Written and Media by Jesse Getz.
Being a baseball player requires a special blend of hard work, God-given talent, and superstition. Baseball players have been known throughout the years to be some of the most superstitious athletes, with guys like Wade Boggs (Red Sox, Yankees, Devil Rays), Jason Giambi (Athletics, Yankees, Rockies, Indians), and Turk Wendell (Cubs, Mets, Phillies, Rockies). These men had some of the craziest rituals that caused many people to question their sanity; however, they were some of the most successful players, so maybe there is some truth behind the madness.
Boggs was known for eating chicken before every game and was given the nickname, “Chicken Man”, because of it. He also made sure he took batting practice at exactly 5:17 and ran sprints at 7:17. During games, Boggs wrote “chai” (Hebrew for “life”), in the dirt before going up to bat. You would think the rituals wouldn’t have much of an affect on his play, but Boggs was a 12-time All-Star.
Giambi is where we see the rituals take a strange turn. The former 6″3, 240 pound first basemen was a powerhouse at the plate but would often find himself in slumps. When this occurred, he would turn to a golden thong to break him out. The weird part is it usually worked, so often, in fact, that some of his teammates borrowed it when they were in slumps.
Some of the strangest rituals of all are Wendell’s. The former Mets Pitcher was known for a long list of crazy rituals that included jumping over the foul line when running out to pitch and chewing on black licorice during games. The top of his list included wearing a necklace made of sharp teeth of animals he hunted and killed along with brushing his teeth between innings.
Although many people think these rituals are crazy, they make the game fun and its ingrained in the culture of baseball. A couple of Greenville baseball players have some rituals of their own to improve performance. Junior Catcher, Travis Ralls, has an entire home game routine:
Before every home game I take a shower, do my hair, pray, and listen to three songs: ‘End of the Road’ by Boyz II Men, ‘Ambition’ by Wale, and ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem. Then I pound a Monster and head to the field.”
Senior Outfielder, Mike Hardin, also revealed his routine:
I bake cookies and eat a bunch of bananas. I also listen to a custom playlist to remind me to have fun while I’m playing.”
The Panthers rituals aren’t as far out there as some of the world’s best athletes; however, everyone has something that works for them and makes them ready to play at their highest level. Even if the rituals don’t have an actual affect on the game, they do on the players. It makes them feel like they have an advantage over the competition.