I Put a Spell on You

If you’ve listened to Episode #13 of Just The Tip (“The Boss’s Nips”!), you’re already familiar with a particular photo featuring your humble author, alongside international film star/man-of-one-name Sinbad. That photo also includes a giant inflatable amoeba named Ammo, who is frankly almost an afterthought.

Sinbad Photo
Look how happy we all are!

As my friend Amy Jane Gruber and I discussed on the show, I bestowed a copy of that photo upon her family back in March of this year. Friend of the site Maggie Steciuk provided a lovely frame and helped print the photo, just in time for us to give it to Amy’s husband John for his birthday. The image above actually shows the picture on display in the Gruber home. As you can no doubt tell, it’s a wonderful conversation piece, sure to raise questions like “Who the hell are these guys?” and ”OK, why are they on your dining room table?”.

While this piece of ridiculousness was ostensibly given to John for his birthday, I’m now delighted to reveal that this present was given for my own secret benefit as well. Before I explain, there are some facts you need to know.

Background Information

The secret here is rooted in baseball, but you don’t need to be a sports fan to appreciate it. You only need to be aware of a few things.

Fact #1: As should be obvious from the infamous Here Comes The Pizza! post, as well as more than a few other posts, I’m a die-hard fan of the Boston Red Sox.

Fact #2: John, meanwhile, is a die-hard New York Yankees fan, as his own site shows. The Gruber clan came up to Boston to catch a Sox game back in August, and even at America’s Most Beloved Ballpark, his half-serious churlishness shone through:

Fenway Park
You’ve been to The Vet, John. No way is Fenway a shithole.
[Photo credit: @gruber]

Fact #3: The Red Sox and Yankees have one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports, featuring an 86-year championship drought for the Red Sox while the Yankees dominated the sport, along with the miraculous 2004 Championship Series comeback by Boston over New York.

As you’d expect, during the baseball season there’s been plenty of good-natured ribbing between John and me. I definitely got the worst of it recently, with the Red Sox suffering an epic collapse in 2011, followed by their worst season in decades in 2012.

World Champions

2013, however, has been a different story. The Red Sox spent most of the season in first place, coming from behind to grab one win after another. Meanwhile, the Yankees struggled throughout the summer, ultimately missing the postseason entirely. In the playoffs, the Red Sox rolled on. As seen in this rather brutal cover from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Red Sox just wrapped up an amazing 2013 season by winning the World Series.

It's Over Photo
Salt in your own city’s wound, St. Louis Post-Dispatch!

Since April, the resilience of this grieving city was reflected by a team that refused to give up on the field. There’s no two ways about it, baseball can’t heal physical wounds. Still, the game can and did serve as a welcome distraction from emotional pain. This year’s Red Sox were up to the task of giving this city something to cheer about.

Also, there were beards. Oh, what beards.

Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts

So then, back to that ridiculous photo of Sinbad. As I mentioned above, this was something of a gift to myself. More specifically, it was a hex on John and his beloved New York Yankees. Given its apparent effectiveness, perhaps I shouldn’t spill the beans, but it’s just too good not to share.

You see, before Maggie and I framed the photo, we snapped another shot. We printed that picture out and tucked it behind Sinbad, then handed off the gift. We didn’t know how long it would take before our mild treachery could be unveiled. Now, just seven and a half months later, I’ve asked our unwitting accomplice on the inside to reveal the hidden photo.

You’ve gotta love the long con.

Yes, like a Trojan horse, the Sinbad photo carried our hidden image into John’s den of Yankee fervor. There it sat, hidden, undetected, but clearly working its magic all season long. In the end, it has proven its worth, and the Red Sox are the best in baseball. Now, I’m not saying Maggie and I deserve World Series rings from the Red Sox organization for our incredible jinxing. But I’m not not saying that either.