Life in the Minors - Chapter 4: Baseball Superstitions, Rituals, and Habits
WFUV Sports asks what the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees do and don't do before, during, and after every game.
Minor League Baseball: How does it differ from the majors? For the eleventh consecutive year, WFUV goes behind the scenes with the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees In the Short Season Single-A NY-Penn League, it's long bus rides, low pay, and 76 games in 80 days. This is our look at Life in the Minors: How the Other Half Lives.
Eric Mollo, Staten Island Yankees Beat Reporter
Whether it is eating a big breakfast, listening to a favorite song, or playing a game of Spades, every athlete goes through some type of routine before each game. The Baby Bombers do a variety of things and explain how it affects them not only physically, but mentally, which is vital when handling the pressures of playing ball in the Big Apple.
Every player spoke about their individualized pregame routines, and how vital it is to their performance on the field. They had rituals and habits for on-field warm ups, in the clubhouse, and even on bus rides. Taking a specific number of ground balls and swings before each game is important for second baseman Zach Wilson, and on long trips, center fielder Mason Williams gets his head set for game day by listening to his Ipod playlists. Eating well before each game was imperative to many players too. While it is tough with all the traveling these guys do, they still find a way to eat a filling meal.
Superstitions, however, did not affect these Yankees as much as I thought they would. Not one Yankee said he had a superstition, even though young professional ballplayers around the country usually believe in them. Even the smallest of superstitions, such as not stepping on the chalk line, had no affect on these players They felt that as long as they were going through their pre-game habits and routines, they would be able to showcase their best baseball. That’s exactly what they’ve been doing all season long.
Steve Simineri, Brooklyn Cyclones Beat Reporter
If you take superstitions or pre-game rituals lightly, then think again. Even though many superstitions and rituals seem bogus and lame, they are an integral part of a specific routine people develop, especially ballplayers.
For example I know if I'm playing baseball I like to eat a good meal and say a little prayer before the start of each game. Also I never step on the white lines on the field, a little superstition of mine.
In talking to the Cyclones I realized all ball players are similar and all try to have a specific routine to follow before every game. Even though these rituals may not have a direct impact on their performance, it sure does impact them mentally. They say baseball is 90 percent mental and what better way to prepare yourself than feeling good with nice food and some relaxing music before every game.