Tag: Pop Culture

Whatever You Do, Don’t Touch Adrian Beltre’s Head!

Why are we here? Is man the product of chance or creation? Where do we go after we shuffle off this mortal coil?

These are all important questions, but today our aim is to discuss a greater quandary in the pantheon of intellectual discourse: Why does Adrian Beltre freak out when you touch his head?

For the uninitiated, over the last 15 years and longer, Beltre has exhibited a deeply entrenched fear of people touching his head. He hates it. Can’t stand it for a second.

It’s a strange side story for the Texas Rangers third baseman, whose career accomplishments include three Silver Slugger Awards, four Gold Gloves, four All-Star selections and over 2,500 hits. He’s a potential Hall of Famer and a respected veteran in the game, but after all this time, people still mess with him due to his gross overreaction to cranial contact.

Before we get into particulars of “why” Beltre is how he is, we must observe his habits. How does it happen?

For starters, the majority of Beltre-bothering comes from his own teammates.

Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez personally made Beltre’s life a living hell during their time with the Boston Red Sox.

How much did Martinez bother his teammate? Enough to make murder a semi-viable solution in Beltre’s mind.

“Sometimes I thought about killing him,” Beltre joked with MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. “But I thought about it. … I have a family, so I didn’t.”

Martinez didn’t start the tradition, though, as Sullivan reports:

Beltre said the head-rubbing began during his time in Seattle. Again, he won’t reveal who was the first guy to do it.

“It was my fault,” Beltre said. “I don’t remember, but somebody did it and I told them I didn’t like it. That’s like telling them to do it again. You know they’re going to do it because you don’t like it. So they started doing it over and over again.”

Now, Elvis Andrus has taken Martinez’s place as the ringleader. He has Beltre’s buttons on speed dial.

After that come the concerted, team-wide assaults on Beltre. Any time he belts a homer, his head is in for a genie lamp-style rubdown.

Then there are the not-so-sneaky sneak attacks.

It must be noted that the Rangers’ petting of their third baseman paints too narrow a picture of Beltre’s condition. He’s been around the league a long while—long enough to make friends who feel completely justified in picking at his scalp like a loose scab.

Robinson Cano favors bulk attempts over stealth.

Miguel Cabrera prefers to woo Beltre with flattery before making his intentions known.

Even mascots get in on the trolling.

At some point in life, Beltre’s aversion began to manifest itself physiologically. His paranoia has granted him the neck reflexes of a pit viper. Watch as he goes into Bullet Time to avoid a swipe from Cano.

Now, let’s see all these moving parts together. It’s time to take a look at a montage of Beltre’s tormentors and try to piece this phenomenon together, Carrie from Homeland style.

This is an epidemic, and there certainly appears to be no end in sight. Beltre’s aversion to head-patting has reached such fame that one crafty individual took it upon himself or herself to give it a theme song.

All Beltre does is wince—but why?

Why does the merest graze of his head elicit this response? The media has yet to be able to dig the answer out of Beltre, and it’s not for lack of trying.

SB Nation’s Amy K. Nelson traveled to the 2012 All-Star Game for the sole purpose of getting to the bottom of Beltre’s heady hangup. In the gentlest way possible, she tried to get Beltre to open up on the subject.

He barely budged.

“I don’t like it,” Beltre told Nelson. “I don’t let anyone touch my head. Not even my kids.”

His teammates at every franchise admit they’ve tried to psychologically profile Beltre, but to no avail.

At this juncture, I’d like to step in and postulate a few theories as to the roots of Adrian Beltre’s head-touching fear.


No. 1: He’s terrified of balding.

At 35 years old, Beltre is under attack from the reaper known as male pattern balding. This is prime molting season for men his age, and any interference with his scalp could disrupt the Rogaine he applied before heading to the ballpark.


No. 2: He’s a germaphobe.

Plenty of people can’t stand being touched by strangers, and it would be no large surprise if Beltre is afraid of catching whooping cough from an errant head rub.


No. 3: He was abducted by aliens.

The most plausible answer to all of this is rooted in the distinct possibility that Beltre was the victim of an alien abduction at some point in his life.

It’s likely that he was taken long ago—perhaps as a child—and whisked away into a spaceship for testing. Naturally, the extraterrestrials would’ve dug around in his head with sophisticated instruments (I find “probes” derogatory), neuralized his memory and dropped him off none the worse for the wear—save for an acute and persistent fear of people tinkering with his skull.

These are my theories, and I stand by them.

