Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Curse of the Spanish Cast

Fewer than 16 months ago the Memphis Grizzlies held their annual Kick-Off Luncheon at the FedEx Forum and as usual had a silent and live auction during the event. Players talked, the coaches talked and everyone had a very nice time. Even the food in the Forum was good. It was fun.

Until the live auction began.

Among the items up for bid were the Honorary Ball Boy on opening night, a trip with the Grizzlies to an away game (including flying on the team plane, hotel stay in the team hotel and tickets to the game), a chance to have Grizz visit your child's class and one odd item.

The team was going to auction off Gasol's cast from his broken foot he suffered while playing for Spain, not the Grizzlies mind you but Spain.

Who would want to buy a cast from a 7 ft man that had been wearing it during September and October in Spain? It wasn't decorated with Grizzlies stickers, it wasn't colored in Beale St Blue and while autographed by the big man himself it wasn't exactly something you would hang on the wall in your den. The team was coming off three successive playoff appearances and had won 49 games the year before and had made a big time trade to acquire Rudy Gay and Stromile Swift for Shane Battier but who would want to put a stinky cast from someone Else's foot on display?

What was even more incredible was that the cast sold for more than the Honorary Ball Boy! $200 more in fact!!! I can't imagine the thought process there. A lifetime memory for your son or a $700 piece of plaster that wasn't art and really can't even be put on display.

So it began.

Since that moment the Grizzlies have been a failure. They lost in triple OT to the Knicks to open the season. They won the fewest games since the team moved to Memphis. Over nearly a season and a half the team has gone from playoff contenders to one of the worst teams in the league. No playoffs, not big crowds and no fun. If that isn't a curse I don't know what is.

Things become cursed in innocent ways. A man brings a farm animal to a baseball game in Chicago, an owner traded a player to raise cash to produce a play for his girlfriend in Boston, even sports magazine covers can be cursed.

Holding on to the image of something broken has apparently cursed the Grizzlies. I don't remember the team auctioning off Big Country's back brace or the infected toe nail of JWill after all.

There are ways to determine if something or someone is cursed. lays it out in simple and easy words:

If the Lord of the twelfth be in the sixth, or the Lord of the sixth in the twelfth, or the Lord of the ascendant in the twelfth, or the Lord of the twelfth in the ascendant, or the Lord of the eighth in the ascendant, or the Lord of the ascendant in the eighth, in a Question where suspition of Witchcraft is, it is probable; otherwise not so: But the Judgment succeeding I have found more certaine.
Okay. Maybe it isn't so easy to actually determine.

The question now becomes how do we break the curse?

It is rather vague in how to remove curses. Would hiring a voodoo doctor work? Probably not since there are limits to the ways a curse can be removed and I imagine possessing the cursed item is on the list. The cast is held in private hands. I doubt anyone remembers who actually owns the cast now at the Grizzlies front office. IF they did know would they have to buy it back from the owner? The team isn't really free spending with their money these days. I mean they gave Bobby Jones jersey #6 which was previously owned by Eddie Jones after all. takes the stated position that not only can curses not be removed but paying money for such services would only make them worse!

So let's rule out the Grizzlies spending any money in this matter.

What makes matters more complicated is that removing a curse often involves sending the curse back on the person who started it. Who is that anyway? Was it the Boys and Girls Club of Memphis who sponsored the auction and received the proceeds? I doubt that anyone would support cursing that organization just to end the Grizzlies losing ways. But what if someone else was to blame? Do we blame Gasol for not getting rid of the cast in the first place? Do we want to risk cursing him now that he is play some of the best basketball of his career?

I know someone will suggest we trade Gasol for whatever we can get and then remove the curse and I can't deny that hasn't crossed my mind but what if it doesn't work? Remember that it is the belief of that you can't remove curses at all. The Sports Illustrated Cover Curse is still going strong, the Chicago Cubs have yet to figure out how to win a world series but Boston did overcome the Curse of the Bambino after 86 years.

What did Boston do? According to Wikipedia Boston tried just about everything. They hired exorcists, Father Quido Sarducci and even found a piano Babe reportedly pushed into a lake. Wikipedia went on to say:
Some declared the curse broken when, on August 31, 2004 a foul ball hit by Manny Ramirez flew into Section 9, Box 95, Row AA and struck a boy's face, knocking two of his teeth out.[2] 16-year-old Lee Gavin, a Boston fan whose favorite player was and remains Ramirez, lives on the Sudbury farm owned by Ruth. That same day, the Yankees suffered their worst loss in team history, a 22-0 clobbering at home against the Cleveland Indians.

