Nick Bovis isn’t superstitious – anymore. But he certainly remembers the days when a Giants' playoff run would force him to take supernatural steps to give the team a lift. He’d wear a Giants shirt for days on end without washing it. And then he’d beard-up.
“I wore a certain shirt and I wouldn’t shave,” said Bovis, who owns Lefty O’Doul’s restaurant in San Francisco’s Union Square. “But this time, I can’t do that anymore. I work in a restaurant.”
These days, Bovis is less skittish. To prove it, he stood on the sidewalk outside his restaurant, looking upward as crews hoisted a banner proclaiming Lefty’s the Giants’ World Series headquarters. Nevermind that pesky little detail of a pennant series against the tough Phillies.
“The beer company was superstitious,” said Bovis. “They said if you put it up --the Giants' going to the World Series -- you’re going to jinx them.”
Bovis figured if there were a jinx, it wouldn’t be entirely his fault. After all, the team is already selling World Series tickets.
Inside the restaurant, however, the air was so thick with baseball past you’d almost expect to see someone hovering over an Ouija board. Bartender Paul Stengel described one particular Giants super fan and his trusty Giants’ jersey.
“He hasn’t taken off his shirt since two weeks prior to the post season,” said Stengel, whose grandfather was Yankees great Casey Stengel. “He’s been wearing the same shirt and he’s starting to get a little ripe.”
Stengel said ritualistic customers often request the same drinks, in the same order as the previous Giantswin. It’s all about not disturbing the cosmic baseball order.
“I definitely have rituals,” said Giants fan Daniel Turman. “But I don’t wear a thong, I do my laundry, I don’t wear the same shirt for every game. It’s much cleaner to grow a beard and properly groom it.”
Turman is the founder of a website Fearthebeard.org, which is devoted to “bearding up” for Bay Area playoff teams.
Turman sported a beard he plans to grow until the Giants either lose, or win the World Series. Turman’s site also provides paper beards fans can print out, ala reliever Brian Wilson.
“The team obviously didn’t clinch until the final day,” said Turman, brushing his two week stubble. “So my beard might have been in more robust playoff form.”
You might not know the name Ken Badufki, but apparently he’s responsible for one of the Giant’s losses to the Atlanta Braves during their recent series.
The reason for the loss: his wife washed his Giant’s division title jersey. It was the one playoff game Badufki didn’t wear the good luck-inducing shirt, and the results were dire. But Giants fans take heart. He plans to wear the magic shirt from here on out.
“The plans for tomorrow is of course wearing that shirt wherever I watch the game,” said Badufki. “No washing it.”