So, with The Official 2008 Rally Post already written (Editor’s note: God, I am getting sick of those words), I thought it might be fun to do a quick background post on the rally cap. (Editor’s note: Number two is correct, and number three is hysterical).
Here is the “official” history of the rally cap from Wikipedia. Many people will tell you that it started in the 1986 World Series between the New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox, when Mets players flipped their caps in game 6. (Editor’s note: The Sox, of course, had to suffer through 18 years of The Rally Cap Curse). That, however, is not true, as the tradition derived all the way back in 1942, when Tigers fans would flip their caps to root on their teams. The Tigers tried it in game 5 of their 1945 World Series match-up against the Chicago Cubs, and they won that game, 8-4, and the series in 7. (Editor’s note: And the Chicago Cubs have been forced to endure 62 years of their own Rally Cap Curse. Does anybody else find it a bit odd that rally caps famously worked against the Red Sox and the Cubs?).
When does one employ the rally cap? Elect Jeff has a few rules, though I think its a far more complex endeavor. (Editor’s note: Of course he does. Because rally caps are sooooo interesting). Essentially, EJ says that you can’t bust out the rally cap until the 8th inning, it will only work if you are down by a few runs, and the traditional method of wearing the cap is by turning it as inside-out as possible and flipping it unto your head. That’s all fine and good, but I think we can be a bit more precise.
1. The cap should be worn as inside-out as possible and placed on the top of the head. Turning it backwards or sideways is not a rally cap.
2. When in a group or on a team, anybody with the proper hat (see articles 9 and 11) in the group must “rally” it. This is the only way to summon good luck. However, if in a large stadium of people, one group may don the rally cap while another may choose to abstain. (It has been suggested that the quantity of luck bestowed upon a team is directly proportional to the amount of people “rallying” their caps. This has been contested by a second school of thought, whose proponents argue that the quantity of luck is based upon the personal degree of enthusiasm for the rally. They argue that a very small amount of people can will a rally if they possess a highly intense enthusiasm for said rally – thus, the actual number of people wearing rally caps is deemed irrelevant. Neither theory has been proven)
3. If on a team, the cap may only be employed in the dugout. Again, everyone on the team must be rallying the cap (manager and coaches exempt).
4. A cap should not be worn before the 7th inning unless the team trails by more than 5 runs in a very meaningful game (i.e. Any postseason game or late August/early September game with relevance to a Divisional or Wildcard race)
5. It is acceptable to wear the rally cap in the 7th inning if trailing by at least 2 runs.
6. It is always acceptable to wear the rally cap after the 8th inning if your team is losing.
7. The rally cap may be used as a pregame ritual in a postseason series if your team is trailing in games by any of the following scenarios: down 2-0, down 3-0, down 3-1, down 3-2 if team had been down 3-1. However, the rally cap must be removed before the start of the game and only used again during the game if applicable to one of the preceding rules. (This is often viewed as symbolic, though in some circles it is considered to be on a higher plane of luck-summoning)
8. The rally cap has no impact whatsoever on any sport besides baseball.
9. The cap does not have to be the hat of the team being rooted for, but it cannot be a hat of any other baseball team. Any other cap is acceptable except for any hat relating in any way to the city of the opposing team. Thus, if the Phillies are playing the Rockies, and somebody is wearing a Broncos, Nuggets, Avalanche, or, for whatever reason, Coors Lite hat, that person must not rally their cap.
10. The rally cap must be continuously worn until the team either takes the lead or wins the game. If the team comes back from a deficit and takes the lead in the top of the 9th, for example, the rally caps must be returned to standard cap form. Failing to do so may transfer all luck to the opposing team.
11. Only baseball-style caps may be rallied. Any alterations to the following will fail to summon any luck: bucket hats, fedoras, beanies, visors, beret caps, ivy golf caps, pork pie hats, newsboy caps, anything with ear flaps, straw hats, fisherman hats, cowboy hats, etc.
(Editor’s note: The Pundit really needs to get out more. Actually, scratch that: he wouldn’t even know what to do with himself. Be sure to check in tomorrow for links and Part One of The Pundit’s NFL preview.)