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Baseball is a sport with a long history of superstition. From the very famous Curse of the Bambino to some players' refusal to wash their clothes or bodies after a win, superstition is present in all parts of baseball. Many baseball players—batters, pitchers, and fielders alike— perform elaborate, repetitive routines prior to pitches and at bats due to superstition. The desire to keep a number they have been successful with is strong in baseball. In fact anything that happens prior to something good or bad in baseball can give birth to a new superstition. Some players rely on a level of meta-superstition: by believing in superstitions they can focus their mind to perform better. Many players and fans also believe that superstitions propagate their own fulfillment by influencing players and fans.
Some of the more common superstition include purposely stepping on or avoiding stepping on the foul line when taking the field, and not talking about a no-hitter or perfect game while it is in progress, a superstition that also holds for fans and announcers. Others include routines such as eating only chicken before a game like Wade Boggs, Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander eating three crunchy taco supremes (no tomato), a cheesy gordita crunch and a Mexican pizza (no tomato) before every start from Taco Bell, tapping the bat on the plate before an at bat, and drawing in the dirt in the batter's box before an at bat. Justin Morneau, the 2006 American League Most Valuable Player winner, wears number 33 to honour his idol, ex-NHL goaltender Patrick Roy. His ritual before every Twins' home game entails stopping by the same Jimmy John's Gourmet Subs—located on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota—and ordering the same sandwich from the menu: Turkey Tom with no sprouts. Afterwards, he drinks a slurpee from a slurpee machine in the Twins' clubhouse made of one-half Mountain Dew, one-half red or orange flavor.
Certain players go as far as observing superstitions off the field. This includes early 20th century second baseman Amby McConnell. Whenever he was in the middle of a batting slump, he would scavenge the streets and pick up any pin he found, believing this was a sign he would break out of the slump.
For further reading, see George Gmelch's analysis of the role of superstition in baseball.
- Kaduk, Kevin (April 2012). "Revised version of "Justin Verlander proves he’s not a liar, downs famous Taco Bell order before opening day start" by Kevin Kaduk, Thu, Apr 5, 2012 1:18 PM EDT". Yahoo! Sports. Archived from the original on February 5, 2012.
- Olney, Buster (January 3, 2007). "After changing lifestyle, Morneau rose to prominence". ESPN The Magazine. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
- "Amby McConnell's Hobby". The Pittsburgh Press. August 5, 1911. p. 8. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
- Gmelch, George (September 2000). ""Superstition and Ritual in American Baseball" from Elysian Fields Quarterly, Vol. 11, No. 3, 1992, pp. 25-36". McGraw-Hill/Dushkin. Archived from the original on April 21, 2007.
- The Joy of Sox Movie, a documentary about Red Sox Nation, Red Sox Fans, Red Sox ballplayers, spirituality and superstition