The Madden curse, playoff beards, the Sports Illustrated cover jinx, offering rum to Jobu. Whether for good or for ill, sports superstitions are a part of the culture. Among baseball’s most oft-discussed superstitions is the curse of the home run derby. The insinuation that the derby can turn homer hot-hands into slumping dumps. The unsettling truth for Angels fans is that Mark Trumbo will now face that superstition head on. Speeding towards the All-Star game, Trumbo is one of ten people in the majors with 20 or more home runs. Numbers like that certainly qualify one to enter the derby, but given the derby’s track record, you have to question Trumbo’s judgment. Is there no other competition he could enter?
There are. Several in fact.
Nathan’s hot dog eating contest
Okay, so Trumbo’s no Kobayashi or Chestnut, but he could be a contender. Those same hands that can grip the lumber and rip a 400ft homer can also pound hotdogs with reckless abandon. “Soft-spoken” has been used to describe Trumbo, but only the critics are going to be left silent once he enters the scarf-and-gobble world of competitive eating. If he’s been taking any tips from Scioscia, he’s a lock for the competitive lasagna circuit. The problem with this is that if he is as good at eating as he is at hitting, his speed is going to be drastically affected. Fortunately, if Prince Fielder has taught us anything, it’s that being fat is not an obstacle to living a normal life as a home run hitter.
The WWE Royal Rumble
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! NOW ENTERING THE RING! THE ROCK-PILE SMASHER! MAAAAAAARK TRUMBOOOOOOOO!”
All apologies to Howard Finkel, but can’t you see it? Mark “The Terror” Trumbo! Scourge of the mid-card! His finisher “The Long Bomb”, feared by every opponent from Alberto Del Rio to Zack Ryder! Making the 90 foot dash from first to second has equipped Trumbo to make that same run down to entrance ramp as his theme music (LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out”) blares over the arena’s sound system. The champion is in the ring and BOOM! Trumbo gives him a home run swing right to the solar plexus! He doesn’t know what hit him! This Sunday at the Garden! Mark Trumbo is going to whup some candy ass and bring the title back to ANAHEIM! It’s definitely fun to think about, but impractical. Trumbo seems more the type to enjoy athletic match-ups that don’t have pre-determined endings.
The Scottish highland games
Now this is right up Trumbo’s alley! The man called a “stud” by many an analyst can prove his mettle against some of the brawniest men and women ever to put on a kilt. Really, what is a caber but a giant, rough baseball bat? Trumbo’s had plenty of practice flipping them after jacking one over the wall. The same muscle training that helps Trumbo drop precision bloops out of the infield will help him positively launch the projectiles in the sheaf toss and hammer throw competitions. Plus, If he borrows Peter Bourjos’s signature sock style, he’ll fit right in with all of the other kilt wearers. The merchandising cash from kilted rally monkeys alone will be worth any concern of injury!
When it comes down to it, it’s all Trumbo’s decision. Fans have oft been accused of building up these sports curses to be bigger than they are. Many athletes simply choose to ignore superstition. Perhaps Mark Trumbo is one of these men. Maybe he’ll buck the curse, win the whole damn thing and his production won’t miss a beat. Maybe many, MANY more Angels fans will be going home with souvenir homerun balls from Mark Trumbo. It is everyone’s sincere hope that those scenarios come to be truth.
Still, it’s not ridiculous to think this might be a cunning plan by Robinson Cano to ruin Trumbo’s swing and keep the Halos out of the playoffs.