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Ballplayers will do almost anything for good luck. Like ancient alchemists, who thought they could turn lead to gold, some hitters think they can warm up a cold bat if they tie their shoes differently or eat only chicken before games.
Jason Jacobs tried a mustache.
On June 29, after going 0–7 in a double-header in the midst of a frustrating slump, light hairs started sprouting on the upper lip of the 2006 Cyclone all-star.
“I was struggling, so I figured I’d try something new,” the “Georgia Bulldog” told The Brooklyn Paper. “Of course, it didn’t hurt that my fiancee was out of town, doing some wedding planning in Atlanta. She hates mustaches. Says it gives her a rash when I kiss her.”
Within days, the new hairs turned Jacobs into a latter day Samson. Suddenly, he was enjoying a six-game hitting streak during which he was 11 for 22 (.500) with one homer and three RBIs.
The philtrum follicles probably had nothing to do with it. But what if they did?
“Naw, it’s just a goofy thing,” Jacobs said. “I figured I’d grow a mustache and people would laugh at me and that would take my mind off the stuff at the plate. And maybe even a few guys on the team would join me and it would get even goofier.”
No such luck. The rest of the Cyclones are hitting like major-leaguers, and the pitchers are throwing zeroes, so no one else wanted to mess with the kind of success that propelled the team to its second-best-ever start, 15–6.
Plus, many on the team share Jacobs’s fiancee’s feelings about mustaches.
“I don’t like them,” said reliever Dan McDonald, who, at age 21, swears he could grow facial hair (though the evidence is unclear). “But then again, if he stays hot, I’ll grow one as thick as Keith Hernandez’s!”
Alas, Jacobs went 0–4 on July 6 and decided his luck had run out.
Plus, his fiancee was coming back.
“I actually talked to him about it,” Cyclones manager Edgar Alfonzo said. “I told him that the most important person is the fiancee. If she doesn’t like it, that’s it.”
But then the skipper admitted that he had done goofy things to keep streaks going, though he wouldn’t be specific about the actual goofiness.
“Well, of course, if it was me, I would never mess with the streak. When you got something going good, you don’t mess with it.”
Since shaving off the ’stache, Jacobs is hitting 1 for 10 (.100).
McDonald said he learned a valuable lesson from the experience. “The wife has the final say,” he said. “Of course, I can say that because I won’t be getting married any time soon.”
©2007 Community Newspaper Group
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