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Baseball Superstitions I

Baseball Superstitions

By: Austin Alexander

February 21, 2006

Anyone who has ever been around our national pastime much at all knows how quirky baseball players, its coaches and fans can often be. For over a hundred years, many of the game’s greats have provided us with comical stories about what gets them ready or keeps them on a hot streak. On the flip-side some interesting stories have abounded of ways to end a personal or team’s slump.

Most people are familiar with, perhaps, baseball’s oldest and most traditional superstition—avoiding the foul line. Next time you go to a game, watch everyone. Watch them during batting practice and the pre-game. Watch them in between innings as both teams enter and exit the field. Watch a pitching coach during a mound visit. Sometimes players will even go to the extreme by getting a running start and leap over the entire basepath!

Very, very seldom will you witness someone breaking this unwritten rule of baseball. If you ever do see a baseball player or coach “buck the system”, it is generally an act of rebellion against the baseball god’s!

Baseball players are no different than the fans who cheer for them. How many times have you been present during a big ballgame, whether you are participating or rooting vigorously for your favorite team? Here’s the scenario. Your club is trailing 2-1 in the top of the 7th inning, all of the sudden you stage a rally. You push two runs across and there is still only one out! All of a sudden someone in the dugout invariably will yell, “Same spots, hurry up and get in your same spots!” Or maybe in the bleachers, the patron beside you thinks now is the time to use the restroom or grab a hot dog. Immediately, everyone wearing the same colors threaten to block the aisle, how dare he or she decide to make a move right now? It never fails, we’ve all been there!

If a player is “going good”, very seldom will he want to change anything over the course of the day that has been working for him. Many a player has been known to take wake up at the same time and take the same route to the ballpark. Some keep a consistent diet during a hot streak. Some dress in the same order, maybe even with the same socks or undershirt that have kept him hot. If a new bat is hitting for you, you won’t be the first to sleep with your new-found weapon!

When a player’s production begins to go in the tank, sometimes they resort to desperate measures. Number changes and new “intro” songs become a quick-fix. Many ballplayers over time have blind-sided their girlfriends with “the break-up talk”, not because she did anything wrong but as a result of the .181 batting average he’s carrying since she came on board!

Funny, to the player, it always seems be an outside force that creates failure!

These examples are just a few of many superstitious actions ballplayers will try to pin their successes or defeats to.

In our next exploration into superstitions in baseball, we’ll take a look at major league players that you know and determine the real reasons they have success and the lengths they will go to to reverse their fortunes when things go south.