Baseball fans always will remember ESPN baseball analyst Nomar Garciaparra for his ability to hit both for average and power, his six All-Star seasons, his back-to-back batting titles and his jaw-dropping plays at shortstop.
And, there’s one more reason: his superstitions.
His batter’s box ritual became legendary.
“Nomah,” as he was affectionately called by Bostonians during his Red Sox playing days — had every Little League player (outside of the Bronx) tightening his or her batting gloves, tapping cleats, and adjusting arm bands before at bats.
However, was that a superstition or simply a routine?
For this Friday the 13th, Front Row quizzed The Baseball Tonight and Wednesday Night Baseball analyst about his superstitions:
FR: So is the batter’s box ritual an act of superstition?
NG: There is a fine line between being superstitious and having a routine. The batter’s box ritual was actually just a routine. It was just something I did. However, I definitely consider myself to be very superstitious, too. But like I said, there’s a fine line between the two.
FR: What are some of the superstitious things you used to do before and during games?
NG: I did a lot. I would never step on the white lines on the field; I’d hang my jacket in the same place in the clubhouse every day. Sometimes my teammates would even try to mess with me by moving it! If I had a hit streak, I’d never change my batting gloves even if they had holes in them. People would say ‘really?’
FR: Were you superstitious before your playing days?
NG: Yes, and baseball makes you more superstitious. If you do something every single day, year after year, it just happens. It goes back to high school — kids will wear the same jerseys and rally around something if they’re winning. It’s no different than preparing for a meeting or going on a job interview. You might wear a particular shirt or tie because you think it’ll give you good luck.
FR: This is your first full season as a Wednesday Night Baseball analyst. Any superstitions about the telecasts?
NG: You know, actually it hasn’t carried over. I think I left those tendencies on the baseball field.
FR: Your wife, Mia Hamm, was a star soccer player. Is she superstitious too?
NG: Yes, she is, but every athlete is superstitious. I think it’s a rarity to find an athlete — at any level — who isn’t. We all have our little things that we do.
FR: Have you seen any superstitions in baseball that left even you scratching your head?
NG: No, never. It’s baseball. Nothing will ever surprise me in baseball.