Why Do Baseball Players Often Wear Chains While on the Field?
Each vocation, group, society, clique, gaggle, workplace, or congregation has its own culture. And that culture involves different practices that govern the way you speak, the way you dress, the way you behave, the questions you ask, etc.
The same goes for sports and even specific sports teams. The 1986 Mets culture, for example, is way different than the 2016 Chicago Cubs culture.
But there's one cultural norm that's the same among seemingly all baseball clubs, and that's chains. Why do so many athletes in the league seem to love wearing them on the field?
Why do baseball players wear chains?
It would seem like a dumb move to put a bunch of loose, jangling, expensive, and heavy jewelry on one's body while playing a high-stakes, fast-paced game like baseball.
And there have been plenty of instances where wearing chains on the field has gone horribly wrong, like when Junior Guerra threw a pitch and was hit in the face by his own dangling cross.
Then there was the time Yoenis Cespedes broke his necklace after sliding into second base and dropped diamonds in the dirt as a result. He was angry after messing up his chain.
A pricey lesson to learn, but one that he learned regardless and in front of millions of people on national television.
So why do so many players wear them? Well, there are a few different schools of thought. The first has to do with the superstitious nature of baseball culture.
While there are tons of sports leagues that have their own superstitions and rituals, leaning into seemingly nonsensical traditions is most prevalent in America's favorite pastime.
Additionally, some players wear religious symbols like crosses. It's not uncommon to see a player kiss their cross before going up to bat or prior to leaving the dugout and heading onto the field. It can be construed as a way of saying, "Hey, I put in all of the work that I can do, now listen here higher power, carry me to wherever I'm supposed to be."
Either that or, "God, you better freaking help me hit a home run."
Of course, another reason some players wear chains is that it just kind of looks cool. Wearing uniforms tends to make everyone on the team look the same, but donning a chain is a dope look.
Plus, if you've got money playing a sport at the highest level, flexing with a bunch of chains around your neck like a pro-athlete version of Mr. T is pretty cool.
Pitcher Chris Archer attributes the rise of so many players wearing chains in the MLB to superstar's David Ortiz proclivity for wearing them on the field.
He told Bleacher Report, "I remember seeing David Ortiz wearing his chain out with big medallions in 2015, 2016. He was the origin of the chains trend, probably. You see one guy doing it, and you're like, 'You know what? Maybe I won't be so conscious every time it comes out to put it back in.' Now it's to the point where people are deliberately wearing them out."
Of course, there are other sporting events where we see athletes donning chains. Sprinters, runners, and track and field stars in the Olympics are seen rocking chains often. While some might see that as useless wind resistance, it doesn't seem like the trend's going to stop, even if folks are losing precious stones in the dirt while adding a little bit of extra pizzazz to their on-field appearance.
Look good, feel good, play good? You be the judge.