While taking a city train between Perth and Freemantle last week, we had to do a double take when we saw an ad in the car for some mumbo-jumbo sports balance bracelet made of space-age fibres and magnets or some shit. We'd usually not pay much mind to such an ad, but this particular poster featured a photo Jays ace(?) Ricky Romero amongst the product's pro sports endorsers.
(Which, when you're halfway around the world and missing the day-to-day kvetching over the Jays and baseball in general, is enough to lift your spirits.)
Our notion is that these sorts of products are about as effective as any superstition, but if Romero wants to endorse or believe in their effectiveness (and those are two separate isses), we're not particularly fussed. Hell, Shaun Marcum wore so many Phiten titanium necklaces that he could have passed for a Mr. T groupie, and we never thought less of him for it.
But now, America's leading news source (er, TMZ) wrote yesterday that a class action lawsuit has been filed against RickRo's rubber-sports-jewelry-juju provider, with the plaintiffs seeking $5 Million in damages given that there is no scientific proof to substantiate the company's claims of energy fields and optimal energy flow.
(And frankly, while we think these "performance bracelets" are horseshittery of the highest magnitude, we don't particularly think that anyone in their right mind can claim to have been damaged in any way by these dinky little bits of crap. It's not as though anyone is going to seek out the companies that made friendship bracelets back in the 80's and complain that they in no way ensured that those was received them would remain a best friend forever. Although, yeah, we can see why someone with a lot of time, energy and a more profound sense of justice than us would see the need to have the snake oil salesmen taken to task.)
In his page on the Power Balance site, Romero gives his pitch for the product: "Any pitcher will agree that balance, core strength and endurance are keys to their success. With Power Balance I notice an immediate difference in my performance."
And for a half-second after reading what is purported to be Ricky's thoughts on the product, we got a bit concerned that there may be some chance that a) He said that and b) He truly believes. Will news that Power Balance offers no particular advantage to an athlete's balance or power adversely affect his delicate, gullible psyche?
Thankfully, a quick glance through Daylife's photo archives of the hurler shows no evidence that Romero ever wears the Power Balance bracelet in the heat of battle.