Pine Belt Superstitions: Southern Miss Baseball - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Pine Belt Superstitions: Southern Miss Baseball

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Whether it is football, basketball, hockey or soccer, pregame rituals and habitual tendencies have always gone hand in hand with sports.

But when it comes to the game of baseball some superstitions are so deeply rooted, it would be taboo to ignore them.

"You don't touch a foul line going on and off the field," says Southern Miss head baseball coach Scott Berry.

"Most players that play baseball know not to step on the line - it's like bad luck," says Southern Miss second baseman Nick Dawson.

"One of the main ones I would say is if a pitcher is doing really well and has a no hitter going, it's big time superstition not to say, 'he has a no hitter going,' because it seems like every time somebody says that they end up getting a hit," says Southern Miss catcher Austin Roussel.

As far as superstitious teams go, Southern Miss ranks near the top.

And what may not be visible to the naked eye, directly impacts a player's ability to remain focused throughout a game.

"Before the games I always put my left cleat on first, but I tie my right cleat first," says Dawson. "I don't know why - I just do that."

"Getting towards the latter end of the game I like to take off my cleats and tie them up and retie them," says Roussel. "I don't know why it - I guess it is kind of superstitious."

Such individual quirks and tweaks become most evident when players step to the plate.

It only takes one trip through the USM batting order to reveal that nearly every player - one through nine - is guilty as charged.

"I don't know if it makes me feel better or what but I find myself always touching my pants sometimes," says Southern Miss third baseman Tim Lynch.

"Tim Lynch always licks his batting gloves," says Dawson.

"I like to lick my gloves," says Lynch.

"I come up to the plate and I draw a cross in the box where I stand on top of," says Dawson.

"I've definitely noticed Austin has a lot of things going on when he's hitting," says Lynch.

"I'll just hold it up to the pitcher like that," says Roussel. "Once he starts going through his windup that's when I pick up the bat and give a couple waves - two or three usually - and then I'll get up and get ready to hit."

"After the pitch is thrown - if it's a ball or if I don't get a hit or I don't put it in play - I just like to look down with my feet, play with the dirt where my front foot was, step out and repeat the steps over again."

Though unorthodox, the most intricate batting rituals actually carry some statistical relevance.

Of the players featured, all of them have one thing in common at the dish - patience.

Lynch leads the team in walks and on base percentage, while Roussel and Dawson have the fewest strikeouts of any everyday starter on the roster.

"You definitely try to look for anything that can maybe give you that extra little confidence, and maybe a little superstition that just gives you a little more confidence in the box," says Lynch.

"That's why I like to do the routine so whether you're slumping or not, you really have to focus on just doing the same thing you've always done," says Roussel.

As evidenced by the players themselves most of them rely on habitual tendencies to overcome the game's inconsistencies, but they are not the only ones.

In the case of head coach Scott Berry and his alternating choices of footwear, superstition knows no boundaries as a coach and player.

"Coach Berry I could say is a little bit superstitious," says Lynch.

"Coach Berry has one," says Roussel. "He likes to change his shoes if we lose. I don't know if you've ever noticed that one."

"I was wearing black and gold and we weren't doing very well so I went back to a black and white pair," says Berry.

"The night before I pitched I always rubbed BenGay on my arm and slept with a long sleeve shirt, and believe it or not I had really curly hair so I always cut a curl off before I pitched and apparently I must have pitched a lot because I have no hair left. I always did that in little league but the older I got the more I probably grew out of that."

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To read more about superstitious athletes, click this link:  http://www.mensfitness.com/life/sports/10-most-superstitious-athletes
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