Baseball is a sport where superstitions are as old as the rules that govern the game. The typical comment from those who aren’t fans of the game is that it is boring and slow.
In recent weeks, many teams across college baseball have decided to add a bit more fun to the American Pastime.
The first instance this year came with the Wright State baseball team.
The team bus struck a deer on a road trip to northern Kentucky. After a subsequent win, in the team’s view, the deer had helped them out of a rut.
From that point on, the deer, named Gary Croswell (the deer) and Wright State went on to sweep two series. The deer was named after the first name of the driver and the name of bus company.
From that day forward, Wright State had a fake deer head in its dugout wearing a team hat. Fans adopted it and wore antlers to games.
“Gary” and the Wright State team made it to the NCAA Tournament Regional Round before being knocked out by Louisville.
College baseball teams are strange, but it’s like having a crazy dog (like I do) you love no matter what.
At Charlotte, our baseball team had a guy who consumed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the on-deck circle before every at-bat. I would always make note of that each time he was on deck during the broadcast.
He would have a big bulge in his cheek that wasn’t from tobacco: he was still chewing the sandwich.
This next one is a little weird, even by my standards. But when in the Bayou, you must deal with all the critters that come with the territory.
Back on May 7, a possum darted across right field during Louisiana State University’s home game against Arkansas.
The Arkansas right fielder, Carson Shaddy, had no idea what to do — so he tried to scoop up the varmint with his glove.
Soon, the grounds crew came out with a broom, a dustpan, a bag and a barrel. The possum was removed from the stadium, but he somehow found his way back in the form of a stuffed animal replica.
LSU trailed Arkansas 9-4 at the time the possum charged onto the field, but the Tigers went on to win the game in the 10th, 10-9. That is when the lure of the “Rally Possum” was born.
He now has his own Twitter account (this is getting out of hand!). LSU eventually lost in the Super Regional to Coastal Carolina.
At this time, there is no report of the “Rally Possum” being exterminated.
And now, perhaps the funniest of all: Billy, the Groton-Dunstable baseball team’s rally fish.
At the time of publication, the Crusaders are Division 3 Central Mass champions. The team is heading into the state final after trouncing Wahconah,8-1, in the state semifinal at Tivnan Field at Lake Park in Worcester, with a large goldfish in tow, who goes by the name of Billy Jr.
Billy comes to Groton-Dunstable by way of a local Petco store.
When Groton-Dunstable’s Central Mass final was postponed Saturday due to rain, assistant coach Joe Bisbee tweeted a picture of the chubby goldfish looking out over a rainy field from his blue glass pitcher saying: “team mascot approved of the weather.”
And when the Crusaders defeated Auburn, 1-0, for its first-ever Central Mass baseball title, senior shortstop Kyle Priest rushed over to the roof of the first-base dugout to retrieve Billy, so that he could join the celebration.
Billy’s pitcher had a G-D hat atop it to protect his golden gills from the sun. As the Crusaders continue to fish for a perfect season, and a state title, Billy will continue to win the hearts of fans … and reporters.
And that, my friends, is why baseball is such a great, sometimes quirky, game.Follow Ed Niser on Twitter/Tout: @EdNiser.