Posted: 11:00 am Friday, August 29th, 2014
By Jeff Schultz
This has been a Braves’ season in which not nearly enough has gone right, but there’s a cantor in New Jersey who apparently has the answer to all of their problems. At least one night a week.
“The Braves are 10-0 when I wear it,” cantor Bruce Rockman of Congregation B’nai Tikvah in North Brunswick, N.J., said. “But we’re taking a big risk by making this public.”
To the Old Testament miracles of locusts, boils and the parting of the Red Sea, we add: The Undefeated Tallis.
Rockman has a unique, Braves-inspired prayer shawl he wears in services on Friday nights, the beginning of the Sabbath. It’s white with blue and red trim and adorned with Braves logos.
You know what’s coming, right? File this under the Jewish spiritual version of, “They only win when I wear my lucky socks and sit in that chair with my legs crossed”: The Braves are 10-0 on Friday nights when Rockman, a long-time Braves’ fan, wears that tallis.
Let’s see Superman’s cape do that.
I wasn’t going to ask him for documentation because — come on, me, question a cantor?
To what does Rockman attribute the “magic”?
“I leave that up to God,” he said. “A tallis represents prayer and we just hope that God notices. I think God has more important things to do than worry about the Braves. But maybe if we do mitzvahs (deeds), He might do us a favor.”
B.J. Upton. Now that would be a favor.
Rockman, who attended the Braves’ win over the Mets in New York Wednesday, plans to wear the tallis when the Braves open a homestand tonight against Miami.
Worth noting: If you broke down the Braves’ results by days of the week, Friday is easily their most successful day: Monday 7-8, Tuesday 8-12, Wednesday 9-12, Thursday 5-9, Friday 16-5, Saturday 12-10, Sunday 13-8.
Rockman joked he only wears the tallis when his friend, Gary Wesalo, another Braves’ fan, feels the team needs some otherworldly boost. Neither are from Atlanta. But Rockman’s father “hated the Yankees,” and the son has some vague recollection of liking to play “Cowboys and Indians” as a youth, so he pulled for the Milwaukee Braves in the 1957 World Series. Wesalo’s father was a Boston Braves fan.
Rockman’s wife had the Braves’ tallis specially made for him 10 years ago for his 50th birthday. “I wear it periodically,” he said.
But this is the first season when the shawl seems to have transformed the Braves into, well, Chosen Ones.
There’s really only one problem: The Braves play six or seven days a week.
•Some recent ramblings (free links)
– AJC: Weekend Predictions (no lie): Dogs over Clemson – MyAJC: Richt, Georgia need another highlight – MyAJC: Braves CEO Terry McGuirk vows ‘Everbody accountable’ – MyAJC: Full Q&A with Braves CEO Terry McGuirk – AJC: It’s ‘Sack Schultz’ time. Think you can grill me? – MyAJC: If Tech wins, it will be with a better option – MyAJC: Predicting Georgia Tech’s season, game-by-game – AJC: On Braves, McGuirk and repairing baseball – MyAJC: Baseball repair list: Pardon Rose, quicken pace, shorten season – AJC: Braves find a groove, but so do Nationals – MyAJC: Mike Tice has a challenge — and he knows it – AJC: Bobby Petrino, Todd Grantham reportedly feuding already – AJC: Falcons can survive without Baker, not others – AJC: FSU No. 1, Georgia No. 12 in poll of insignificance – MyAJC: Trent Miles trying to change attitudes at Georgia State – AJC: With Braves six back, is ‘Fat Lady’ singing? – MyAJC: B.J. Upton, Braves continue their zombie walk – MyAJC: Cancer didn’t slow Michael Cooper – AJC: Braves’ attendance reflects lack of confidence – MyAJC: Falcons showing humility, lack of comfort — and that’s good – AJC: Braves being hurt by shortage of leaders – MyAJC: Can ‘Power 5′ conferences handle this power? – AJC: Who’s most to blame for Braves’ fall? (vote in poll)
About the Author
Sports blogger and columnist Jeff Schultz has been with the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution since 1989. He has been honored several times by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE), National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) and several other organizations.