May 07, 2007

Smith's Ritual

Marty Noble at, writes about Joe Smith and his ritual between batters:

The ritual began while Joe Smith was learning his craft at Wright State and regularly enduring a rather benign wardrobe malfunction. The bottom of the legs of his uniform pants would ride up and show more of his socks than Smith preferred. He found it necessary to make an adjustment.

That one adjustment, almost unnoticed when it began, has begat a series of uniform pulls and tugs that, over time, have become a ritual for the Mets rookie reliever, one that is neither inconspicuous or rare.

Watch him. After each out, except the final out of an inning, Smith walks to the first base side of the mound, faces the rubber, bends at the waist and "fixes" himself.

"When I got to Brooklyn [his first Minor League assignment after he was drafted last summer], I figured I'd stop so I wouldn't be made fun of," he says. "But the first time I didn't do it, I pitched horrible. So I said 'Let them get on me. I'd rather pitch well.'"

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