The sad part is, we may never know the cause of this strange phobia. Beltre’s refusal to speak on his discomfort has stonewalled progress in the field of study for years.

Feel free to lay out your own explanations in the comments. Every idea—even the weirdest—could help us crack the hair-trigger lock on Adrian “Don’t Touch Me Bro” Beltre’s head.


Follow Dan on Twitter for more sports and pop culture news.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

How to Throw a Terrible First Pitch

Although getting the chance to throw a first pitch is an amazing honor, the excitement can quickly turn to nerves once a person realizes that thousands of people will be watching their attempt.

Sure, there have been really good first pitches before, but, more often than not, we’ve seen ones that prove that throwing a baseball can be harder than it looks.

So how does one throw a poor first pitch? Keep reading and you’ll see some examples.

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St. Louis Cardinals’ Michael Wacha Isn’t a Fan of ‘Wacha Flocka Flame’ Nickname

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha never wanted to be called “Wacha Flocka Flame.”

“I guess it’s just something I have to get used to,” he said on Friday before the Cardinals played the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The nickname is a reference to the similarly named rapper Waka Flocka Flame. Wacha had never heard of the hip-hop artist before a friend his freshman year at Texas A&M introduced Wacha to his music.

And it was not love at first listen.

Wacha had no interest in adopting a nickname associated with the rapper then, let alone filling his iPod with Waka Flocka Flame songs. Wacha still doesn’t. But fans, along with outlets including ESPN, Sporting News and Arch City Sports, have embraced its usage.

Wacha’s disinterest in the nickname doesn’t stem from a disinterest in rap. He listed hip hop and country as his favorite genres of music for his get-to-know-you Q&A on the official website of the Memphis Redbirds, the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate. His lack of interest is individualized.

While the 22-year-old Wacha has quickly developed into a prominent pitcher, Waka Flocka Flame isn’t the most respected rapper.

Wacha won four of the five games he pitched in the 2013 MLB playoffs, finishing with a 2.64 ERA. Comparatively, in review of Waka’s last album “Triple F Life,” Rolling Stone wrote “classing up Waka is like putting a fig leaf over King Kong’s balls.”

Due to the not-so-gratifying comparison, it isn’t shocking that Wacha doesn’t lay in bed at night dreaming about Waka writing a song about him, though the idea of isn’t far-fetched. Waka is a sports fanatic and coined “hard in the paint,” a phrase used often enough by athletes for ESPN to publish a feature about it.

The pitcher did say he isn’t fazed by the nickname as much as he used to be, but he’s not dying to hear a “Hard on the Mound” remix.


*All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. 

David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Top 20 Ways to Make Sports Hotter

Just the other day, a buddy and I were lamenting the lack of hotness in sports.

Yeah, sure, there are cheerleaders and ball girls and stuff like that, but what the sports world needs is real hotness.

And while we probably can’t force all professional athletes to marry Playboy babes, like quarterback Jeff Garcia and Carmella DeCesare, we came up with a few ideas that might help the movement along nonetheless.

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Minka Kelly: Derek Jeter’s Fiancee Named Sexiest Woman Alive

According to an article in Esquire Magazine, Minka Kelly, also known as Derek Jeter’s fiancee, is the hottest woman in the world.

Kelly is an actor and model, but what else do you need to know about her? Well, here’s your Minka Kelly guide, with everything you could want to know about this starlet. 

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World Cup 2010: Which MLB Players Could Have Been Pro Soccer Stars?

Soccer is the most popular youth sport in the United States. In 2002, 17.5 million American kids played in organized soccer leagues, not to mention the countless other children who gather for street scrimmages or spontaneous exhibition matches. Compare that to the classic pastime of Little League baseball, which had only 2.2 million participants in 2006.

But while soccer dominates the amateur market, most serious athletes in the U.S. have to switch sports if they plan to play professionally.

Let’s be honest: American soccer is a joke compared to baseball, football, basketball, and even hockey.

It’s not nearly as lucrative, either. David Beckham, the most expensive player in American soccer, is earning $6.5 million this year. By comparison, the Houston Astros are paying Carlos Lee nearly triple that to hit .223.

With all the excitement of the World Cup, it’s only fitting to think about athletes who might have been soccer superstars had the sport been more popular in their home countries—not just in the U.S., but in places like Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

In this slideshow are the 10 current or recent MLB players who I think would have been most successful in professional soccer. Each player on this list has some combination of skills and attributes that are important in the game the rest of the world calls “football.”

There’s no way to predict with certainty what would have happened had things been different. But it’s still worth a try.

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