If you’ve been watching Major League Baseball really closely this week, you may have noticed the subtle beginnings of a possible new trend.
Three players have now been confirmed to have shaved off their mustaches mid-game after Cincinnati Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig became the newest member of the club during Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Puig has apparently shaved off his mustache between innings today (??) pic.twitter.com/ANfMHCk9cG— Emma Baccellieri (@emmabaccellieri) July 24, 2019
Fox Sports Ohio play-by-play broadcaster Thom Brennaman pointed out Puig’s change of appearance during the game, but couldn’t recall having seen it before.
Clearly Brennaman hasn’t been watching closely. Puig joins Toronto Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen and New York Yankees infielder Gleyber Torres as players who have taken a razor to their upper lip in the midst of battle since Friday.
Three’s enough to make it a thing, which begs the question: Why is this happening?
Perhaps there’s really only one answer that makes complete sense.
Baseball player are superstitious
It’s long been said that baseball players are the most superstitious of all sportsmen.
Whether it be shaving mid-game, or not shaving at all. Whether it be eating the same meals, or wearing the same clothes every day. Baseball players take these superstitions to an extreme level to help them navigate a 162-game schedule.
As Jansen explained, his decision to shave during Friday’s 12-1 win against the Detroit Tigers was fueled by a rough stretch at the plate.
"I told myself I'd give it two, three at-bats see what happened. I got an RBI, but I shaved it and next thing I know I got a hit. I did the same thing last year in Triple A, for some reason I'm 2-for-2 with the mustache shave."
For Jansen, it’s a go-to move with proven success.
The same might soon be said for Torres, whose mid-game shave on Tuesday was followed by one of the Yankees’ biggest hits all season.
While Torres wasn’t necessarily slumping, he immediately followed with a tenth-inning single that drove in the winning run in New York’s wild 14-12 victory against the Minnesota Twins.
The results weren’t as good for Puig. He struck out in his first post-shave plate appearance and finished his day hitless in three at-bats. But hey, he tried.
Weirdest MLB superstitions
Shaving mid-game is definitely different. To call it weird though might be a stretch compared to some other superstitions we’ve seen over the years.
It’s not in the same ballpark as Jason Giambi wearing a golden thong whenever he was struggling at the plate. Or Turk Wendell's laundry list of superstitious acts, which included his refusal to step on the foul line. Or Philadelphia Phillies great Richie Ashburn sleeping in the same bed with his bat.
Those are some all-timers.
It’s more creative and certainly far more aesthetically pleasing though than not shaving at all through the playoffs or wearing the same dirty helmet.
Now we’ll just have to see how many other struggling players with facial hair will follow suit.
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