We all knew that Wade Boggs ate chicken before each game and that he was a superstitious character, but thanks to Dan Lewis’ aptly-named e-newsletter, Now I Know, now we know a little more about that colorful dude:
For night games, Boggs stepped into the batting cage at 5:17 and ran wind sprints at 7:17. (Trying to hex him, a scoreboard operator in Toronto once flipped the stadium clock directly from 7:16 to 7:18.) Before each at-bat Boggs would draw the Hebrew word “Chai” in the batter’s box, and his route to and from the playing field was so precise that by late summer his footprints were often clearly visible in the grass in front of his home dugouts. — Wade Boggs’ entry in the Baseball Library.
If such a thing were possible, I would order more of it. Could even the commissioner himself somehow decree that the players show more of their personality? Perhaps the website or the media could achieve the same by celebrating some of the crazier members of the baseball community. Here are some possible moves baseball could pull to put some of the zany back in the game.
1) Turk Wendell Day At the Park
The team – perhaps the Cubs – could hand out free licorice strings and a toothbrush to remind us all of the wonders of the Turk. Players could take flying leaps over the foul line (or draw crosses in the mound dirt) to add a little exuberance to the game, if they like.
2) Recommend Moises Alou as a Hitting Instructor
332 home runs and a career 133 wRC+ later, he could help some young men figure it out. But a whole team full of batters that eschew the batting glove and urinate on their hands would definitely add something.
3) Recommend Kevin “Touch Me, Touch Me” Rhomberg as a First Base Coach
Rhomberg played left field for the Indians once, but was better known for his superstitions. The two main superstitions that apply here were his need to touch anyone that touched him, and his inability to turn right (he’d keep turning left until he was headed right). Imagine a team full of Rhombergs. Just imagine.
4) Mark “The Bird” Fydrich Talking Ball Giveaway
Technology has come a long way. I’m sure a ball that could say a few key phrases could be made cheap enough to give away at a game. Then, at least, the ball would talk back.
5) Nomar Garciaparra Batting Gloves Giveaway
This might fly in the face of the new effort to speed games up, but a Nomar batting gloves giveaway, replete with a “Nomar at the Plate” video montage might just spawn a whole generation of crazy pre-at-bat rituals.
Hat Tip: Dan Lewis
With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.