Superstitions, traditions and rituals at the College World Series
Whether it's something as simple as jumping over the baseline when jogging onto the field or a complex series of dugout routines, baseball players -- especially college players -- have a reputation for antics. Look into any dugout in extra innings, and you're likely to find some sort of good-luck effort underway. NCAA.com asked the College World Series field of eight about their superstitions, traditions and rituals, and we got some interesting answers.
“It’s month to month -- Can we not shave this month, they’re always hitting me with stuff. They’re always pushing it … We have rules that you’re supposed to shave at least before the series starts, but they came to me and said, ‘Coach, can we let it go?’ And I said, I’ll tell you, as long as you play good, you can do whatever."
-- Head coach Dave van Horn
"I’m hyping this up, but we can’t say anything because it’s a secret, some people on the team don’t even know that we’ve done it. I’ll say that James Teague and Jackson Lowry started doing some superstitions in Memphis, and that’s kind of where things turned around for us."
-- Zach Johnson
“We play actually play 'Trap Queen' by Fetty Wap in the locker room before every game. I hated it at first, but it’s growing on me”
-- Joe Serrano
“Once regionals started, everyone wasn’t clean-shaven, everyone decided just do something at this point to be superstitious because we’ve been playing pretty well. Everyone’s just rocking it to have a little fun."
-- Kenny Towns
"You just can’t shave during playoff time, whether you look like me and your facial hair looks awful, or you look like Joe McCarthy and it looks awful, or you look like Kenny Towns and it looks pretty good ...
I don’t think Joe McCarthy’s showered in the past three weeks -- no, I’m just kidding. He had a problem last year in Omaha. When we were here last year, he ate lunch at that dugout place and got the same food and ordered the dessert from room service every night."
-- Matt Thaiss
"Going into the playoffs it was kind of a playoff beard thing, but then we got swept in the ACC tournament. I forget exactly whose idea it was, but it was like no, it’s playoff goatee now. So they made us take the sides out, and now we’re left with this. Now it’s starting to grow back on the sides too, so it’s an overall bad look, but we’re 5-0 so I can’t change anything ...
Superstitions are definitely something I tried to stay away from this year, just because last year, this time in Omaha, things were getting really crazy. Everything was exactly the same as the day before, so I think we’re trying to stay away from that this year."
-- Joe McCarthy
"I do not let a pitcher touch my bat, ever. If I see him touch my bat, I snatch it out of his hands. … I can still use it, but I got to wipe it down." -- Josh Tobias
"We’re pretty basic. I mean, we like to goof around a little bit, we like to have our fun in the locker room, but as soon as game time hits everybody is locked in, focused. That’s one thing I’ve noticed this year, that I’ve never really been on a team like that before. … Once the SEC tournament hit, it was all business."
-- Logan Shore
"It started against Vanderbilt, and that was a really good weekend for us, so I just kept it. A lot of guys kept their beards, it’s a team joke, I guess."
-- JJ Schwarz
“I am very superstitious, if something works, I’ll just continue to do it. … In the dugout, when I’m pitching, I stand in the same place. I try to find the same spot.
Before every game, someone goes up and gets fouled and we actually do the whole free-throw line, got a guy shooting free throws, the referee hands him a glove as a ball. During practice after stretch, after we do our running, we get in our lines but we have 10 of us and we play a little football game. We line up and we run a play and everything.”
-- Sam Abrams
"I’m the quarterback, and I’m not a very good quarterback, and they’ve been wanting to change it up but we’ve been winning so we can’t change it up."
-- Ricky Eusebio
"We have a coach, actually. Ricky Eusebio, our center fielder, is the coach. He sits on the sideline and calls the play."
-- Zack Collins
“I don’t know which player it comes from, but I watch them doing it, and I just kind of go, OK, it’s time to go, you’re done, let’s play. They have a good time; I think part of the thing out here is when you’re relaxed and play, it’s important you focus and don’t get too caught up in all the stuff.”
-- Head coach Jim Morris
“I don’t think we’re that superstitious, but when something’s working you don’t want to change it … I haven’t cut my hair all year. [Chris] Chinea does pull-ups before every game, we have a little chant that we do, and we have a little circle that we do at home.”
-- Alex Lange
“When we hit a double, we have a sign that means you’re crazy, you’re crazy to pitch to us because we’re just going to hit it.”
-- Alex Bregman
“It started one game earlier in the season I did pull-ups before the game, messing around, and we won that game. … I’ll be like guys, pick a number one through 10 -- even -- they’ll be like four, six, eight, whatever the number is that day, I’ll do that amount of pull-ups and everyone’s counting.”
-- Chris Chinea
“I haven’t shaved my goatee -- I can’t remember the last time I shaved it ...
We have this thing, it started in the regional, called Energy Train. A couple older guys started it, if you were a little bit lacking in energy in the clubhouse they’d get in your face and yell at you. Then during the game, it’s just full-out, everyone’s screaming, just trying to get that edge if we can from the dugout.”
-- Evan Skoug
"The further you get in the postseason, the more tradtions you start to get -- waking up at the same time, everything that day leading up to the game the same exact way … we have too much time to think about it, really."
-- Cody Jones
"I think I had more pressure on me with the hats [than I did on the mound] … actually having all those hats on your head is a lot heavier than you think. Especially since the guys have to meticulously stack it, my chin was going down because I couldn’t keep it up. … That’s for special circumstances, when everything else we’re trying isn’t working."
-- Preston Morrison
"The numbers six and 13 -- absolutely hate them, can’t do them, I’m deathly terrified of them. I dress the exact same way every day, when I go in the batter’s box I have my routine of where I hold my bat, what I look at before I hit, how I breathe. You name it, I do it ...
The cups on top of the cooler -- I’ll count them before I take it, because I’m not going to take the sixth or 13th one. I have a voodoo doll in my locker back home. … It’s kind of a joke, but at the same time, I’m like let me throw that thing back in there."
-- Dansby Swanson
“We’re pretty straightforward, we just kind of go out there and it’s business for us. It’s new things every day for us, it’s not one thing that we continuously do ...
We were actually at Mississippi State … he got a table stand with a number on it, and it was 13. He said listen, I can’t take this number. She was like you play for Vanderbilt? He’s like yeah, and she says sorry, we can’t give it to you. He takes it, sits down at his table, we eat, and that night we lost 17-2. So you know what? I believe it with Dansby."
-- Rhett Wiseman
"One big one is cleaning my cleats. Before we practice, before a game, or every time I try to put them on, I try to make sure that every piece of dirt is off of them."
-- Carson Fulmer
No one tell Dansby that it's Friday the 13th. He is very superstitious about the numbers 6 & 13. #FridayThe13th— Vandy Baseball (@VandyBaseball) February 14, 2015
CAL STATE FULLERTON
"We’ve been wearing Hawaiian shirts every time we travel. We got this little jukebox on the bus we use to try to loosen ourselves up … sometimes it’s country, sometimes it’s hip-hop, sometimes it’s oldies. It all depends on what mood we’re in."
-- Tyler Peitzmeier
"They have a lot of weird stuff. I don’t even know what it is. They’re down right now playing music and singing. It took them a while to come up with stuff, but they came up with stuff."
-- Head coach Rick Vanderhook
"That was a theory, and it’s worked out so far. We weren’t very good on the road, but we swept Hawaii, and that was our last road series, so we were like let’s wearing Hawaiian shirts. Our assistant coach brought it up, and we did it, and we kept on doing it until we got here."
-- Thomas Eshelman