Originally written on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 11/16/12
Phils hurler Tyler Cloyd is one of many players that rely on superstitions Baseball players are known for being some of the quirkiest of all athletes and, as such, they typically seem to be the most superstitious. Many people feel that superstitions and sports go hand in hand. The habits and things players believe can bring good luck or serve up bad luck are embedded deeply in the game of baseball. Some of the best known player activities based on bringing a positive vibe include kooky actions like Turk Wendell‘s oral habits, which involved the former Cubs, Mets, Phillies and Rockies hurler chewing black licorice while he pitched and brushing his teeth between innings. Some players are big believers in physical routines, like the manner in which Mike Sweeney would enter the batter’s box, touching his helmet and face multiple times, or how Nomar Garciaparra would unfasten and readjust his batting gloves between each pitch. The superstitions that are widely known are those that belong to big leaguers, but there are surely guys in the developmental ranks that have rituals which are just as remarkable. Most players will simply stick to recurrent methods. Pitcher Ethan Martin, acquired by the Phillies from the Dodgers in the Shane Victorino trade, keeps a focus on drinking the same amount of water or sports drink between innings. Kelly Dugan, the Phils’ top draft choice in 2009, focuses on his warm ups and pregame hitting program. Matt Campbell, the Phillies’ 24th round draft pick in 2011, listens to the same playlist of rock tunes to get himself in the right frame of mind and generally prefers to not be clean-shaven on a day he might pitch. Other players, like Nationals prospect Cutter Dykstra, who describes himself as very superstitious, exhibit a rotating preference of good luck charms, insisting that his actions vary from week to week.  Dykstra often considers the food he consumes among the measures he takes to ensure agreeable production. “If something works and I’ve eaten something, you better believe I’m eating it again the next day, if I had a good night. If I didn’t, I would stay away from that for a while,” Cutter, the son of former big league All-Star Lenny Dykstra, said during a stop in Lakewood, NJ this year. “The clubby here, Tommy, was actually my dad’s clubby with the Mets and he asked me what I wanted before the game and I said, ‘Tom, whatever’s got knocks in it.’ So, he’s going to surprise me.” Some routines are more pensive. Reliever Ryan Duke, the Phillies’ 25th round draft selection out of the University of Oklahoma in 2011, performs a habitual tribute to his late father, prior to every appearance. According to the 24-year-old righty, it is a means of including his dad and knowing that he’s watching. “I just draw a cross on the back of the mound and write a 1-7 on either side of it and my dad’s initials underneath it, because he passed away two years ago, so it’s a little reminder. And I’ve got his initials on my cleats, so it’s kind of like a shout out thing to my dad,” Duke said of the homage. Along the same lines, highly ranked Red Sox pitching prospect Matt Barnes, a 1st round pick in 2011, makes the sign of the cross on his chest before he takes the mound each inning. The 22-year-old began making the symbol years ago, at a time when he grandfather was ill, and continues to do so each time out, asking his late grandfather to look over him while he’s on the mound. Blue Jays lefty reliever Aaron Loup, who began his 2012 campaign with Double-A New Hampshire, has also sustained a tribute to his grandfather dating back to childhood. The Tulane product, sticks by a motto as a means to keep his grandfather, who coached Loup as a youngster, close and to help his own mental gait. “There was one thing my grandpa used to tell me all the time and, I guess, it stuck. It was ‘LLTC’, which stood for location, location, total concentration. I write that underneath the bill of my hat and it’s basically what I just go by, when I’m out there on the mound,” Loup stated. Other rituals are less praise or belief based and are instead more quirky. Left-handed pitcher Ethan Stewart, the Phils’ 47th round draft pick in 2010, may top the list of unorthodox habits, as the British Columbia native is unable to pitch a ball that he hasn’t acquired in a particular manner. “When I pick up a ball, on the mound, I’ve got to pick it up through my legs,” Stewart declared during an interview this past season. “I switched balls when I pitched the other day and, when I got it (from the umpire), I had to drop it and pick it back up through my legs real quick.” Phillies rookie hurler Tyler Cloyd, who spent much of his 2012 season in the minors, gets a massage from his wife the night before each start, which is not only a quality physical routine, but also a bit romantic. Additionally, Cloyd seems to have developed a physical dependency with one of his other habits and has a piece of good luck clothing. “I don’t know why, it’s something I have to do…I always have to pitch with gum in my mouth. I can’t pitch without gum in my mouth. It’s weird. I get headaches (if I don’t have gum). And I always like to wear the same under (garments) and everything like that. It’s always cleaned between starts, of course. There’s a couple superstitions in there that I just can’t kick.” Infielder Ryan Goins, the Blue Jays’ 4th round draft choice from 2009, is another player who’s stuck on gum. “I always chew three pieces of Trident Layers. I’m not gonna lie to you. I like the green apple and pineapple flavor. That’s something that I do. I don’t know why. I started it last year and it worked out. I kept hitting, so I wanted to keep doing it. The first couple games this year, I didn’t chew it and I didn’t hit well. So, finally, I got some gum and we’re back on the train again,” Goins said, admitting that he’ll stick with the same gum, even after the flavor has worn out. Some of the eccentric routines are considerably more common. Phillies minor league pitcher Julio Rodriguez, like so many other players, refuses to step on a foul line, as he enters or exits the field of play. The Puerto Rican born 22-year-old says he must always hop over the line with his left foot. Toronto pitching prospect Justin Nicolino, a 2nd round draft choice in 2010, wears a rubber band on his right wrist and is compelled to shower and dress at the same time and same manner every start, dressing from left to right. With plenty of players, such as Phillies rookie first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf, who led all of minor league baseball with 38 home runs in 2012, not buying into luck or positivity brought by habits, a lot of individuals simply feel that what works one day may not help the next day. Former big league catcher and current manager of Toronto’s Double-A affiliate in New Hampshire, Sal Fasano, didn’t have any habits or routines at all during his playing days. Fasano, a career backup behind the plate, opposed luck and relied on obvious indicators to prepare for a game. “I really wasn’t very superstitious,” Fasano stated. “It’s easier (to have those) when you play every day, and I didn’t play every day. I knew if the sun was out, I was playing, so that’s the only superstition I had.” Regarding those that do rely on routines to get by, fans will continually wonder if they really help. Not all of the methods that players utilize to have success will have positive results each and every time out there. What matters a considerable deal in baseball is a player’s cerebral approach, so if a little superstition results in a sharpened or enhanced focus, it is beneficial and certainly does work. Baseball has always been loaded with “head-case” types, so it’s no surprise that the number of players that devote considerable amounts of effort to activities that might deliver good fortune seemingly outweigh those that don’t do so.  Superstitions are easily a behind-the-scenes aspect of baseball that makes the game that much more interesting for players and fans alike.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kevin Sumlin: Texas A&M players have 'chip on their shoulder'

