Monday, 27 August 2012

Baseball Peccadillos: The Yunel Escobar Edition

This is pretty typical Escobar
I always like reading the google searches that lead people to this blog. Most of them are about Yunel Escobar. People seem to have an insatiable need to know what his tattoo his all about. What does it say, and what does it mean. Most recently, someone arrived at this blog after asking,"Why does Escobar rub dirt on his pants?"

Escobar mid hand-clap while Laffey winds it up

 The answer: I have no idea why he does it. But this I do suspect: Yunel Escobar is a superstitious ball player with a routine. I have tried to learn all of Escobar's piccadillos because i'm weird like that. And I will now share them with you all.

Escobar loves him a good pre-game long toss.  Every pre-game you can find Yunel out along the third baseline with a wide assortment of partners (Davis is the most common, but also Lawrie, Johnson, McCoy and Hechavarria). By the end, they are usually about 275-300 feet apart. Escobar gets all his flash out during this toss, and you can commonly find him doing behind the back catches, under the leg catches and spins.

Escobar plays some pre-game long toss with Hechavarria

Escobar's handshakes have been well-documented by the media, and Yunel spoke about them in one of his bobblehead day videos, so I won't talk about those here. 
Yunel Escobar - Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals
Photo: Kyle Rivas/Getty Images
Before the game begins, Yunel jogs out to third base writes something in the dirt, rubs it out and then rubs the dirt on his right thigh. Last year, he did this at second. This year third. Although, he does occasionally add some additional dirt from second base.


Just as ever present to his dirt smear are his batting gloves/pocket.

When he's on the field, his gloves are hanging out of his back, right handed pocket. When he has the gloves on, the pocket is inside out.

When the game is not in play (no one at bat), Escobar will not step on the foul lines. He usually hops over them, he sometimes spins over them.

Back in Atlanta, Escobar was well-known for his on-deck jump

Photo: the Chattanoogan
I've only seen him do that jump on-deck three or four times since he has come to Toronto. However, I do occasionally see him do it at short stop before the game starts. Whenever I see him do that, I always think "maybe Escobar is going to have an awesome game today."

Yunel marks the dirt with his bat before going up to bat
Yunel spins his bat, count 'em, one, two, three
  Up at bat, the peccadillos keep on rolling. When Escobar batted lead-off he always gave the foul line in the batters circle a real good kick, but batting lower, he usually dosen't mess the chalk quite so much. He also marks the dirt with the handle of his bat. A 2007 article by the Chattanoogan ( claims that he isn't writing anything in particular, but that the first ever game that he did it got four or five hits and hasn't stopped since.

Once in the box, Yunel will spin his bat, one, two, three times. And he is a mighty fine bat spinner.

Yunel Escobar - Detroit Tigers v Toronto Blue Jays
Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Yunel's home plate actions are just as quirky. If Escobar gets home, you can expect this scene.

Yunel Escobar is, without a doubt, superstitious, with a dash of quirky. While I have no idea what any of these actions mean,  I love to watch him play, peccadillos and all.

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