Baseball is a game full of quirky superstitions and unwritten rules that don’t seem to make a lot of sense and myths where success has never been scientifically proven. In what other sport would you see athletes chewing four pieces of gum at the same time before a game or not washing their uniform during a win streak?
In all, these superstitions are what make baseball one of the most fascinating sports to watch. What would we do in a world without all of the bench-clearing brawls, emotional bat flips in the postseason, or walk-off home runs against a division rival? So, we have compiled this list of six myths and unwritten rules that JustBats advises you to think twice about messing with:
As you know, there are many superstitions in baseball that don't make a lot of sense. Ever notice when a player is running on or off the field, they jump over the white foul lines? That's because stepping directly on them is thought to cause bad luck. This act has been around baseball as long as anyone can remember; kind of baseball’s equivalent to breaking a mirror or walking inside with an umbrella up. So, better to be safe than sorry next time you run out on the field to take second base. Jump over those white foul lines!
Picture this. It’s the bottom of the 7th inning and your team, playing in front of your hometown fans, is up 8-0. Your team is hitting well, driving in runs, and making spectacular defensive plays. Hold on. Your pitcher has gone seven no-hit innings? And, your skipper has just given him the nod to take the mound in the 8th?! Don’t do it. Resist the urge. You want to be encouraging, but probably the worst thing you could do is mention they have a no-hitter going. They obviously are in the zone and are, quite likely, keenly aware of the situation.
Let’s just say you don’t want to be that person…the jinx. Remember, if a starting pitcher is pitching really well, don't talk to them for the rest of the game.
Your team has been struggling. No hits with runners in scoring position, untimely strikeouts, and a bunch of costly errors has your team down. You’re losing the game or maybe you’ve lost a string of games. All signs point to bringing out the ol’ rally caps!
Teams usually put on their rally caps late in games to generate a spark for their team. If you don’t know, a rally cap is a regular baseball hat, but worn backwards, sideways, inside out, or even with the bill propped up. And, believe it or not, it seems to work.
For example, in the 1945 World Series, the Detroit Tigers all sported rally caps before their four-run rally in Game 7 against the Chicago Cubs. And, the 1986 New York Mets donned the rally cap late in Game 6 of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox in which they came back and won. It’s scientifically been proven to work (not really). But, why not? So, next time you’re in need of some runs late in a game, yell “It’s Rally Cap time!” and proudly wear that sideways cap. What’d ya got to lose?
Bench clearing brawls happen frequently in baseball. More often that not, the cause usually includes a pitcher and a batter. The pitcher either hits or comes way too close to hitting the batter. Then, tempers flare and somebody charges the mound. Is it ok to sit and be a spectator to the show going on between the mound and home plate?
No!! A common unwritten rule of baseball is when a brawl erupts, everyone clears the dugout. Even the players from the outfield and the bullpen race towards the action. It’s all about support and proving to your teammates that you are behind them 100%. Sitting on the bench when a brawl breaks out shows that you are not a team player. And, what goes around, comes around. Teammates will remember.
You're up to bat, the count is 2-1, you know you're going to get a great pitch to hit. The pitcher comes in with a fastball right across the plate, you put a good swing on it and hit a deep fly ball to left center. But, the outfielder makes a great over-the-shoulder catch to rob you of a hit. In disgust, you lazily run back to the dugout and run right across the pitcher’s mound.
Don’t be surprised if you hear someone screaming. It’s the pitcher telling you to get off his mound. Another unwritten rule is that you should avoid running over the pitcher’s mound at all costs.
Pitchers view the mound as a sacred place. They painstakingly prepare the mound and have it just the way they want it. Next time you watch a baseball game, notice how most players run around the pitcher’s mound on their way back to the dugout. In fact, a few seasons ago, New York Yankee infielder Alex Rodriguez ran over the pitcher’s mound after flying out. Athletics' pitcher Dallas Braden retaliated and called out Rodriguez afterwards, nearly starting a brawl. Better to take the long way around the mound!
It’s a 2-1 game in the bottom of the 9th with two outs in a game against your division rivals. You hit a no-doubter over the left field fence to tie the game. In your excitement, you look over at the other team’s bench and flip your bat high into the sky as you make your way around the bases. Not surprisingly, the next batter (who happens to be your best friend on the team), gets drilled right in the side by the pitcher. And, it’s all your fault. Why?
The bat flip, duh! The bat flip is regarded as a major diss by most players. This unwritten rule leads to players being hit by pitches, words exchanged (and not the ones that can be said on TV), or the aforementioned bench-clearing brawl. This actually happened last year in the ALDS between the Blue Jays and Rangers.
Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista hit a go ahead home run in Game 5, did an epic bat flip and exchanged words with Rangers' pitcher Sam Dyson. Though Bautista didn’t get another at-bat against the Rangers in the postseason, the following year when the Rangers faced the Blue Jays, Bautista was hit by the Rangers, which triggered a fist fight with Rougned Odor.
Teams tend to have long memories…and don’t forget when they have been disrespected, especially in high-pressure postseason play. Best advised to contain your bat flips to your video games.
Have you had an encounter with any of these baseball myths, superstitions, or unwritten rules? Any we forgot? Feel free to leave any comments and tell us about your own baseball superstitions or give the Bat Experts at JustBats a call at (866) 321-2287!