Last week, Mayim Bialik visited Express Written Consent during a Dodgers v. Giants game and explained how a neuroscientist, such as herself, finds baseball so fascinating because of how superstitious and compulsive baseball players are. Players feel like certain things needs to be accomplished in order for the correct outcome to occur. Case in point, Pablo Sandoval comes up to bat and there is a "fixed-action pattern" he has designed (aka routine) which includes tightening his batting gloves even when they don't look like they need tightening. He grounds out and Mayim states that there are probably "a whole set of things in his brain now that he should have done" in order for him to have safely arrived at base.
Such an interesting perspective and I would have loved for her to have dissected Nomar Garciaparra when he was playing. Do you all remember his at-bat routine? Some serious stuff going on right there! He claims that it is not superstition though and that "I'm just doing it to get everything tight. I like everything tight, that's all it is, really." Even if it is not superstitions it is DEFINITELY compulsive.
Each baseball player probably has such compulsions/superstitions to some degree, but lets think about how many fans have these compulsions? There are those fans with a certain routine before a game or something they do to "induce" a rally. Some merely wear the same stinky shirt that they believe to be the root of a winning streak. Sports in general are full of such things. Too bad I don't have the time to go back to neurology school to pin point why.