Baseball fans can sometimes be as superstitious and cowardly of a lot as the average criminal in a Batman comic book. Need proof? Take the case of the perfect game that did not come to be for Mike Fiers last night in Milwaukee.
Around the bottom of the fifth, I had taken to Twitter and Facebook to make folks aware that we had a perfect game in the making. Aside from a few likes on Facebook, no one said anything. Meanwhile, Brewers’ beat writer Tom Haudricourt joked on Twitter about how “I always laugh at those who are outraged when we note that pitchers have perfect games or no-hitters. We are reporters, not concealers.”
And so it would go until Zack Cozart, leading off for the Reds in the top of the 7th, would hit a double and put an end to Fiers’ bid at immortality. Ironically enough, this is the exact same spot where Ben Sheets’ bid for a perfect game ended on 9/13/06 at Pittsburgh when he gave up a hit to Chris Duffy in the 7th.
Then the blame began. My Facebook immediately lit up with “way to go”, “it’s all your fault” and my favorite “Never ever ever mention it while in progress.” So in honor of my superstitious friends and relatives, let’s look at some of my other favorite baseball superstitions:
– Purposely stepping on or avoiding stepping on the foul lines (Mets Turk Wendell and Red Sox Nomar Garciaparra) when entering the field of play
– Wade Boggs only ate chicken before games thus earning him the nickname “Chicken Man”.
– Not showering (or cleaning one’s uniform) after a win. Dusty Baker claimed to have worn the same underwear for 5 years in the minors where he only batted .250, leading to his disbelief in superstitions.
– Justin Verlander’s Taco Bell buffet (three crunchy taco supremes (no tomato), a cheesy gordita crunch and and a Mexican pizza (no tomato) before every start)
– Tapping the plate with the bat prior to taking your stance
– Drawing in the dirt of the batters box. Wade Boggs used to draw a chai, the Hebrew symbol for life, despite not being Jewish.
– Oh, and finally, who can forget Billy Sianis and his pet goat, Murphy. I’ll tell you who can’t, Cubs fans.
So there you have it, the weird, wild and wacky superstitions that fuel baseball lore. And if you need further proof of just how odd things can get, here’s a video of Doc Ellis explaining how he once threw a no hitter while high on LSD.