So who is willing to buy Gasol's house and subject their son to a facial by Rudy Gay to break the curse?
If anyone has any other suggestions on how to break this curse just leave them in the comments.


Jason said...

The Memphis Grizzlies are not cursed. A string of bad luck? Yes. We are seeing the results of poor and shortsighted decision making.

The only way to at least end the negativity surrounding our team is a new start. Not this "New Game" we are seeing. Its time for Chris Wallace and Michael Heisley to make a decision.

Its time to dismantle our core. Its obvious that Pau/Mike/anyone is not going to work. Bring in players to surround your new core of Conley and Gay.

You wanna put people in the seats and end this mockery of an NBA team? Then stop giving them this pre-digested garbage you call new.

ChipC3 said...

Wouldn't Conley and Gay be a part of the negativity on the team? If we really want to trade them all shouldn't those players be included in the house cleaning?

CarlCR said...

Sorry Chip, but I don't believe in curses as you describe the Griz to have. However, I enjoyed your illustrative article, which is well written.

I do think they have underperformed and have shown immaturity as a team. Instead of a curse, I say it is a barrier. In sports barriers (mental, physical, physiological, or just feeling it exists) are often hard to overcome.

What will cause the team to move over this barrier (or these barriers) and to win games and be competitive and get back to the playoffs?

Is it a reshuffling of players?
Is it maturity of our younger players (Gay, Conley, Lowry, Milicic [yes he's still young in my thinking] and Navarro [to NBA style of play])?
Is it having our players learn to play defense or getting one or two defensive specialists?
Is it plain-ol' lack of confidence?

Personally, watching the team this year, I see them getting better. Close loses to good teams are not moral victories, they are indicators that the Griz can play with them and that a little more improvement and playing together will produce wins with those good teams.

I predict that in the 2nd half of the season (last 41 games) that the Grizzlies will play at least 500 ball. I think they could/should win 21 to 24 games.

They will learn to play and click together and the young players will improve and gain confidence.

That does nothing for this season, but does give promise for a better next year. (Yea, there is always next year.)

Lastly, if their winning percentage continues as it is now, then, it is time to shake up the team and trade and deal because a year is long enough to get it right. It's broken and this group isn't going to fix it.

jumpupstromile said...

I agree we'll see improved performance the second half of the season. BUT, not because our players suddenly learn how to play together or 'finally get what Coach Ivaroni is trying to teach them'. It will be because they'll start to play many teams that are out of the playoff race and have more of a reason to lose than to win. I predict we'll end up with 25 to 30 wins that everyone will point to as reason to hold out hope for next season. In fact, it'll be just that much smoke. I watch Gasol score 20 pts & grab 10 rebounds & wonder "how can we lose that kind of offense?" But I contend when we finally do trade him it will bring on a new focus or mindset to the taking 1 step back & 2 steps forward....if we can get a tough minded post-up player in return.

Anonymous said...

You know, if we had a curse, then we would really be a sports city.

I thoroughly believe that.

ranstay said...

Well, I think the best way to get rid of the curse would be: for the owner of the cast to meet Chip at center count, hit him in the mouth with it and knock-out at least 3 teeth (for good measure), then the curse would be successfully lifted!

ChipC3 said...

What makes you think I have three teeth left!

ranstay said...

Well, I got the cast, if you got the teeth! Seems it the least you could do for your favorite get the curse lifted and all!!!!

josek said...

Hi! I'm from Spain.
I think that Gasol, Navarro and Miller are the best ones of Memphis. Gay is good, but the strip all the balls and does not match collective.
Excuse for my level english, is very bad..


brandon said...

the curse started with Battier's departure. he may have the cast. and the leadership the grizz lack.

zack said...

i'm not being satirical at all...

the Grizzlies are cursed!!!!


Anonymous said...

Cold Eclipse says:

It's through some continous mistakes that the Grizzlies have made in the past that has led up to the current situation the Grizzlies are in right now. There's an old saying. "Don't bring yesterday's problems to tomorrow."

ChipC3 said...

Is it just a coincidence that once the true source of the curse was revealed the Grizzlies win in a blowout?

I think not!

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