Forget the Sports Illustrated cover jinx. Worry about the mime jinx.
You haven’t heard of the mime jinx? I hadn’t either until the Cubs trotted out a mime Tuesday to “entertain’’ their players at spring training. In that instant, I knew that there was such a thing as a mime jinx and that, when the Cubs don’t win the World Series this season, the mute guy with his face painted white will be to blame. The white-haired, talkative guy who runs the club, manager Joe Maddon, will have to answer for why he allowed a mime to infiltrate his camp.
Mimes are creepy creatures with no redeeming value other than to freak out children and to give theater majors something to do when they’re not busy being unemployed. If you’re ever in the market for omens and bad vibes, go looking for a mime. They make clowns look like upstanding civic leaders.
It wasn’t Maddon’s idea to invite the mime to camp, but he has created an atmosphere that would be hospitable to mimes. We laughed last season when he brought in exotic animals for his players’ amusement. We thought it funny when he had the players dress up in pajamas for a flight home. Some of us rolled our eyes when he brought in a magician and later suggested the magic had something to do with his team’s success.
But a man with a red beret, a red bowtie and white gloves? Say it ain’t so, Joe.
Baseball players are to mimes what cowboys are to chamomile tea. And that’s why, if you watch the video of the mime at camp, you’ll notice no Cub paying attention to him while he’s pretending to do calisthenics with them.
There’s a scene in the movie “Tootsie’’ in which Dustin Hoffman’s character, an actor, sees a mime pretending to walk a tightrope on a curb. Hoffman pushes him over, the natural inclination of every human being, and a nation cheered as one.
Cubs fans of a superstitious bent are worried about the team’s appearance on the cover of SI’s annual baseball issue. They should worry about the mime. If Maddon is this worried about his team being tense, then it’s over. Consider yourself warned.