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The Juju Rules: Or, How to Win Ballgames from Your Couch: A Memoir of a Fan Obsessed Hardcover – April 17, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Hart Seely on The Juju Rules
What exactly is juju?
Juju is the anecdotal science of influencing the outcome of sporting events through seemingly unrelated acts, in the comfort and privacy of your home. It combines the most recent revelations from the Large Hadron Collider to other unexplainable phenomena, such as the inability of a certain millionaire Yankee third baseman to hit with runners on base.
Could juju affect sports other than baseball?
Football, possibly. I've tried it over the years with the New York Giants, but frankly, Eli Manning is a total crapshoot. As for basketball and hockey, forget it. They're too chaotic. You can't be flinging juju into your TV during a two-on-one fast break. Proper juju requires 20 to 30 seconds of down time between each pitch. That's just enough time to focus on the pitcher, to concentrate on the situation, and to ponder what a failure you are in life--until now, when you can finally do something to help your team.
Was there ever one Yankee game that your observance of the juju rules most affected?
Ever hear of a fellow named Bucky Dent? I'm the reason why in Boston he has a special middle name.
How has your life of juju affected your family?
Well, I'm still married, and the kids haven't become Satanists, or Red Sox fans. I think everyone in the house realizes, at least on some subconscious level, that their lives will be slightly happier if the Yankees win. They won't have to fear finding me in the basement. But my kids have never openly practiced juju, unless they were working the weather for a snow day.
Couldn’t your juju theories be used against the Yankees?
OK. Here's an anecdote for you. The story goes that Albert Einstein had just finished writing a big equation on the chalkboard at Princeton--maybe it was Nevada-Las Vegas, I’m sketchy--when the class dork raises his hand and says, "But Professor Einstein, couldn't your formula be used to build a bomb?" The whole room goes Greta Garbo. You can hear the roaches. So what does Einstein do? He erases the board. Class dismissed. Nobody even gets homework.
Well, before publishing what I know about juju, I considered doing the same. Yes, this book could put enormous destructive power into the hands of small market radicals, such as fans of the Cleveland Indians. But we in the Yankee fan base cannot stifle the advancement of juju. Every American child deserves access to juju. Every family should have the opportunity to torture a couch--and win a game. As a free society, we must move forward. We must let juju shine upon every town, every home, every person, regardless of race, religion, or team. A new world is at hand, and we must not fear it.
This book is not merely a recipe for revolution, but it's a pedagogy for peace, a formula for the future, a manifesto for mankind. You know, in many ways, I didn’t choose to write this book. This book chose. . . to write. . . me.
Hart Seely's Top Ten Juju Rules
Overall, 27 juju "rules" dictate how fans can influence the outcome of sporting events from the comfort and privacy of their own homes. We asked juju master Hart Seely to list his ten top commandments. . .
1. TELL NO ONE. Remember the first rule of Fight Club? ("Never talk about Fight Club.") Same here, but double it.
2. NEVER TRY TO PROVE JUJU WORKS. Waste of time. Juju does not perform in clinical tests.
3. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A LUCKY SHIRT. If there was, trust me, you wouldn't own it.
4. IT'S OK TO ABUSE INANIMATE OBJECTS. After a brutal defeat, a door should expect to be slammed. (Note: Waterboarding remains cruel and barbaric. We in America do NOT torture inanimate objects.)
5. BE NEGATIVE. In life, let the glass be half-full. But always expect your team to lose. Worst-case scenario: You're a visionary.
6. NEVER HOST A VICTORY PARTY FOR AN UPCOMING GAME. A guaranteed defeat and a lousy party.
7. NEVER HARM YOUR TELEVISION. No matter what happens on screen, it's not her fault.
8. NEVER ASK GOD TO FIX A GAME. He has more important things to do, and He doesn't need a point-shaving scandal.
9. WHEN A STRATEGY WORKS, DON'T ABUSE IT. You cannot hop on one foot throughout an entire season. Save your best for the World Series.
10. EVERY GAME IS THE WORLD SERIES. Are we clear?
"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."
– 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 Seely’s 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
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Now, on to the Yankee hating. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, and because of guys like Yogi Berra and Joe Pepitone, most Italians (the town of 2,500 or so was 90 percent Italian in the 60s, and it was celebrated in Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers) absolutely worshiped the Yankees. Well, even more than Yogi and Joe, who were a big deal to my friends, was the fact that the Yankees ALWAYS won. Real tough rooting for the Yankees. It was one of their glory periods, the late 50s and through the 60s. I absolutely HATED the whole Yankee continuum.
So what did I do as a kid? Root for the Phillies, a natural since Philly was 90 minutes south (NYC was 90 minutes east)? Nope. The Mets? Are you kidding me? No, I decided at around 9 or 10 that my team would be the San Francisco Giants, of Mays, McCovey and Marichal fame. To me, they were the anti-Yankees. Sure, they hardly won much of anything, but in my world view, they had the Yankees crushed when it came to one thing ... call it baseball cool. I remember bus tripping to Philly's Connie Mack Stadium as a Little Leaguer (we had one trip every year, wearing our uniforms no less) when I was 10 and the Giants, of all teams, were in town. Sitting in the outfield bleachers right behind the Say Hey Kid, well life didn't get any better than that.
Of course, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the local church, sponsored several bus pilgrimages to the House That Ruth Built, and I once or twice I made the trip to cheer for anyone playing the Yankees, just like Hart's dad. The most memorable visit came in 1964 when we went for a doubleheader - Yankees vs. Tony Oliva and the Minnesota Twins. It was bat day (Remember them? Now, imagine Phillies vs. Mets and Bat Day in 2012. Ugly). Today, right in the corner of my office as I type this note is the bat I got that day, a Bobby Richardson signature slapped on it. Nope, never used it. But I still remember being in Yankee Stadium ... and rooting for the Twins. Mantle and Maris both homered that day. Even so, the Twins swept. Ahhh. A Yankee hater's dream day at the ballpark.
Anyway, thanks Hart, for the first book about baseball that I ever read cover to cover. Highly recommended. What sports fan among us hasn't practiced the art of juju?
If You are a sports fan in general it's also a fun book ! enjoy. I recommend it.