Sometimes I think I should have stuck with psychology as a vocation, but only if I could study arbitrary topics that interest me: Why white people give their children names like Paxton, for instance, or why some folks think that neck tattoos are a Good Idea.
More than that, though, I would loooooove to know more about sports superstitions: that great big crazy casserole chock-full of anxiety, fear and magical thinking.
The realm of baseball superstition is a vast domain, ruled with an iron fist by King Inside-Out Underpants and his Playoff-Bearded coterie. It’s a crazy little club where bats are tapped at precise angles at the plate, foul lines remain untouched (or in some cases, deliberately touched) and it’s a no-no to openly mention a No-No in progress.
But this weird little world is not an insular one; we fans of baseball are big ol’ nutbars ourselves. If one happens to be picking Twizzlers out of their molars when one’s team scores or produces a great play, you’d better believe that the Twizzlers’ll be out for the rest of the game, at specific intervals, in order to guarantee a repeat performance.
A particular shirt, hat, undergarment or set of shoelaces might also be deemed “lucky.” And because everyone knows that soap is Luck’s Kryptonite, said garment must not be laundered – perhaps ever, but at least for the duration of the series/season/playoff stand.
I personally know a few who will not wear team colors on game day, but these dieharders are far outnumbered by the red-wearing masses of Cardinal Nation. While most of these folks are likely wearing red to support the home team (and not superstition), I challenge you to find even a handful who wouldn’t feel a little off for not wearing Cards gear to a game.
Here are a few fun articles I’ve found on the subject:
10 Great Moments in Baseball Superstition History (The Seattle Times)
All of these came from a perfunctory Google search. It’d be relatively easy to spend a ridiculous amount of time on the subject (dissertation, anyone?).