Baseball Superstitions and Rituals: A Humorous Look at the Quirks of America’s Favorite Pastime
Baseball is a game steeped in tradition, and with that comes a plethora of superstitions and rituals. From the way players prepare for games to how they approach each pitch, baseball is full of quirks that make it one of the most superstitious sports around. In this post, we’ll take a humorous look at some of baseball’s strangest superstitions and rituals.
The Pre-Game Routine
For many players, their pre-game routine is sacred. They follow the same steps every time they take the field, from tying their shoes to putting on their uniform in a specific order. Some players even go as far as eating the same meal or listening to the same playlist before every game.
Take Wade Boggs for example. The Hall-of-Fame third baseman was notorious for his pre-game routines which included taking exactly 150 ground balls during batting practice and then eating chicken before every game. He also took batting practice at precisely 5:17 pm every day without fail.
Pitchers are perhaps the most superstitious players on any team. Many pitchers refuse to step on chalk lines while walking out to the mound or will only use certain types of rosin bags or baseballs while pitching.
One particularly strange ritual involves pitcher CC Sabathia who always wears an oversized hat during his warm-up pitches prior to each start. According to Sabathia, he started doing this because he wanted more shade but now it has become part of his routine.
When it comes to hitting, batters have just as many strange habits as pitchers do when preparing for games. Many hitters have specific bat brands or models that they swear by and refuse to use anything else.
Hall-of-Famer Nomar Garciaparra famously had an elaborate pre-pitch routine involving adjusting his batting gloves and tapping his toes before every pitch. He even went as far as to step out of the batter’s box after each pitch to redo his routine.
Another strange ritual involves Ichiro Suzuki who is known for stepping on the plate with his right foot first and then his left before every at-bat. He also takes exactly three swings in the on-deck circle before walking up to home plate.
Baseball players are also highly superstitious when it comes to their equipment. Many batters will refuse to switch bats mid-game if they’re not hitting well, while some pitchers won’t use a new ball until they’ve thrown a certain number of pitches with the current one.
Rituals During Play
Even during games, baseball players have all sorts of rituals and superstitions that they follow religiously. Take pitcher Joba Chamberlain for example who always steps over the foul line instead of on it when entering or exiting the field.
Infielder Manny Ramirez was known for touching teammates’ heads whenever he made a catch, believing it would bring him good luck. And former pitcher Turk Wendell would brush his teeth between innings, chew four pieces of gum at once, and even jump over baselines on his way back to the dugout.
Superstitions aren’t just limited to individual players either – entire teams can be affected by them too. The Boston Red Sox famously lifted “The Curse of the Bambino” in 2004 after winning their first World Series in 86 years. This curse was said to have been placed on them after trading Babe Ruth away in 1918 and many fans believed that only winning a championship could break it.
Similarly, Chicago Cubs fans were convinced that their team was cursed after failing to win a championship since 1908 despite having some great teams over the years. It wasn’t until 2016 when they finally won another World Series that fans started feeling like the curse had been lifted.
Baseball is a game that’s steeped in tradition, and with tradition comes superstition. From pre-game rituals to on-field quirks, baseball players are some of the most superstitious athletes around. Whether it’s Nomar Garciaparra’s elaborate pre-pitch routine or Wade Boggs’ love of chicken before every game, these superstitions and rituals have become part of what makes baseball so unique.
While some may view these practices as silly or unnecessary, they’re an integral part of what makes baseball such a fascinating sport. So next time you watch a game, pay attention to the little things – you never know which player might be following their own bizarre ritual or superstition.