06/11/10 5:55 PM ET
Anne in the Stands: Superstitions are OK
By Anne Stratton / Special to MLB.com
It's no wonder that occasionally I'm superstitious. When I was little, my mother, a fanatic Cubs fan who watched every game on TV, would tell me or my brother that we had to step out of the room just for a second while Hank Sauer batted, because the last time we'd done that he'd slugged a home run.
I suspect that fans and players become more superstitious during a winning or a losing streak. A good example is my son Rick's high school hockey season his senior year that began with a string of wins. Since he'd worn his one and only pair of red socks in each of the wins, from then on, Rick made sure they were clean for all the rest. He even washed them himself.
When they kept winning, the goalie's father started showing up at every game in the same beige sweater and turtleneck. Other normally rational parents caught the bug, dressing each week in the same knit hat or the same fleece jacket. I confess I joined them, though I got pretty sick of my itchy wool sweater. They lost just two games that year and went on to win the state championship.
I asked other sports fans if they were superstitious. A tennis pro I know bounces the ball six times before each serve. If she forgets to count, she has to start over. A friend who used to play pro hockey says he always put on his socks and skates in the exact same order before each game.
During critical moments in a Brewers game, my friend Julie crosses all her fingers and her arms (but not her eyes). Rabid Brewers fan Robyn trusts her own charm to affect the Crew's luck -- she gets out her bottle of "Russian Navy" polish and paints her toenails.
I found a few Brewers fans who do not wear lucky shirts or hats. They don't even think they can empower the outcome by turning off the TV when a Brewers pitcher keeps walking batters. Those people are sensible. They understand that anything they do, from home or at the ballpark, has no affect on a pitcher, a batter, or even an umpire.
I know that, too. But just in case, when I went to the Cubs game on Thursday afternoon, I left my usual blue Brewers hat at home and took the one I just discovered in the back-hall closet.
By the way, whatever Julie, Robyn, the guy with tattoos all over his arms who sat behind me at the Cubs game or I did this week -- it worked!
Taking two of three from the Cubs felt great!
(I'm pretty sure it was my hat.)
On May 25 I was Mitch Teich's guest on WUWM 89.7 FM's "Lake Effect" radio show. I had a great time chatting about my favorite baseball team.
Anne Stratton is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.