Mentalist: I can make The Pittsburgh Pirates win
The hapless Pittsburgh Pirates have sunk so low in the standings that The Amazing Kreskin is offering his services to bail them out -- for an undisclosed fee.
The mentalist, best known for his spots on late-night TV shows and a good run of picking winners of Super Bowls, Academy Awards and elections, thinks the Buccos not only will make this their 18th consecutive losing season, but will continue to stay below .500 for another two years.
In relief, The Amazing Kreskin wants the ball, even if it's crystal. The Pirates didn't return messages to see if they would give it to him.
"It's not just the chance of turning things around, but also, in some ways, it's the bizarre humor of it all," said Kreskin, 75, from his home in North Caldwell, N.J. "We've got to look at everything in life with a touch of humor, even the dreadful economy that we're in now."
Kreskin told the Tribune-Review he became interested in saving the foundering Pirates while reading about a costumed pierogi mascot whom the franchise fired -- then rehired -- after he posted online grumblings about the terrible team. Abusing the sacred pierogi, the Polish-American Kreskin said, created an uncool culinary mojo and highlighted a confused front office unable to produce winners.
If retained, Kreskin promises to exile Pirates general manager Neal Huntington and manager John Russell until their recently revealed contract extensions expire in 2011, deals he believes sent the wrong message of "failure and lack of team success" to a squad showcasing the worst hitting and the second-worst pitching stats in Major League Baseball.
"I'm not saying that we fire these two guys. I think they should be given a vacation in Tibet for two years. In Tibet, or perhaps Uruguay, or someplace very, very comfortable," said Kreskin.
Kreskin believes that once the undynamic duo departs, he could use the power of suggestion to fix the players' collective funk. He says group sessions could convince the Bucs they're not fated to dwell in the basement of the National League, victims of a culture of losing, and could rise to become champions, something they owe to fans in these troubled times.
It's not the first time the hypnotist and entertainer born George Joseph Kresge has dabbled in sports. A March 7, 2003, morning radio stunt gridlocked Toronto traffic after Kreskin encouraged motorists to stop their cars, roll down their windows and for two minutes scream, "Win! Win! Win!"
Mired in a 12-game losing streak, the NBA Raptors lost that night. But then something spooky happened: The Raptors beat the Miami Heat 83-74 on the road and took 12 of their next 18 games -- half of the team's wins that season.
In 2007, The Amazing Kreskin offered to help the not-so-amazin' New York Mets as they entered a June slump. Management rebuffed the lifelong Yankees fan, and the defending NL East champs then fell into a September swoon punctuated by putrid pitching. The Mets finished a game behind the Philadelphia Phillies.
Fans at the Pirates' Thursday night game against the Phillies at PNC Park told the Trib that wooing Kreskin away from a few of his more than 300 annual entertainment gigs wouldn't be the dumbest personnel move the Pirates have made. Over the past decade they've traded away Jason Schmidt, Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton for a string of benched bombs.
Defiantly donning the jersey of Nate McLouth, the All-Star center fielder traded last year to the Atlanta Braves for a trio of prospects, Jeff Deard of Greenfield said he'd prefer The Amazing Kreskin did a mind meld on Pirates owner Robert Nutting.
"There is hope for the new kids. I worry more about Nutting," said Deard, 35. "You've got to spend money to keep your players. You've got some good kids coming up, but if we trade them again this year like we do every year for prospects, it hurts the team. We worry that it's the same old, same old."
After last night's win, the Pirates are 28-51, last in their division.
Reached at her Modern Oracle Tarot office, however, Scott's "no drama Obama kind of psychic" Ronda Snow said the Pirates don't need advice from mentalists or aid from the spiritual realm. She should know: Her cards hinted that her beloved Penguins would take the Stanley Cup in 2009.
"The Pirates need to get a good manager. And then they need to train the team to win," said Snow, 45. "We need to talk about being pragmatic here, not predicting."