Superstitions in baseball are as old as the game itself. From not stepping on the foul line to not talking about a no-hitter while it's in progress to eating the same meal before every game while you're on a winning streak. Superstitions are everywhere in the national pastime.
During its two runs to the NCAA regionals in the past five years, Florida International has had its own superstitions. In 2010 during the Panthers drive to the Sun Belt Conference championship and Garrett Wittels's 56-game hitting streak, Jobu the voodoo doll from the movie Major League had his own seat at FIU games.
In 2011, FIU had pitcher-turned-wizard Aaron Arboleya casting his spells on opposing pitchers while FIU batters were at the plate.
This season the Panthers have adopted a big jug of cheese puffs. Yes, cheese puffs. Last fall during practice FIU outfielder Brian Portelli started using the phrase "Get the cheese puff" whenever a Panther was at the plate. Cheese puff is the term for a very hitable pitch or a "meatball" if you will.
Portelli came up with phrase "Get the cheese puff" when he played at Grand Rapids community college in Michigan before coming to FIU. Initially the phrase didn't catch on, but eventually FIU reliever Chuck Cormier started yelling it whenever Portelli was at bat. Portelli hit .350 this season so obviously he was on to something. With Cormier's help the phrase spread throughout the FIU dugout.
The last two weeks on their 13-day road trip through Rice and at the Conference USA Tournament the Panthers all started yelling "Get the cheese puff" whenever FIU was at the plate. So before the conference tournament FIU assistant coach Ryne Morozowski bought a huge jug of cheese puffs and put it in the dugout for all four games, which resulted in an FIU dogpile on the mound at Pete Taylor Park.
After 44 runs and 51 hits at the conference tournament and a conference championship later, "Get the cheese puff" is alive and well in the FIU dugout.