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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

4.5 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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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.



"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."
--Kirkus Reviews

"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 Seely’s 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 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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547622376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547622378
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,266,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hart Seely and I share a passion for the Yankees and the game of baseball. The difference between us is that he is able to tell really funny stories about how that passion has impacted his life. This is a charming and entertaining memoir about growing up with the serious fan's affliction, and Seely is quite entertaining. But it's not actually all about baseball, which is why I would recommend it even to non-fans. Seely is fun to read and he delivers lots of smiles and plenty of laughs with this book. I enjoyed it a great deal, and in the end it was quite touching and sensitive as he looked back on his lifetime of being a fan as well as his important relationships with friends and family. It's surprising how much truth and wisdom comes from a man whose baseball fanaticism sometimes borders on superstition and lunacy. But in the end, his honest assessments provide the big payoff that makes this a memorable read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is hilarious. There were some parts of the narrative that were so funny I was actually crying and had to read them out loud to my husband. Seely's descriptions of his "JuJu" moves will resonate with anyone who is a passionate sports fan, but especially a baseball fan. (And even more specifically, a Yankee fan.)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Admittedly, knowing some of the characters in Hart Seeley's fantastic fan book made it even more hilarious (especially Chapter 18, Jay-Bird, as Jay was a very good friend). We worked together in the early 80s in Syracuse. I mean, it helps when you read something and imagine the actual author, someone you know, narrating in storyteller fashion as his face (and the faces of others) are part of the mix. Just amazingly funny is all I can say, but with some beautiful, poignant moments as well.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A must-have for any baseball fan, but particularly for those of us who love the New York Yankees! Seely's book had me sobbing from laughter, and also sobbing from some tragic moments which occurred in the course of the narrative. It's a great, quick read, very well constructed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a fun book to read. I went to college with the author. But we did not hang out together much. He refers to lots of places I remember. Some of the characters are also friends of mine. One fellow student that he liked Timmy Spry unfortunately passed away at a much too young age. If you are a Yankee fan you will love this. We Yankee fans are suffering through a difficult 2013 with all the injuries.

If You are a sports fan in general it's also a fun book ! enjoy. I recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Often, people tell me that you shouldn't do this or that because it's "bad luck". I scoff at these people and inform them that I am a man of science and not influenced by the silly superstitions practiced by potential reality show contestants.

Baseball is another thing...

Okay, not really, but at least in baseball I do not scoff at those who adhere to rally caps and not mentioning a no-hitter during a no-hitter and not stepping on the chalk foul line when going on or off the diamond. Baseball is a sport deliciously full of traditions and one of the best things about it is that it is not difficult to imagine the players of today competing with the players of 100 years ago. Try imagining Lebron James competing at Dr. Naismith's peach baskets.

Hart Seely understands these things also, and he has written a brilliant tongue-in-cheek book about his experiences playing within "The Juju Rules" while rooting for the New York Yankees.

A word about the "Yankee angle." I am NOT a Yankee fan. There are other sports where my allegience has maybe undergone a little geographic shift. While in Orlando I followed the Magic as much as my hometown Hawks, and while in Jacksonville I kept up with the Jags as much as the Falcons.

But baseball is different, and my Braves fanship is more seared into my soul than my politics or religion. Just kidding again, but my point is that baseball allegiences are deep and permanent. So - if you're NOT a Yankees fan it's likely not going to be as enjoyable reading about how Mr. Seely helped Derek Jeter through a crucial at-bat.

If you're a baseball fan, it's a good read. If you're a Yankees fan, I'd guess it's a MUST read.
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