WATCH: Elvis Andrus steals home against Padres

Seahawks went on Hawaiian vacation to ease SB tension

Robert Kraft: Deflategate 'most overblown story' in NFL

Top 10 storylines for Week 1 of college football season

Jim Tressel once sent touching note to family of Michigan OL

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Sony cut 'Concussion' scenes to avoid angering NFL

Ryan Clark: Trent Richardson is 'worst RB of all time'

Report: David Feherty won't be back at CBS Sports

Warren Moon: RG3 needs to start taking the blame

Lovullo: I don’t see Hanley Ramirez playing left field again in 2015

Judge Berman’s one-sentence order repeats Deflategate decision timeline

Ohio State downplays revenge talk ahead of Va. Tech rematch

WATCH: D-backs pitcher fails on quick pitch attempt

Ex-FSU WR Snoop Minnis trolls rival Florida in great way

Suspicous photo may lead to drug test for CC Sabathia

How the Houston Astros went from garbage to gold

Jack Eichel plans to move in with teammate Matt Moulson

Report: Bills GM 'went rogue’ in cutting Fred Jackson

Terrance Knighton irked by Redskins-Kardsashians comparison

Connor Cook on not being named Michigan State captain: 'It stinks'

Danny Amendola’s advice to those on roster bubble? ‘Control what you can’

Dallas Cowboys: Rookies to watch

Apple reportedly sought exclusive rights to new Bill Simmons podcast

One of Clemson’s 1981 national championship trophies broke

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 storylines for Week 1 of college football season

Underdogs: Hopefuls that can shock in the World Cup

Manfred digs Shoeless Joe a deeper grave

Why Mike Trout ain't right

The Opening Drive: Jamal Anderson warns UM fans before heading to Salt Lake City

Best and worst MLB players in August

RG3 blames intern for liking Instagram post trashing owner

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Raiders cut Trent Richardson

Caroline Wozniacki smoking cover of ‘Rhapsody’

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker