Baseball superstitions: Got a Pirates shirt I could borrow?

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For as long as baseball has been America's pastime, the men who have played the game have carried with them several superstitions, that for whatever reason, helped them play to the best of their ability.

We have all noticed some of these quirks with players on our favorite teams. Skip Schumaker has to step out of the batters box after every pitch to adjust his batting gloves. Some players have to eat a specific meal before every game. Some have to tap the plate exactly three times before their at bat. Some say prayers. Some wear the same socks, or glove, or other piece of their uniform without washing them the whole season.

In 1987, Minnesota Twins pitcher Frank Viola noticed that he won every game that a specific fan with a specific banner attended. This superstition grew so big for Viola that he bought the fan tickets to the games he pitched in the World Series that year and he won both games.

If superstitions can work for players, can they also work for fans? That's the question I will try to answer over the course of the next few weeks through the writing of this story.

We have all seen the new NFL commercials about fan superstitions, where the guy rubs the bald guys head, or the fans turn their Bud Lite bottle label before a kick. Well, fans of all sports carry these same types of superstitions.

For me, I have noticed that if I wear a team's jersey while watching the game, we lose. I can't explain it, but it happens almost as certainly as Old Faithful will erupt at least once every two hours. It pains me, but I have worn the opposing team's jersey while they are playing the Cardinals in hopes that the curse works on them, too, and usually it does. So, if anyone has a Pirates jersey I can wear this weekend, please email the editor with your name and address.

My other superstition is that once I start to think we are going all the way to the World Series, the Cardinals seem to slip into an extended funk. Maybe it's the fact that I was raised a Cubs fan, but I firmly believe that being too hopeful or confident in my team can lead to their downfall.

In last week's post about the current playoff chase in the NL Central I predicted that the Cardinals would win the NL Central followed by the Pirates and the Reds. Since that time, the Pirates have added Marlon Byrd, John Buck, and Justin Morneau, while the Cardinals gave up pitching prospect Michael Blazek to the Brewers for a gamble with John Axford. They have also gone on to lose way too many games, and have fallen out of a tie for 1st place.

So, in keeping with my superstition of not talking up my team, I would like to recant last week's prediction that the Cardinals will win the division. In fact, although virtually impossible, I say they finish dead last. That's right. The Brewers and Cubs win every game the rest of the season and the Cards lose them all!

I don't know if my superstitions somehow affect how well my team plays, but I like to think they do. Remember, it's only weird if it doesn't work.

About the Author
Steve spends his time here at The Peorian analyzing data and networking to develop solutions to bridge the gap between…no wait, that’s what he does as a career. He’s here at The Peorian to write about other things. And in order to facilitate these efforts, we have banned him from using any forms of the words “data”, “engineering” and “antidisestablishmentarianism”. The latter should be for obvious reasons. I mean, really, how could anyone be FOR the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in 19th-century Britain?