Have you found yourself wondering why the Marlins have the best record in baseball two weeks into the season? Their starting rotation has been good, and their lineup has come up with timely hits more than once, but the answer may not be as prosaic as simple baseball ability. There may be a more supernatural answer to their good fortune.
During last Wednesday's game with the Braves, Hanley Ramirez gave a tin of Skoal to outfielder Cody Ross and told him it was to help him get a hit. Ross was 2-for-25 with no RBI up to that point in the season, so he slid the tin into his back pocket and prayed for help. His first Skoal-aided at-bat was a run-scoring single to help the Marlins to a 10-4 win. Ross homered and drove in four runs the next day and then hit another homer to send Friday's game into extra innings. The Marlins beat the Nationals that night and kept on cruising through the weekend, which featured another homer and five more RBI from Ross on Sunday.
The chew wasn't just doing wonders for Ross, though. Each of the three games in Washington saw the Marlins use ninth inning rallies to tie or win games. Some might choose to blame the woeful Nationals bullpen, but what group could counter the magical powers of the chew?
The tin is now back with Ramirez, in hopes of turning his play around after a recent slump. The Miami Herald's Fish Bytes blog reports that if it keeps working -- Ramirez is 2-for-6 in the last two games -- it could find it's way to other players in the future.
The tin isn't the first shared talisman in baseball. Before Jason Giambi left the Yankees, the Bombers used to pass around a gold thong of the sluggers to break slumps. Thanks to tobacco's less charming side effects, this isn't anymore family friendly but expect to hear a lot about it if the Marlins keep running at the top of the standings.