Superstitious: Greene's rituals rooted in baseball superstition
|Wednesday, May 31, 2017 2:25 PM- -|
CLEMSON – Baseball players are, by nature, the most superstitious of all athletes. The pace of the game and time between innings allows for players to succumb to the mind games that dominate the sport, and second baseman Jordan Greene might be the most superstitious of all the Tigers.
Former Boston Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs had to eat chicken before every game, and he took exactly 150 grounders during pre-game warm-ups. A good friend of mine, former Atlanta Brave reliever Turk Wendell, chewed black licorice while he was on the mound and then brushed his teeth between innings. Moises Alou urinated on his hands to toughen them up. The list goes on and on.
Greene, the sophomore second baseman out of Fort Mill and Charlotte Country Day, is easy to recognize when he heads to the plate or heads out to second base between innings. There’s always some sort of ritual going on, including a routine of stretching prior to stepping in the batter’s box.
“When I go up to bat, I stretch my legs. The last time I went up to bat without stretching my legs, I pulled my hamstring and that was four years ago,” Greene told TigerNet. “Ever since then, I stretch my legs. Before I even walk into the batter's box, I stretch my legs. I do it in the on-deck circle and against the wall and then when I bend down everybody sees that.
“Fielding-wise, every inning the first time I throw it I throw without bending my arm. Just to warm up the shoulder. And then after that I start getting into my regular routine. It's just little things like that, superstitions. You can't break them.”
Greene admits he has always been superstitious, but it’s gotten worse as he’s gotten older and now stretches into his pregame routine.
“I have gotten more superstitious as the years have gone by, for sure. It's always been a part of the game for me,” he said. “After we take BP (batting practice), I make sure I go back inside and take a nap. I don't eat. I like to go into the games hungry and I like to feel light on my feet. I like to go in there and sleep. Then I wake up ten minutes before we have to go back out, I get dressed and I am ready to go.”
During games and before at-bats, he likes to wander to a part of the dugout by himself and concentrate on the pitcher.
“These guys know I am with them a hundred percent of the time, but I like to be focused on the game,” Greene said. “I like to watch the game. The best way to see how people are going to pitch you is to see how they pitch to other people. Weston Jackson is a good guy for me to watch.”
Greene has been a pleasant surprise for head coach Monte Lee this season, hitting .275 with 19 runs driven in, all while making amazing catches in the field. He says his defense is a result of hard work with assistant coaches Bradley LeCroy and Greg Starbuck.
“It's just confidence, Coach LeCroy works with us a lot. He started putting me on a little training mitt that I use all of the time,” he said. “I've even gotten Logan (Davidson) to start using it a good amount. I like really the training glove and how Coach LeCroy and Coach Buck work me in the infield. It really helps my game.”
As long as it works, the superstitious Greene will keep using it.