Baseball Rituals Essay

807 WordsApr 17, 20134 Pages
Baseball Rituals The discovery made by Malinowski when observing Trobriand Islands magic indicated that they perform extensive magical rituals only when they fish in open seas due to danger and uncertainty not when they fish in the lagoons which are safe. The Malinowski hypothesis about magic was put to test or compared to various magical rituals performed by American baseball players. An anthropologist and a former baseball professional player George Gmelch observed the magical rituals in baseball and provide an insider’s view of rituals, taboos, and fetishes involved in the sport in addition to his personal experiences as a baseball player. Gmelch listed the three essential activities of the game which were pitching, hitting, and fielding. He stated that in the first two, chance can play a surprisingly important role but fielding is the one part of baseball where chance does not play much a role (38-39). Gmelch also talked about a well-known taboo in baseball. According to him, saying no-hitter while one is in progress is considered as taboo. It is believed that if a pitcher hears no-hitter, the incantation accounting his progress will be broken and the pitcher will lose (41). “You can’t really tell what’s most important so it all becomes important. I would be afraid to change anything. As long as I’m winning, I do everything the same,” said Denis Grossini, a pitcher on a Detroit Tiger farm team, when responding to Gmelch’s question about his ritual of eating tunafish sandwich and taking two glasses of ice tea on each pitching day. Gmelch explained that Denis Grossini always go to the nearest restaurant for two glasses of ice tea and a tunafish sandwich on each pitching day for the first three months of a winning season. In going further, he stated that Grossini always wake up at 10:00 AM and go to the restaurant at exactly 1:00 PM. Additionally, on a free

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