Baseball routines and rituals

Baseball players are known for being creatures of habit and superstition. On Wednesday afternoon, Seattle Mariners third base coach Manny Acta tweeted out a video of third baseman Kyle Seager (AKA Corey’s Brother) and backup catcher Carlos Ruiz (AKA Chooch in the tweet below) going through their pregame routine.

When you think of a pregame routine, usually you’ll think of things like taking grounders, throwing, stretching or listening to music. Some other routines might be the order a uniform is put on (pants then socks, hat then shoes) or the foot a player steps out of the clubhouse with.

What we found Seager and Ruiz like to do before a game is shake hands and name as many animals they can think of. I’ve included Acta’s tweet so you can see for yourself.

As I watched this 60-second clip, it got me thinking about some other pregame routines I’ve read about that are a little bit unusual.

The Bat Flipper

A wood bat is a funny thing. To hit the ball just right and keep from breaking the bat, the hitter has to hit the ball on the tight grain of the barrel, which is stronger. Each bat has two strong grains and two weak grains.

As part of his routine, Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Chris Stewart likes to take pregame batting practice with both sides of the bat, and whichever side he hits better with that day he’ll use in the game.

Bo “William Tell” Jackson

When he played for the Kansas City Royals, Bo Jackson liked to spend time before games practicing archery in the clubhouse. Rather than stand back and let him do his thing, teammates liked to get involved and let Jackson shoot apples out of their hands.

Man Eating Chicken

Hall of Famer Wade Boggs was known for having a lot of superstitions and routines, including waking up and running sprints at the same time every day. But the one he was probably the most famous for was eating chicken before every game.

The Thong

This isn’t so much a pregame routine, but more of a slump buster. When he was in a slump, Jason Giambi would wear a gold thong on his way to games. My guess is that it either made him feel like he would never be that uncomfortable in the batter’s box, or it was simple motivation to hit the ball.

There are hundreds of other players throughout the history of the game who have had unconventional ways of preparing for games. Share the ones you know of and you like the best.

Photo by Brigham Berthold


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