Video: Fans sacrifice rubber chicken outside Nationals Park in advance of pivotal NLDS playoff game 4

Washington Nationals Jobu Rubber Chicken Sacrifice 1Washington Nationals Rubber Chicken Sacrifice 1Washington Nationals Rubber Chicken Sacrifice 3After Monday’s come-from-behind victory by the Chicago Cubs over the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series playoffs, fans gathered outside Nationals Park in Washington at noon Tuesday to try to do their part to exorcise the team’s playoff demons.

Nationals fan “Rubber Chicken Man” Hugh Kaufman led the ancient kaporos ritual as he has “dozens of times” since the team came to Washington in 2005.

“We’ve been doing this since 2005 when our backs are to the wall,” Kaufman declared to more than a dozen fans and Nationals employees gathered in front of the stadium. saying that the Nats “have always won at least one game after we do a chicken sacrifice.”

Kaufman brought an autographed baseball from the 1924 Washington Senators (the last DC team to have won a World Series), a Jobu doll “to help the bats get rid of their fear and wake up,” and a Tanner Roark bobblehead, as Roark is scheduled to pitch game four.

Kaufman then thanked the crowd. and swung the rubber chicken above his head.  “Take all the bad juju from the Nats,” Kaufman said. “Putting it in the Chicken.”

Kaufman then did the deed, those assembled wished the team good luck, and dispersed for lunch.

After 2-1 playoff loss, fans plan chicken sacrifice Tuesday outside Nationals Park

Nationals Rubber Chicken Man

Washington Nationals fan and “Rubber Chicken Man” Hugh Kaufman

For the first time in more than two years, there will be a chicken sacrifice at Nationals Park.

Longtime readers are familiar with the ritual performed by Hugh Kaufman, aka the Washington Nationals’ “Rubber Chicken Man,” whenever the team has run into a string of bad “juju.”

“There hasn’t been a chicken sacrifice in the two years that Dusty has managed the Nats.” Kaufman said Tuesday after the Chicago Cubs took a come-from-behind playoff victory from the Nationals, “but our backs are to the wall and there has been a tsunami of bad juju raining down on us.”

So Kaufman plans to do the deed at noon outside the Nationals Park centerfield gates, and is inviting fans to join him.

Jobu Vudu Doll

Kaufman brought a Jobu doll and a Gio Gonzalez bobblehead to Saturday’s Game 2 victory.

The last sacrifice came mid-season 2015, after a string of injuries and losses had dropped the Nationals out of first place. The 2016 season was the first the team had gone all year without a chicken sacrifice, and until today, it appeared they might go sacrifice-free two years in a row.

Kaufman, who fans may recognize from his seats right above the Nationals dugout, has conducted sacrifices that preceded winning streaks many times since 2005. His sacrifices were called on by former manager Davey Johnson, and by pitcher Gio Gonzalez, who has been known to wear a “Chicken Mode” t-shirt in honor of Kaufman.

“Jobu might be there also,” Kaufman added, “to help wake up our bats again as he did on Saturday night.”

Video: Fans sacrifice rubber chicken, burn sage outside Nationals Park in advance of Game 3

As the Washington Nationals arrive in San Francisco with their backs to the wall in the National League Division Series playoffs, fans back home have taken matters into their own hands.

Nationals Fan Rubber Chicken SacrificeJenn Rubenstein burning sageNationals Fan Rubber Chicken SacrificeNationals Fan Rubber Chicken SacrificeLongtime Nats fan and self-titled “Rubber Chicken Man” Hugh Kaufman led a group of 14 fans in an impromptu gathering outside Nationals Park on Sunday Afternoon, where they performed a ritual sacrifice of a rubber chicken, and burned sage outside the centerfield gate.

Kaufman said the coaching staff was aware of the event and appreciated the fan support. “We’re going to take the bad juju and give it to the chicken,” he said, “so that when the Nats play in San Francisco…they’re going to win.”

After the chicken was beheaded, Kaufman carried the decapitated rubber toy around the centerfield gate as fellow fan Jenn Rubenstein burned sage in an act known as smudging, which is reputed to bless a house and dispel it of negative energy and influences.

Longtime readers know that when the Nationals had their backs to the wall in the 2012 playoffs, Kaufman and Rubenstein performed the ritual before Jayson Werth’s historic walk-off home run in Game 4 of that year’s NLDS.

Kaufman has conducted many sacrifices since 2005, but the only other sacrifice this season came after a Memorial Day loss that dropped the team’s record below .500. After that, the Nationals got hot, finishing the season 71-40.


After Memorial Day loss, fans plan chicken sacrifice Tuesday at Nationals Park

Led by self-styled “Rubber Chicken Man” Hugh Kaufman, Nationals fans will sacrifice a rubber chicken at noon Tuesday outside the Nationals Park centerfield gate.

Nationals rubber chicken man sacrifice breaks bad luckNationals Racing Presidents photo finish - George Washington edges Teddy RooseveltDespite outscoring opponents over the last eight games, the Nationals have won only two of those contests, and find themselves with a losing record after Monday’s 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins.

