Syracuse Post-Standard reporter/humorist Seely instructs fans on how to harness the awesome power of “Juju Rules” on behalf of their favorite teams, but primarily if their favorite team is the New York Yankees.
Baseball has ever been the go-sport for writers, and the Yankees—when someone’s not pining for the Brooklyn Dodgers of old—the evergreen team du jour. In that respect, Seely treads well-covered ground in describing the fusion of his pathological love of the Yankees with his comical juju-generating tactics, which range from selecting the right good-luck chair to “the lookaway,” wherein the seasoned juju practitioner looks away from the TV at the precise moment a ball is about to cross the plate in an effort to induce a strike or a hit. The author presents 27 rules, and while his good-natured humor abounds, the concept quickly loses its novelty. Woven through the juju rules, however, is a far more interesting narrative: Seely’s life story, beginning with his upbringing in upstate New York through his present-day life as a reporter. As he chronicles his unique relationship with his father (a fan of any team playing the Yankees), learning to appreciate the wisdom of Yankee announcer Phil Rizzuto while listening to games with his grandmother, pursuing the love of his life and commiserating with a comedic stable of Yankee-loving (and Yankee-hating) pals, genuine moments of pathos, heart and happiness emerge. It’s unfortunate that the juju gimmick obscures a fine addition to the hallowed library of baseball-centric memoirs.
Similar to most baseball games—a lot of dead time between meaningful moments, but those moments make it worthwhile.