstar diva personalities, it's refreshing to read about the game beyond all of the sensationalized headlines. While The Baseball Codes is at times too repetitious, it's hard not to get caught up in the authors' obvious enthusiasm. The book, at its core, is a collection of unforgettable moments that help to define the often misunderstood principles underlying the greatest game ever played. Recommended By Jeremy G., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From an award-winning humorist, a touching memoir and manifesto that reveals the deep secrets of fan jinxes, hexes, and charms
Did you know there is a secret to winning ballgames? Its not the players, managers, money, or luck. Its juju, and no one knows it better than Hart Seely. Seely has spent a lifetime practicing the art of juju from his living room. And winning ballgames for the New York Yankees. He paces floors. He yells at defenseless TVs. He rallies the team like Churchill addressing the collective British soul. But what he is really doing is harnessing juju energy to influence the outcome of games. And it works.
In this uproarious, unforgettable fan confessional, Seely shares the basics of juju for the beginner—“Setting the Table,” asking for a called strike instead of a walk-off homer—to advanced juju—“Bringing the Neg,” predicting bad events to keep them from actually happening—to the deepest, darkest formulas of this age-old art. Along the way readers come to know Hart and his hilarious band of fellow juju practitioners, a secret club of friends whose fandom bonds them across decades, not to mention won/loss columns.
Nostalgic, heartwarming, and laugh-out-loud funny, The Juju Rules is a memoir of a life well-lived in service to ones team that shows how love can be a powerful passion in the best way.
"As he chronicles his unique relationship with his father (a fan of any team playing the Yankees), learning to appreciate the wisdom of Yankee announcer Phil Rizzuto while listening to games with his grandmother, pursuing the love of his life and commiserating with a comedic stable of Yankee-loving (and Yankee-hating) pals, genuine moments of pathos, heart and happiness emerge."
"Seely...weaves his life as a Yankees fan with instructions on how to apply the rules in a fast-paced, hilarious fashion—at times touching, but never dull...This rollicking exposition unveils a rabid fan who claims to have a 'Jekyll/Hyde' complex with respect to the Yankees. There is no Jekyll or Hyde—there is only Seely, a true fan."
--Publishers Weekly "Hart Seelys use of 'juju rules' in support of the Yankees is not only curious, hilarious and excessive but also familiar! His 'off the wall' tennis ball game (played at home to spur a Yankees rally) was also a backyard passion of my own. Clearly Hart comes to the classic fanatic level, and this chronicle of his life as a devoted fan is entertaining - and universal."
- Tony LaRussa, former major league manager "Part George Bailey, part Yoda, part screaming superfan, Hart Seely has written a hilarious memoir that gives fans everywhere the mystical tools they need to win games from hundreds of miles away."
-James Finn Garner, bestselling author of The Politically Correct Bedtime Stories Trilogy "A heart-warming, hilarious story about being a Yankee fan? It must be a joke, right? And yet, here it is. The Juju Rules is a wonderfully-told story that reminded me why I fell in love with baseball in the first place. You don't have to root for the Yankees to enjoy this book, but it certainly helps. Hey, Red Sox fans: I'd like to see you top this!"
--Jonathan Eig, author of Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig "I kept waiting for Hart Seelys The Juju Rules to stop being funny, but it never did. Seely tells the story of all of us who have ever sat in a favorite chair knowing that if we got up to go to the bathroom at the wrong time it could doom our team to defeat and maybe even cost us a pennant."
--Glenn Stout, author of Fenway 1912 and series editor of Best American Sports Writing "I used to think Iwas a crazy Yankees fan, but Hart Seely has me beat by a grand slam. The Juju Rules is in a league of its own - a self-help book for baseball addicts, a story with hilarious jokes and zingy one liners, a satirical look at sports and popular culture, and a truly poignant memoir. The scene in which the author watches a Yankees game while his wife is in labor is now my go-to image whenever I need a laugh. No fan should even consider following the 2012 season without arming himself with this book first."
--Jane Heller, bestselling novelist and author of Confessions of a She-Fan
Everyone knows that baseball is a game of intricate regulations, but it turns out to be even more complicated than we realize. What truly governs the Major League game is a set of unwritten rules, some of which are openly discussed (don’t steal a base with a big lead late in the game), and some of which only a minority of players are even aware of (don’t cross between the catcher and the pitcher on the way to the batter’s box). In The Baseball Codes
, old-timers and all-time greats share their insights into the game’s most hallowed—and least known—traditions. For the learned and the casual baseball fan alike, the result is illuminating and thoroughly entertaining.
At the heart of this book are incredible and often hilarious stories involving national heroes (like Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays) and notorious headhunters (like Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale) in a century-long series of confrontations over respect, honor, and the soul of the game. With The Baseball Codes, we see for the first time the game as it’s actually played, through the eyes of the players on the field.
With rollicking stories from the past and new perspectives on baseball’s informal rulebook, The Baseball Codes is a must for every fan.
Learn the secret of juju from Hart Seely, a man who wins games for the New York Yankees in his living room by harnessing juju energy, in this hilarious, unforgettable fan confessional from an award-winning humorist.
About the Author
has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal
, SportsIllustrated.com, and Slam
magazine. He is a regular contributor to Giants Magazine
, and for three years served as content director for “Giants Today,” a full-page supplement in the San Francisco Chronicle
that was published in conjunction with every Giants home game. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.
Michael Duca was the first chairman of the board of Bill James’s Project Scoresheet, was a contributor to and editor of The Great American Baseball Stats Book, and has written for SportsTicker, “Giants Today” in the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Associated Press. He covers the San Jose Sharks for Examiner.com and works for the Office of the Commissioner as an official scorer and for MLB.com. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Table of Contents
Prologue: When Ari Met Seely xi
Opening Day 1
Off the Wall 10
Swept Away 17
The Dice of God 24
Bobby, Mickey, and the Duke 30
The Two-Second Threshold 37
Rudy May Not 47
Yankee Love 55
The Yankee Crier 69
The Hoosier Show Lounge Massacre 79
George Brett 98
The Ultimate Yankee Fan 108
Damned Fool 117
New Hampshire 132
Touching the Stone 140
The Knot 160
“George Steinbrenner Must Die” 170
Frank Crosetti 180
The Trip 193
The Rizzutonic Verses 202
Yankee Incentive Rewards 218
Bringing the Neg 227
Epilogue: The Yard 267