By John Shea @real_johnshea on May 30, 2014
Superstition reigns supreme in professional baseball. A decent number of players across the league resort to ritualistic tendencies in order to 'enhance' their abilities to perform at a high level on any given day. Some rituals are as simple as toe-tapping before the first pitch of an at-bat, while others require props and exotic dances. Players are forced to endure repeated failure over the course of the season, making rituals commonplace.
New-age energy drinks infused with caffeine doesn't suit Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes, who owns one of the most simple, but most compulsive pre-game rituals. Gomes is old-school when it comes to gaining a pre-game jolt. He drinks black coffee without additives like cream and sugar before every game, a ritual he adopted the day he first arrived in the big leagues with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Gomes owns a .245 career batting average.
The Diamondbacks' slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt doesn't resort to a singular ritual on a daily basis, but when his team wins, he religiously duplicates his routine on the subsequent day. Whether it's tying the laces on his cleats before putting his jersey on, or putting on his left shoe before his right, Goldschmidt makes a habit of executing the exact same routine when the D'Backs have a chance of building a win streak.
The secret to Ryan Vogelsong's perennial success over the past few seasons is Mexican food. The 2011 All-Star pitcher habitually eats chicken enchiladas the night before each start, a ritual that spurred the social media hashtag #RallyEnchiladas among Giants fans. Vogelsong's hankering for enchiladas seemingly works. The veteran right-handed hurler owns a 3-0 career record with a 1.09 ERA in four career postseason starts.
Pirates first baseman Ike Davis has a thing about putting on his uniform. Davis religiously dresses in full before grabbing his bat and putting on his cap. Davis' compulsive method of getting dressed in the clubhouse before every game is shared by other players around the league. If it works, there isn't reason to change it. The former first-round pick owns a .284 batting average with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 109 at-bats in 2014.
At the moment, nobody in baseball has a stranger pre-game routine than the "Kung Fu Panda." Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval is on the verge of breaking a franchise record. He's recorded at least one RBI in nine consecutive games, the longest such streak in baseball this season. His success is accredited to a lucky pair of cowboy boots, which he wears in the dugout before each game, and his own version of the river dance.
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