Since the 2016 World Series kicked off on Tuesday between the National League-champion Chicago Cubs and American League champs Cleveland Indians – two teams who haven’t sniffed the baseball fall classic for a cool minute.
The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908 and much of that is blamed on a curse. Baseball players are among the most superstitious and sometimes downright weird people you will ever meet. The game is as old as time and through the years, players have picked up some strange habits. These habits became ritual and were passed down from generation to generation. We’re going to look at the 5 most ridiculous of these unwritten rules and philosophies.
- Don’t rub the spot if you get hit by a pitch
Baseball is not necessarily a contact sport, but that doesn’t mean that players want to appear weak. This rule is for the sole reason of intimidation. When a pitcher hits somebody, they want them to feel it. By rubbing the spot, they are getting exactly what they wanted. Not rubbing the spot will not only make you look like a beast, it will also make the pitcher question his own velocity.
- Don’t talk to a pitcher who is throwing a no hitter
You see it all the time in baseball, there will be a no hitter going on late in the game and the pitcher will be on one side of the bench and the rest of the team on the other. This is one of the many crazy superstitions in the game of baseball. The thought process behind this is that the pitcher is so in the zone and focused that nothing should take away from this focus. Though this seems like it makes sense, many pitchers say that aspect alone throws them off because they begin thinking about it more and more when people stop talking to them
- Relief pitchers only throw fastballs to other relief pitchers
Relief pitchers don’t get many opportunities to step up to the plate. Most times, when it is their turn in the order, a pitch hitter will take over for them. When they do get a chance to hit, they don’t want to look foolish. That’s why most relief pitchers follow the rule that when they see an opposing relief pitcher they throw fastballs.
- Don’t step on the baseline during warmups
This rule is more about respect for the game itself than anything else. The baseball diamond is a beautiful place, and people work hard to get it looking as beautiful as it does. Stepping on the lines during pregame messes up the field and undermines the guys that worked hard to make it look good. Some players will take it a step further and avoid the baselines all together, saying they’re bad luck to step on.
- Don’t swing on a 3-0 count in a blowout
Although this rule doesn’t seem to apply much today as it did 30 years ago, some pitchers will still take offense to a 3-0 count when down a handful of runs. Because baseball is a game that prides itself so heavily on respect, this rule came about to avoid embarrassing other teams. If a pitcher has thrown 3 straight balls, chances are a fourth will be coming. Instead of taking a wild swing to pad the stats, take the free base and eventual win.