Gmelch The Magic Of Baseball Summary

1417 Words6 Pages
Madysen Schweers Cultural Anthropology 211:001 The Magic of Baseball Humans enjoy partaking in different activities and hobbies on a daily basis. Some may play sports while others practice magic. George Gmelch states that the use of magic in terms of an anthropologist is the “practices, notably the use of rituals, taboos, and fetishes or good luck charms, designed to gain control over the supernatural” (Gmelch 2012). Gmelch then goes to explain how he believes that professional baseball players practice magic, specifically pitchers, batters, and the occasional fielders. Pitchers and batters are more common to practice magic because chance can play a big part in the game, while fielders rely more on their abilities and less on chance.…show more content…
Rituals are defined as “prescribed behaviors in which there is no empirical connection between means…and the desired end” (Gmelch 2012). Rituals are routines the players have that are reinforced by good results during their gameplay. Gmelch quotes the Pittsburgh Pirates coach Rich Donnelly, “They’re [the players] like trained animals….everything has to be the same, they don’t like anything that knocks them off their routine” (Gmelch 2012). Many people adhere to this as well, if you look at a class of students, no matter what age, once at the beginning of the school year and then at the end, you will notice that they have not changed their seats. People like to stick to what is known and are habitual. They will get bent out of shape if someone sits in their seat or if something is out of place. Taboos are practices and things that one should not do. Most players know a few universal taboos, like not to stepping on the chalk foul lines, while some taboos are more personal. These taboos come from bad luck or poor performances that get equated to a single behavior that correlates with the poor performances. There are some batters who will discard a bat if they are not hitting the ball, even if the bat is new or not. Gmelch talks about how he stopped eating pancakes because he believes it was a taboo. He struck out three times in one game and then had a bad game again later after eating pancakes yet again.…show more content…
It is also not just restricted to dancing, many people have fetishes, such as the lucky rabbits foot, that I carried around when I was younger. I have a fetish as I am typing this. I always wear the same two necklaces every day. I have a heart shaped memorial pendant that I wear for my best friend who passed away in January 2013 and a wolf pendant that I received as a gift from my boyfriend. I used to have a cross that I started wearing in eighth grade after I found out my Down’s Syndrome uncle had gone to the hospital to get a pacemaker and a defibrillator. I believed that it would somehow protect him for a little longer. He passed away six months after my best friend but I continued to wear the cross until I lost it while playing ultimate Frisbee one day. I do not take my necklaces off if I can help it. Once I had forgotten to wear my wolf pendant, I still had my heart one, and I got into a car accident. Luckily I was not harmed, the driver hit behind the drivers door. I feel that my best friend was looking out for me that day; this reaffirms my belief that the necklaces should not be taken off and if they are, they should be replaced as soon as I am able to wear them again before going

    More about Gmelch The Magic Of Baseball Summary

      Open Document