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Rooting Superstitions

It is no secret. It has been stated in this space countless times. I am a baseball fan. Specifically, I’m a Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox fan. Generally, I am a baseball fan. If there is a game going on in my vicinity, chances are, I will be watching it. We are in the

It is no secret. It has been stated in this space countless times. I am a baseball fan. Specifically, I’m a Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox fan. Generally, I am a baseball fan. If there is a game going on in my vicinity, chances are, I will be watching it. We are in the midst of the concluding phase of the baseball season. The playoffs are here, and even the occasional fan has a heightened interest in how October baseball will play out.

Last week those same playoffs began, and even though my Red Sox were in action against the New York Yankees, I didn’t watch or listen to a single pitch of the American League Wild Card game. No doubt, many of you have seen those t-shirts stating, “I am a fan of two teams (the individual’s favorite team is listed) and any team playing the (name of the team the individual dislikes). Even though I don’t have one of those t-shirts, count me in!

I was weaned on a love of the Red Sox and the accompanying disdain of the Yankees. Throughout the years, all too many times, the pin-stripe boys have ruined my baseball watching, so I developed my own remedy; just don’t watch any Yankee games. It doesn’t matter the importance of the game or who the Yankees may be playing — if their game is on, I’m not watching. It saves me a lot of frustration.

I know it is a bit childish, and in reality, with 27 World Series titles to their credit, I am sure the New York boys could care less about my own personal boycott. But at least, in my mind, it worked that October 5 evening as the Sox prevailed 6-2 to advance in the playoffs.

In doing some off-the-wall research, I discovered a 2016 Fox Sports rated listing of the top 10 baseball fans’ superstitions. It seems I have a lot of company as “Not watching” was listed the number 3 on the fans’ top ten list. Its rationale stated:

“This one is underrated. Why my nerves weren’t frayed watching on tape instead of live makes no sense — the outcome was still in doubt, and the situation was just as big, but knowing it had concluded provided a sense of relief. Rather than dealing with the stress of watching, it was best to wait until the game was over to find out what happened.”
Just for fun, the entire Top Ten list includes:

#10 Forced superstitions by teams. All baseball teams seem to have some kind of towel-related giveaway. They’re the worst. They are annoying with a voice playing over the loudspeaker instructing fans to wave a rally towel. Just let me watch the game.

#9 Wearing the same clothes. This one’s all relative. If you have a lucky hoodie or T-shirt that you’ve been wearing throughout the playoffs, that’s perfectly acceptable. What is not acceptable is wearing anything that goes underneath those clothes. Not changing your socks, let alone your drawers, won’t help.

#8 Not moving seats or position. If you sat on one corner of the couch when your team hit a homer, then you keep sitting there the rest of the game. If you’re stretched out on the couch when your team had a four-run inning, and your significant other wants to come into the room and sit down, it’s OK to say no.

#7 Rally Caps. It’s a Little League fashion. There was nothing cooler than being on the bench in the bottom of the 6th with your team down a run and turning your pre-tucked hat inside out, backward and folded like a napkin. That was great, and if adults want to do it, cool. No judging, but let’s be honest: in public, it looks a little dumb. Keep those superstitions to yourself in public. At home, you can do anything with that hat you wish.

#6 Refusing to change the method of following the game. A fan was about to rush home from work to watch his team when they scored in the first inning. So, the dude stayed in his office for the entire game — all four hours and 7 minutes of it. If things are going good, stay where you are, no matter the locale.

#5 Nervous tics. If you are flexing your toes right before your team hits a home run, then you keep flexing your toes right before every pitch. Or maybe it’s double-fisting a brew. Whatever it is, keep doing it.

#4 Never talking, or even thinking about, a victory. Even if your team has the lead, don’t think about what might happen in the next game. Don’t let your imagination run wild. Send those thoughts away, getting them out of your sight and mind, like a parent sending an unruly kid to summer camp. Crazy? Yes. Effective? Eh, I don’t know.

#3 Mentioned above

#2 Limiting the guest list. Never invite someone to watch the game that cares substantially less than you do. You need to control the environment. So, when the wife enters the room, and the other team gets a hit or scores, it’s clearly her fault. Probably, she takes no bull and sits down anyway.

#1 Keep everything the same. Same clothes. Same position on the couch. Same friends, or watching alone. Same beverages. Same food. Did you throw your water bottle in frustration before a big rally? Leave it there; you never know which one is going to work. Don’t listen to the haters; if you believe that what you do in your home has any bearing on a game a thousand miles away — then do it. If you will it, it will happen: right?

Warning: there is absolutely no guarantee any of these superstitions will work for you. But #3 worked for me — so give ‘em a try.

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