For decades, teams have used rally caps in an attempt to superstitiously fuel their team to victory but not the 2018 Mississippi State baseball team. The Bulldogs prefer a rally banana, and oddly enough, it’s working.
The unranked Bulldogs have overcome the odds this postseason and shocked the nation by continuously winning with their loose style of play, but the success hasn’t come with a little help from their banana friends.
“How can you not believe in the banana?” Mississippi State interim coach and Coach of the Year recipient Gary Henderson said.
For those who aren’t familiar, the rally banana was born during a game against Oklahoma on June 3 when freshman designated hitter Jordan Westburg grabbed a banana while in the dugout and comically used it to mimic a phone. Soon after, the bulldogs offense caught on fire, resulting in a 13-5 win.
Not only did his teammates love it, but the act was caught by ESPN, causing fans everywhere to literally go bananas.
Mississippi State fans are sporting banana gear everywhere, all of the Starkville grocery stores are struggling to keep their banana shelves stocked, and two of the world’s largest banana companies have even publicly shown their support for the team. The banana craze is real, and it is underway.
Since that game against the Sooners, the Bulldogs are 5-1 and have triumphed over Washington and North Carolina in the first two games of the 2018 College World Series.
On Tuesday, in a 12-2 win over UNC, Westburg must have had a little extra help from the banana gods as the banana man himself not only hit a grand slam but became just the sixth player in College World Series history to drive in 7 runs.
“I think I had a good banana today,” Westburg joyfully said in the postgame press conference.
The Bulldogs (39-27) will all be looking to have ‘good bananas’ on Friday when they face off against the winner of Oregon State (50-11-1) and North Carolina (44-19). The game is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. and a win for Mississippi State would secure a spot in the championship series–their first appearance since 2013.