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Read At Your Own Risk

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Read At Your Own Risk

Posted on 08 April 2013 by Jennifer Gosline

If you are superstitious you need to read this post, but be careful. You must, I repeat, you must blink three times quickly before reading any further.

Phew. Okay, good job.


Oh, the silly superstitions about baseball that only a true fan understands. Ballplayers are notorious for their strange regimens and even fans have them. Managers have been known to not change their underwear when their team is on a winning streak, and I am going to assume that is not because they can not afford it. People go through great lengths because of a superstition, even going as far as construction. There was an article posted recently by Sportressofblogitude.com about a locker being removed in the Atlanta Braves clubhouse because it was cursed. After a long history of misfortune to its users, no one would take a chance on the voodoo seeping from this particular locker. It had to be taken down, and now a computer sits in its place. Fortunately, there are no reports of the computer claiming any victims yet.

There are also smaller rituals players do on the field daily. Notice how some players adjust their batting gloves after each at-bat. Their gloves could not have possibly moved that much. Some tap their bat on each foot before entering the batter’s box, or players will not touch the foul line when entering or exiting the field. Some switch bats if their bat is bringing unwelcome negativity, or they change their uniforms from long pants to tall socks to help get rid of any supernatural powers the long pants might possess.

Some routines stay out of the viewing pleasure of the general public. It says on Aroldis Chapman’s 2013 Topps Calling Card that he watches Soap Operas as part of a superstition, five to seven per day in fact. That is a lot of Soap Operas. It also states that he does not replace his undergarments, but it is unclear whether he washes them or just will not get a new pair.

Justin Verlander always eats Taco Bell the day before he starts. I am not sure if that is a superstition or if he is just that fond of Taco Bell, but in my opinion it is not delicious enough to eat every 5th start. Sorry, Taco Bell. But hey, Verlander is one of the best pitchers in baseball right now, with a 2.64 ERA in 2012, so maybe there is something to those tacos after all.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that female baseball fans everywhere are hoping that Josh Reddick’s beard is for superstitious reasons. He can pull it off though.


The fans get in on superstitions too. Making sure they have the same shirt on if their team is on a winning streak, not drafting a player in fantasy baseball because they will jinx them, or holding their breath during the last out.

So, who is responsible for Yu Darvish destroying a perfect game on the 27th batter he faced last Tuesday? Darvish pitched flawlessly against the Astros, until Marwin Gonzalez, hit a ground ball single straight up the middle that actually went between Darvish’s legs. Gonzalez can ultimately be blamed for doing his job, but I am sure a fan must be kicking themselves right now for standing when they should have stayed seated, or left their hat on when it should have been off. Or was it CSN’s Ray Ratto that jinxed Darvish on Twitter for possibly the worse offense of all? He dared to utter the words “perfect game” before it was completed.


We will never know, but I am sure that Ranger fans are not happy with Ratto and his uh, powerful words.

And is the rosin bag exploding on Pirate AJ Burnett Opening Day a sign of a curse, or will it bring him luck? That day he pitched 5.2 innings and allowed 3 runs, taking a loss to the Cubs. Hmm. Rosin bag juju? On the other hand, he had a significant number of strikeouts. He forced 10 batters to have the walk of shame back to their dugout that day. So perhaps the bag just, in fact, broke with no curse attached? Only time will tell. Last year, he went 16-10 with a 3.51 ERA, and fanned 180. Not bad, but there is no telling whether the ruptured rosin bag will haunt him the rest of this season.

Other sports have superstitions too, but it seems more prevalent on the diamond or else the players and fans are just more obvious about it. It is fascinatingly addicting. If people find themselves inadvertently “helping” their team they simply can not stop once they notice what is going on. It is the fear of the infamous jinx. No one wants to be at fault for not obeying the forces beyond their control. Because it might just work.

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Keeping Score at Home

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Keeping Score at Home

Posted on 29 March 2012 by Dennis Lawson

Image courtesy of Myexceltemplates.net

If you are not keeping score at home, then maybe you should be.  A true fan might conceive of a myriad of reasons for doing so, and it would be difficult to fault any or all of those reasons.

  1. If you have a child or children, there is no better time and place to teach him/her/them how to keep score.  You do not want to be the numbskull at the stadium who spends the first 3 innings fumbling around with scorecards, pencils, erasers, an iPad, an Android device, and a highly annoyed ex-MMA fighter sitting next to you.  Nope.  You do not want to try and teach your kid(s) how to keep score during an actual baseball game in a real stadium.  Tickets are expensive, and there is about a 10:1 chance that you end up with some kind of condiment stain on the scorecard.  Forget that.
  2. Spring training games do not count for anything, so there is no harm in discarding error-filled scorecards that are partially covered in doodles, whozits, and whatsits galore.  Also, thingamabobs.
  3. You need the practice.  Do not be the fan who shows up with scorecard in hand only to spend time doing a Google search on the latest news from Full Spectrum Baseball.  There is nothing inherently wrong with that search effort, but you can at least wait until you get home to read the site.  Keeping score takes a certain amount of focus which we find often lacking in the real world these days.  Given the plethora of multimedia stimulants, ADHD afflictions, and the need for more cowbell, many adults have seemingly lost the ability to stay on task.  Stay the course, people.  Stay focused on the scorecard and the game.
  4. No feeling compares to reaching the end of a game with a mistake free scorecard, except for maybe winning $10,000 on a scratch off ticket on your way home from the game.  If you can perfect the art of keeping score, then maybe you can pull off the daily double of a perfect scorecard AND a winning ticket.
  5. Perhaps the best reason for keeping score at home during games is that doing so provides your brain with an excellent diversion from the commercials that seek to extract points from your IQ and money from your wallet.  Do you really need to see another Charlie Sheen commercial?  Please do not answer that.

Finally, I would argue that the best reason for keeping score at home stems from a desire to stay connected to our baseball past and the heritage that accompanies that past.  Most baseball fans were born well before the proliferation of cable television and the advent of online streaming of real-time events.  Before a significant number of Americans had access to cable television, the only way to gain greater access to baseball games was to prop up a massive satellite dish in your yard and hope that the kids did not figure out how to break the security code for the “adult” channels.

To be truthful, most fans followed baseball through radio broadcasts.  For me, this was an intensely personal way to learn about the game, because I spent endless summer afternoons and evenings listening to Jack Buck while lounging on the sun porch at my grandparent’s house.  Even when a game would be available on tv, we would often opt to listen to the radio, because there was just something different about listening to a detailed description of events that you could picture in your mind.  Such times were a staple of my childhood as much as they were a tiny glimpse at the purist form of Americana.

If you could keep score while listening to the radio broadcast of a game, then you really were accomplishing something.  Looking back, I realize now that scorecards were responsible for magnificent improvements in my handwriting skills during each summer.  Maybe I cared little for keeping letters and numbers inside the lines on Big Chief notebook paper at school, but there was absolutely no way I would dare mar my scorecard with a single, superfluous mark.  Actually, malformed numbers were the enemy of the aesthetically ideal scorecard, so I spent commercial breaks and pitching changes tidying up that precious scorecard.

In retrospect, the time spent listening to games and keeping score at home set the ideal stage for a lasting bonding experience.  I absolutely cannot think of both my grandparents without making a connection to baseball sooner or later.  To this day, I still keep score at home whenever possible.  Doing so honors the memory of those wonderfully innocent summers lounging on that sun porch 30+ years ago, and I would not trade those memories for anything in the world.


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