Superstitions and baseball are impossible to separate. Many ballplayers have their own personal routines they must perform before each game, and even during games, and KC Royals players are no exception.
Just last season, Manager Mike Matheny famously had his own superstition about the lineup card. If the Royals won, he kept sending out the same coach or player to hand the lineup card to the umpires before each game. If the club lost, Matheny replaced the person who took the card out for that game.
Daniel Lynch was elected to carry out this task before every game in the Cubs’ series in August and, when it was Lynch’s turn to pitch, Matheny turned to Brad Keller. Matheny told mlb.com’s KC beat writer Anne Rogers:
"“We take a lot of pride in, who’s got the hot hand here? I tried to go for a while like a rotation—if a guy pitches and wins, he doesn’t [do it] the next day. He gives it to somebody else and they go out. But the guys didn’t like that. They think if you win, you got to take it back out. It’s the most superstitious group…you’ve ever seen in your life.”"
Throughout Royals history, superstitions haven’t been limited to lineup cards.
An avid bow hunter took advantage of the skill while with the KC Royals.
Before Royals games, prolific two-sport star and bowhunter Bo Jackson relaxed by practicing his bow and arrow pastime in the clubhouse—some players actually held apples for him to shoot. He described the pre-game activity to gohunt.com which reported that when queried during an ESPN2 “Highly Questionable” interview about the possible danger to his teammates, Jackson said, “Listen, it’s not dangerous for me.”
Alex Gordon’s gum and hat were untouchable when he played for the KC Royals.
Alex Gordon is beloved by Kansas City fans everywhere and, as reported and recounted by Lee Judge on his blog, wasn’t without his own superstitions.
Gordon selected three pieces of gum to chew prior to games. Apparently not knowing any better, rookie Greg Holland once took a piece for himself. To avoid breaking Gordon’s superstition, Holland supplied a substitute.
Another of Gordon’s superstitions involved his cap, which he didn’t replace during the entire 2014 season and applied body spray to as a way to counteract the resulting smell.
Two important KC Royals have worn women’s perfume during the team’s games.
On the flipside of dealing with Gordon’s odiferous cap, Salvador Perez and Alcides Escobar had their own good luck charm regarding women’s perfume:
According to the Associated Press via ESPN, Escobar once put perfume on Perez, who proceeded to have a 4-hit game, prompting KC’s catcher to keep using it. His sweet smell was noticed by others, such as when Miguel Cabrera of the Tiger asked where he could obtain Perez’s perfume.
The KC Royals and Rally Mantis, the team legend that will live on forever.
Remember Rally Mantis? If you’ve been a Royals fan, how could you forget about that miraculous insect?
In 2016, the door was beginning to shut on Kansas City’s postseason hopes. Then, there came a praying mantis to the Kauffman Stadium dugout in early August. After the Royals defeated the Blue Jays that night, they kept the mantis, who they named “Rally Mantis,” as a good luck charm.
The Royals had won five of their next six games when tragedy struck—Rally Mantis died in Minnesota during a road trip.
The club found another mantis in Detroit. The new one may have played a key role in the club sweeping the Tigers on the road for the first time in several years.
And Royals fans quickly accepted Mantis Mania:
The new mantis retired to Lakeside Nature Center in Swope Park in early September. Kansas City finished the season 81-81.
Superstitions are everywhere in baseball. The Royals have had their share.