Baseball superstitions and rituals
June 4, 2009
Rally caps and socks were not the only superstitions the Texas Longhorns hoped would work during the 25-inning marathon against Boston College in the NCAA Austin Baseball Regional last weekend.
"We were trying figure out how long you can wear rally caps because we didn't know if you could only use them in the ninth inning or later," freshman pitcher Taylor Jungmann said.
And so, in search for something new, the Texas bullpen got creative. They pulled up their pants, pulled down their socks and flipped their jerseys around. When that didn't work, the ideas only got crazier and more creative.
One time, the pen sat cross-legged in the shape of a horseshoe in hopes to bring good luck. Another time they pulled up one pant leg while leaving the other down. They also tried doing wall sits, which only lasted one pitch, and they attempted to borrow some "Angels in the Outfield" magic.
For another inning, they all sat under a tent set-up, and somewhere from the 15th to the 19th innings -- no one really remembers when -- the pitchers slow clapped for three innings straight.
So what did the bullpen do in the 25th inning that led to the winning run finally being scored? Some players credit Kevin Keyes joining the bullpen that inning, while others shrug off the idea of superstition.
No matter what, each player has his own ideas and beliefs about the magic behind baseball, and TexasSports.com asked the players what superstitions and rituals they have for each game.
Brandon Belt: I used to be superstitious but I guess I grew out of it or maybe I just don't want to believe that any of that stuff works. I want to believe that the fate of the game rests in my hand instead of something else.
Kendal Carrillo: When I pitch, I throw the same warm up pitches every time. If it's my first inning in, I throw three fastballs, two sliders, a changeup and then a fastball. And when I go back out, I throw two fastballs, a slider, a changeup and then a fastball.
Preston Clark: I used to not step on the dirt, but since we don't have any, I don't have to worry about that. I pretty much put my clothes on the same way, I always put my right leg sock on and then the left. I always do dominant side first. Same thing when I'm hitting, I always put the batting glove on my right hand first and then everything else.
Austin Dicharry: When I come into the dugout after I pitch, I usually put my heat pack on, take my hat and my glove off, put it on my right side, get a cup of Gatorade, drink a little each batter, and when the third out comes, I drink the rest. I ball-up the cup, throw it out and go back on the mound.
Jordan Etier: I like the number seven a lot. It was my dad's and so now my number has to have a seven in it. I also do things in sevens sometimes.
Cole Green: I eat the same pregame meal (pasta, a bowl of fruit and water). I used to wear half sleeves and then I grew out of that.
David Hernandez: With a new pair of batting gloves, I like to put my area code (925) on there. I know a lot of football guys do that, but it's just something that I've always done for baseball.
Taylor Jungmann: I don't really have any rituals. I don't step on the foul line. That's probably the only superstition I have.
Kevin Keyes: Before every game, I have to take a shower or I don't feel good. Sometimes I have to listen to music. When I wake up, I put my iPod into my stereo system and blast it in my apartment.
Brandon Loy: I'm not at all. I used to a little bit but not anymore. It used to just be I'd listen to certain songs sometimes but I don't do that anymore. Nope, no real ritual stuff either.
Kevin Lusson: Every time I come off the field, I like to step on the foul line and not many people do that. I try to get the field early, have the team meal early so I can just sit around and have my thoughts about the game and not worry about anything else.
Kyle Lusson: I really haven't been too superstitious but lately I have. At UT, we're supposed to be pretty clean cut so we have to shave a lot. But I found that if I shave on game day, we tend to lose that game. There haven't been that many games this year where I had to shave on a game day. But it definitely happened during the Big 12 tournament in that first game against Baylor. Since then, I've decided to wait and shave on off days. We've been doing pretty well so far.
Tim Maitland: I keep it pretty simple; I do my basic practice routine and keep it from there. But I usually like to take some extra swings when we're done hitting.
Andrew McKirahan: I just get mentally prepared. Think about the first batter in my head and get my breathing right -- in through my nose and out through my mouth really slow. As for superstitions, if I did something right the last time I was out, I definitely try to do that again.
Russell Moldenhauer: I'm just one of those guys that when something is going right, I keep doing that. I don't have one set thing. If we're scoring runs, I try to stand and do everything the same in the dugout or whatever works.
Connor Rowe: Most people on the team do, but I don't have any really. I never started any and I'm not going to start any now. Maybe that is my superstition. The only thing close would be that whenever I have a bad swing, I just slap the back of my foot for no reason.
Chance Ruffin: I try not to be superstitious. I just go with whatever the other guys are doing in the dugout -- rally hats, sitting in the same spots and stuff like that. It is more as a precaution than a provoker of superstition. If the rest of the team is doing it, you don't want to be the reason why we're going into the 24th inning.
Cameron Rupp: I never have, I know a lot of people do but it never crossed my mind that what I do daily would make anything superstitious.
Tant Shepherd: Me and my roommate (Cole Green) park in the exact same spot, and I have to drive every game. Cole drove one game and that ended up being his first loss for the season and then he drove the whole Kansas State weekend so we have never let him drive after that. It kind of worked out.
Keith Shinaberry: This is going to sound bad, but I don't like to pay attention to the game a whole lot. In the bullpen, we like to be relaxed and nobody really pays a whole lot of attention. When it comes to actually playing, this really isn't something but I throw the same pitches every time I come in.
Stayton Thomas: Every game I'll put my socks on first before I put on anything else. And then I knock on wood if anyone says anything that would be jinx-ful to us.
Michael Torres: I get ready and stretch the same way on deck every time. That's definitely a superstition I have. Before the game, Travis, Preston and I walk in together. That's a superstition we started last year. The first inning when I'm on defense, I go to the edge of the back, I do the sign of the cross and say a prayer to myself before every game. I'm not a ridiculously superstitious person but if I eat something in the morning and I get three hits, I'm going to eat the same thing the next day too. It's not like I look for something. But if I have a good day, I'm going to everything the same the next day.
Travis Tucker: I would say I'm superstitious person. During the game, if I'm in one spot and someone gets a hit, I don't move at all. Like if my hat falls off or it gets knocked off in the dugout and someone gets a hit, I'll try and mimic what I did until we get another hit or until they get out and then I change it. Before the game, I don't step on the chalk or anything. I try not to step on the dirt either before the game. What I try to do is I have a routine where I come in, I take all my stuff off, dry off, get some deodorant on, sit for a second and then put all my stuff on after I dry off.
Austin Wood: I always put my uniform on the same way. I put my cleats on the same way. I put my right cleat on and then my left cleat, but I always tie my left cleat first for some reason. I always pray before I go on the mound, after I warm up and before I throw my first pitch. That's probably the biggest ritual I have.
Brandon Workman: I don't have any superstitious. I've just never done anything that has consistently worked out well for me.
Head Coach Augie Garrido: I just like to live in the moment. The good thing is I `m happy, the bad thing is I don't know where I parked my car.