Having gone to a New York Mets game last week, and them actually winning, a rush of inspiration hit me upside the head. I needed to cook up a High Five in celebration of America’s beloved pastime, baseball. The start of the game had been delayed for 2 hours due to rain and in order to keep the already, half-empty stadium from becoming a barren arena of discouragement, the JumboTron played a documentary about the renowned 1986 Mets season complete with insightful interviews and noteworthy highlights. A section of the doc addressed rituals and pre-game superstitions among the players in hopes of metaphysically bettering their performance during the game. There it was, I was to consolidate the most bizarre player by player customs in the history of the sport into one list, making known a ballplayers’ constant struggle to harness his chi and ward off bad juju.
Baseball and voodoo have an interconnectedness that surpasses any of the other sports. Since I can remember, with my father being a die-hard fan of the seemingly hopeless Boston Red Sox (until 2004 of course), I’ve heard of curses, luck charms, and even been told to leave the living room because I was fucking up a team’s vibes. Fans and players alike seemed to hold idiosyncratic theories that a certain thing or set of conditions could sway a game one way or another. Going above and beyond your average rally cap or the strapping and unstrapping of one’s gloves before stepping up to the plate, this is a series of the absolute strangest beliefs and practices to ever graze the dugout.
5. Jason Giambi
The tale of the golden thong. When Giambi’s going cold he slips into something a little less comfortable to spice things up a bit. The 40 year-old pro enjoys prancing around the infield in a shiny g-string and if it turns his luck around, then I say good for him.
Apparently multiple teammates have shared the thong, passing it around from one perspiring ass-crack to the next. Winning first, hygiene second.
4. Turk Wendell
This former relief pitcher has got the market cornered on, what seems to others as, senseless superstitions. Donning a necklace made of animal teeth and claws, Turk the Barbarian believes these exotic trophies of beasts he has killed act as talisman’s that bring fortune and success.
Other neuroses include having to eat four pieces of black licorice while on the mound, brushing his teeth in the dugout, and having such an infatuation with the number 99 that he requested a contract for $9,999,999.99 be offered to him from the Mets.
Not sure if these guys even talk to each other, although seeing as they are the only two players in the league to piss on their hands in an attempt to toughen the palms and fingers while preventing blisters, I’m inclined to think they’ve formulated some peculiar urine-infused secret handshake over the years.
With Posada on the Yankees and Alou on the Mets the teams were bonded by human waste, using it as a moisturizer. This has gotta be some weird fucking New York thing.
2. Wade Boggs
With a stomach made of steel, Wade Boggs has convinced himself that eating a whole chicken before each game, 162 games a year, will give him the manpower to take home the W. During infield practice, Boggs would also collect 150 balls and take them home with him. The third baseman became publicized for his fondness for beer, in which he allegedly downed 64 cold ones on a cross-country flight from Boston to Los Angeles.
Whether it was out of sheer boredom or otherwise, Boggs is a champion guzzler and an impressively quirky hall-of-famer. There’s no substitute for a belly full of white meat and Miller Lite.
This short-lived Cleveland player has secured the top seat on a countdown of nuttiest baseball rituals through his unprecedented obsessiveness and over-the-top eccentricity. Forget about hopping over baselines, Rhomberg, once tagged out or touched by another player, had to touch them back even if it involved remembering and chasing down the specific opponent that tagged him.
He also refused to turn right, holding the belief that because the bases were configured for runners to go left it would be against the forces of the diamond and, therefore, a negative omen to ever turn directly to his right, instead making a full circle from his left, Zoolander style. I wonder if he got fucked with a lot, seems like a pretty easy target of torture.
Alright, it’s over now, slowly put down the goatsblood and play ball!- Casper