Marlins trying superstitions, rituals in attempt to get hitting back on track
ATLANTA — Some baseball players are notorious for their superstitions, some for their humor.
That much was evident walking into the Miami Marlins clubhouse prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.
Bats were strewn across the floor and couches in various positions before batting practice. The dry erase board proclaimed, "Don’t touch the bats!"
"Someone just decided to wake all the bats up," Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "Pick ’em up, throw ’em around a little bit. …
"It’s kind of like a baseball thing. If you have a bat in your hand and it drops out of your hand you say, ‘Oh, that bat’s awake, let’s use it.’ Seen some guys take firecrackers and put it next to the bat to wake it up. It’s part of the game, it’s all fun. It doesn’t do anything, but (if) some guy’s superstitious, it might work. Sometimes it’s just something to loosen everybody up."
Through seven games, the Marlins could use that.
Miami is hitting .211 (24th in the majors) with 20 runs (25th) and just one homer (last). Half of their runs came in Friday’s win over the Tampa Bay Rays. The 1-6 start is far from what many imagined following a busy offseason.
"We can’t dwell on it, but you can’t be passive," Giancarlo Stanton said. "You’ve just got to understand it. Some don’t have the balance, some do. You’re not going to go 1-161. You’ve got to understand that you’re not going to win 20 in a row right away either coming from how we’ve been playing. It’s going to be a process, but we’ve got to do it."
Manager Mike Redmond is no stranger to creative ways of breaking out of a slump. As the backup catcher in 2003, he took indoor batting practice in the nude.
Rather than leave on sports news, the Marlins aired the 1993 film "Tombstone" starring Kurt Russell on the main TV in Tuesday’s clubhouse.
"I’m up for anything," Redmond said. "I’m hoping at this stage I don’t have to take my clothes off again. Leave that up to the players now to figure out how to motivate each other. This is a great group of guys. We all know this hasn’t started off as we planned.
"The same time, too, we have to turn the page and move on. These guys are in good spirits. I still think the key for us is just to relax. We still have some guys trying too hard, and maybe pressing a bit. It’s human nature for guys to want to not only be successful, to help their team. But at the end of the day, the quicker we can relax and just get back to being ourselves and playing our game is when we’re going to be able to turn this thing around."