Pablo Sandoval homered Thursday night in the sixth inning of the San Francisco Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals. It tied the game at three, and gave the Giants a boost in a game they would go on to win 6-5.
Sandoval got the normal congratulations from his teammates after he rounded the bases and strolled back into the dugout. After the high-fives, teammate Tyler Colvin came toward Sandoval with his precious good-luck charms, the same good-luck charms that Sandoval and the Giants believe have fueled this recent tear.
The cowboy boots!
Baseball players adopt all kinds of odd good-luck charms. Remember last season's Kansas City Royals and their barbecue sauce? Baseball is a game rich with superstition. A player does something one day and has a good game afterward, then he has to do that same thing every day.
The boots have worked, as Sandoval's now driven in a run in nine straight games. It's unclear when exactly Sandoval adopted the power of the cowboy boots, but it's happened in the past week or so. In the seven games since May 23, Sandoval is hitting .400 with four homers and 12 RBIs. He was hitting .225 before that and has now raised his average to .247.
OK, so they work — as good as any good-luck charm "works," anyway — but where'd they come from? For that, let's turn to Carl Steward of the Bay Area News Group:
Sandoval said he heisted the boots from Madison Bumgarner’s locker awhile back, found that they fit him perfectly, and after performing his own twisted Riverdance while wearing them, started hitting the cover off the baseball. Bumgarner has since given Sandoval a pair of his old boots to wear.
“He’s not getting them back,” said Sandoval. When I asked him if he’d packed the magic boots to take to St. Louis with him this weekend, he smiled and said, “Oh yeah, you know it.”
Sandoval was caught on film during a game earlier this week doing his dugout dance in the fancy boots.
“Have you seen him in those things?” manager Bruce Bochy said before the game. “It’s not a good look. But hey, if it works, keep breakin’ ‘em out.”
For years and years, many thought what kept Sandoval from consistent production was his weight. But he slimmed down this past winter and still had a lousy start to the season. Turns out what he needed all this time was a good pair of boots.
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