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February 17, 2012 at 12:15 PM

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Superstitions are 'routine' for most Mariners

Take 2's Jon Kingston talks baseball routines and superstitious behavior with a few Mariners in Peoria. With photos by Evie Carpenter. 

As far as athletes go, baseball players are about as strange as they come. Whether it's the way they wear their clothes, the food they eat before every game or even how they enter the field, many players simply can't get through their days without going through the same exact "routine".

But what they call "routine," some people would probably call "superstition."

"In college I used to eat six donuts before every start," reliever Shawn Kelley said with a laugh. "Six Dunkin' Donut Long Johns, not cream-filled though. That's probably the craziest one I've seen, and that's mine.

"My metabolism slowed down as I got older though, so I had to stop eating so many donuts."

Six donuts before every start is an extreme example, but it goes to show just how crazy baseball players can get with their superstitions. Now that he can't eat as many donuts, Kelley has had to find something else to replace that compulsive urge.

EHC_09 Shawn Kelly.jpg

"As far as routine-oriented I always do the same stretching in the bullpen when the fifth inning comes around," Kelley said. "I guess a superstition would be that I always have my chapstick in my back right pocket. It is there because my lips get dry, so it has a purpose, but I wouldn't feel right if it wasn't in my pocket."

While Kelley was open about his superstitions, fellow reliever Brandon League was not. One could say he was being superstitious about his superstitions.

"I got a lot of routine stuff, that's information I won't divulge though," League said with a smile. "I can't say that information to you or it wouldn't be a superstition."

League had no problem pointing out one of the stranger things he's seen another player do, though.

"The craziest one I've seen was a whole daily routine of things he had to do," League said of a former teammate. "Same exact way, like coming into the field a certain way, making the same lunch everyday the same way. It was two peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches, one toasted, one not, one with crust, one without, and blue Gatorade."

On the opposite end of the spectrum there are players like catcher Adam Moore, who acknowledges the strangeness of baseball players, but never really picked up on it.

"A lot of guys do have them," Moore said. "I'd say more than not, but I've never been that kind of guy with superstitions and never had one really."

EHC_11 Adam Moore.jpg

One thing remained consistent between every player: they never really used the word "superstition" when discussing their own quirks. In fact, only a couple even used the word at all, opting to use the word "routine" instead.

When asked who on the team was the most "superstitious," nobody hesitated in saying Ichiro, who was scheduled to arrive at spring training Friday for his physical. All said it was due to him having the exact same routine every day, even down to the food he eats.

"I'd like to call that routine, not superstition," starting pitcher Kevin Millwood said. "I think you find something you're comfortable with and you kind of stick to it. They tell you in Little League not to step on the lines, and I've stuck to that pretty well, but other than that I don't really do anything every day.

EHC_08 Kevin Millwood.jpg

"You get comfortable with what you do every day and you just build it in your daily routine. When you're here, when you're at the ballpark every day, you have to find some kind of routine or you'll drive yourself crazy."

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Nice story, Jon. Nice photos, Evie. Captions???? MORE

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