In need of some type of motivation after losing six straight, the Cleveland Indians turned to an old friend on Friday night prior to their game against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. Pitchers Cody Allen and Corey Kluber took to yellow chicken outfits, taking on the role of “rally chicken,” the animal that Indians players credit with the start of their turnaround in the month of September last season that led to a wild card playoff birth.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) May 2, 2014
Last season, following a streak where the team went 2-6, the club brought in a real chicken, which was seen during pregame clucking around the outfield during batting practice. The Indians got hot after the chicken strutting that day, as they went on to win 18 of their last 23 regular season games, making it to the playoffs as a wild card team with a mark of 92-70.
While it was some great play on the field that helped, don’t forget that many ball players are very superstitious, some believing in the power of the chicken.
Friday it was a much more loose, more energized club that took the field, putting up five runs in the first inning, and tying a season-high with 12 runs on the night in a 12-5 win over the White Sox. Count veteran leader Nick Swisher as a believer in the chicken. “I think it’s awesome, I think it was great,” Swisher said. “There’s been a lot of stress in here, people saying things, people writing things, we have to step up together as a group. I think for us a nice little laugh here and there loosens the hinges here and there a little bit.”
Allen, when asked about the chicken, replied, “I don’t know what your talking about,” keeping his cool and not wanting to take credit for the yellow outfit. As for manager Terry Francona, he said he doesn’t mind at all some poultry power in the pregame. “I don’t care what takes credit,” Francona said. “It was nice to shake hands (after the win), we needed that. If we’re gonna win again they can all show up in chicken outfits.”
So count the 2014 Indians 1-0 when there’s a chicken involved in the pregame. At this rate, there just may be a sighting of a chicken at Progressive Field every home game the rest of the year, something oufielder Michael Brantley wouldn’t mind. “If (we win) we are going to do it a lot more often I know that,” Brantley said.