As we’ve reported previously, Kaufman has performed the ritual “dozens of times” in the team’s ten year history. The act, which is designed to “remove bad juju” from the ball park, has become less frequent as the team has done well in recent years, but pitcher Gio Gonzalez has adopted the cause, having participated in the most recent sacrifice himself last August. Some fans have begun sporting Chicken Mode t-shirts when Gonzalez pitches.

“Our injury plagued squad has fallen below .500,” said Kaufman. “They need the extra Chicken Mode juju to help heal them, and energize our sedated bats.”

In unrelated news, George Washington edged Teddy Roosevelt wearing military fatigues for the Memorial Day presidents race win.

Kaufman encourages fans to attend on Tuesday. “Although it’s a work day,” he said, “I hope all Nats fans who can make it to this short ritual at lunch time, will come to help add good juju to our team.”

Race video below:

Video for LetTeddyWin.com by YouTube member lfahome

Video: Chicken sacrifice precedes Nats Game 4 victory

After suffering blowout losses in games 2 and 3 of the National League Division Series playoffs, Nats fan and “Rubber Chicken Man” Hugh Kaufman announced his plans to sacrifice a chicken at Nationals Park before Thursday’s Game 4.

Chicken Sacrifice at Nationals Park - Chicken ModeChicken Sacrifice at Nationals Park dugout - Chicken ModeApparently, it worked.

The videos below show Kaufman leading a crowd including two stilt walkers (!) in the sacrifice before the game, and completing the ritual above the Nationals home dugout.

“What you want to do (first) is see: Is there evil eye on the dugout?” Kaufman explains.  “In Italian it’s called the malocchio.”

Kaufman then brings out the beheaded rubber chicken to complete the ritual. “In the latin culture, there’s a religion called santeria, similar to the Jewish culture of Kaporos,” Kaufman says. “You put the animal over the area that needs help.  You take the sins, and you put it into an animal, and you sacrifice the animal.”

Kaufman, has sacrificed dozens of rubber chickens since 2005 on behalf of his beloved Nationals, attracting the attention of fans and of pitcher Gio Gonzalez, and inspiring Chicken Mode t-shirts.  With Gio on the mound Friday to start game 5, expect to see some Chicken Mode on display.

After two blowout losses in playoffs, fans plan chicken sacrifice Thursday at Nationals Park

Nationals Playoffs Baby - Photo by Kim WrightWashington Nationals Rubber Chicken Man Hugh Kaufman at Nationals ParkWashington Nationals Rubber Chicken Man Hugh Kaufman displays his Chicken Mode T-ShirtLongtime readers and serious Nats fans are familiar with Hugh Kaufman, aka Rubber Chicken Man.  Kaufman is best known for the signs he displays from his seats behind the Nationals Park home dugout, but more significantly, he has been sacrificing rubber chickens to break various Washington Nationals’ strings of bad luck since 2005.

The ritual has inspired Kaufman’s followers to create Chicken Mode t-shirts, and even pitcher Gio Gonzalez jumped on the bandwagon, wearing one on FOX 5 News, and asking Hugh to make him and the other players some chicken soup (Kaufman obliged).

2012 has been largely devoid of panic, the lone exception being in May, when a string of injuries led manager Davey Johnson to actually call for a chicken sacrifice. Dutifully, Kaufman delivered.

Which brings us to the National League Division Series playoffs.

With the Nationals suffering consecutive crushing defeats at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals, and facing the first playoff elimination game in team history, Kaufman has announced a rubber chicken sacrifice to take place Thursday at 1:30pm outside the Nationals Park center field gate.

The unsanctioned event is open to the public.

Gio Gonzalez: “Chicken Mode is my area of expertise”

Washington Nationals Rubber Chicken Man Hugh Kaufman displays his Chicken Mode T-ShirtGio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals Smile SmilingLong before pitcher Gio Gonzalez made his first start for the Washington Nationals, he spotted two fans outside the Nationals spring training complex in Viera, Florida, wearing Chicken Mode t-shirts.

Lacking any context, the phrase nonetheless spoke to the Nat’s happy-go-lucky new pitcher.

“Chicken Mode?,” Gio called out. “Yeah, we’ve got too much Beast Mode around here. We need more Chicken Mode!”

It didn’t take long for Gio to figure out that the shirts were a tribute to Nationals season ticket holder Hugh Kaufman, aka Rubber Chicken Man, who sits behind the home dugout and has has performed a number of rubber chicken sacrifices to help the team, most recently two months ago during a string of injuries.

Gonzalez asked Kaufman for a t-shirt, which Gio wore Wednesday morning for an interview with FOX 5 DC. “I always give [Hugh] a little shout out,” he told FOX 5’s Dave Ross.

“You got to be a little bit stronger to wear Beast Mode,” Gonzalez explained. “Chicken Mode is more like my area of expertise.”

Enjoy:

Photo: Bill Menzel

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