“When you believe in things that you don’t understand
Then you suffer
Superstition ain’t the way”
– Stevie Wonder
If a right handed pitcher is pitching for us, I cross my right leg over my left. Vice versa if a southpaw.
If I am still feeling insecure, then I cross my third finger on my right hand over the second finger.
If it really gets anxious, then I “zzzzzzzzzzzzz” the other pitcher. Zzzzzzzing is exactly as it reads: Point your second finger, right or left hand, at the pitcher’s head or shoulders or arm, and out loud very clearly say “Zzzzzzzzzzzzz”. On occasion, at the ball park, others will join me.
You would be AMAZED how effective it is! The team I so often root for, the Los Angeles Dodgers, have been in the playoffs for five consecutive years. Granted they did not win the World Series during that time frame, and just got into the Fall classic once, but the reason we lost bottom line is that my routines, my habits — zzzzzzzzing, finger crossing, leg crossing and occasional chants — are somehow superseded by the massive control exercised on the team by one Dave Roberts, the Shaman, I mean the manager. It really stuns me how impervious that guy is to what ought to work and get us there!
You know I can tell — you do not believe in the superstitions, do you? Well, look what happened to the Cubbies. You may poo-poo the curse of the goat. But: It lasted 71 years – seventy one years. Do you how many games that is? Murphy, a goat, supposedly smelled and it bothered fans so much at Wrigley Field that his owner was asked to get him outtah there…He did. That was game 5 of the 1945 World Series. The Cubs went on to lose the Series. The manager was very upset at how rude the fans were – he said you got bad karma folks! You think he was wrong? It took until 2016 for the Cubs to overcome the curse. That damn goat got their goat!
When you see guys catching a ball tossed to them on their way into the dugout; or using their shoe to wipe out some of the chalk around the first or third base box; or going through a unique routine before stepping up to the plate (which is not to be confused with genuflecting, although, I mean, some would tell you that’s just a form of superstitious ritual too… just sayin); or pitchers not shaving that day when it’s their turn in the rotation… Or no one says anything during a no hitter. Shhhhhh, say nothing! What is that all about?
What causes this aberrant behavior?
What in the name of all that is 9 innings – with a seven inning stretch – makes any of us do any of this? I don’t go through these machinations when I am doing anything else. Why during the national pastime, a game whose pace can be soft and easy, an activity that calls for fellowship and cheer, encouragement and hope, some razzing, some booing, some hand slapping, are so many of us touching a glove a unique way, or sitting in that certain manner, or making remarks that no player could possibly hear…. What in the name of all that is strike zone has happened to us?
Wait… wait… I got it! I got it
No, I don’t mean I am catching a fly ball. I mean, I have figured out why all the superstitions in baseball:
We must believe that future events will indeed be positively affected by specific, chosen behaviors. There is a fear of the unknown. We could gain or regain control over events that are about to occur. That’s it! It gives us hope! It gets us into the game! We are part of it! Part of the milieu! Damn! No wonder I should never die… Think of how bad the Dodgers will do if I pass on. Unless…
Heyyyyyyy… do you think I could Zzzzzzz from upstairs? Or maybe I can train a protege!
Well, this link provides a lot of detail about some of the major league superstitions in baseball. If you are comfortable sharing yours, by all means, please do so! It might give me some better ideas on how to make sure things go right with the guys.