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Even Bing Crosby Believed in Sports Jinxes

Posted by languageandgrammar on September 25, 2010

By Paul Yeager, author of Literally, the Best Language Book Ever and Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities

One of the funny things that sports fans do is believe that they can influence the game by attending it, watching it, listening to it, or even being in the same country as the game.

If that were true, imagine the competing influences if the New York Giants were to ever play the New York Jets in the Super Bowl, with millions of fans on each side jinxing the outcome of the game. The greatest city in the world would likely crumble in the midst of the tumultuous energy of so many would-be jinxers.

Either that, or the winner of the game would actually be determined by the players on the field rather than the fans.

The silliness of the superstition of fans believing that their mere following of a game will result in a negative outcome extends beyond the average fan to the superstars of entertainment.

It turns out that Bing Crosby felt the same way, fearing that his merely being in the country would jinx the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series in 1960 against the New York Yankees. Crosby was a part-owner of the Pirates (who through the early 90s were one of the great franchises of all time–strange what 17 consecutive years of losing does to a team’s reputation).

As a result, Crosby hired a high-tech company to record the game, long before the modern VCR was invented, and the resulting tape of the historic 7th game (when Bill Mazeroski hit a game-winning walk-off homerun for Pittsburgh) is the only known copy of the game.

Because of Bing Crosby’s illogical and common sports paranoia, the game is not lost forever.

Read more at the New York Times.

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