The Massapequa baseball team has a motto: It’s only weird if it doesn’t work.
From the Little League level up to the majors, baseball players are known as some of the most superstitious groups of people. Superstitions can arise from a desire for comfort, pure enjoyment, or just not wanting to mess with something that’s working.
And for the Massapequa baseball team, everything worked the final six weeks of the season. The Chiefs ended on a 17-game winning streak and won the state Class AA championship, defeating Baldwinsville, 10-1, at Binghamton University. It was the second state baseball championship in school history.
So with a list of at least 17 superstitions told by senior catcher and captain Andy Primm — ranging from specific song lyrics in a group chat, stretches, pregame routines and seating arrangements on the bus — it’s no wonder the Chiefs wanted to keep things as consistent as possible to end their spring.
“It got to the point where it just started to get contagious and soon enough, everyone was making sure we didn’t change one thing,” Primm said. “The guys really started getting into it. We didn’t care what we did or how weird it would be. If it works, we use it.”
During a trip to Cooperstown, the players purchased a wooden bat and engraved “Sheedy and Caf 2018” for coach Sheedy and assistant coach Chris Cafiero. They brought it to every game, all resulting in victories, and the team plans to have a ceremony for the bat during the summer.
Other superstitions included the team’s song list before games. Primm would text quotes from the songs to the team’s group text at specific times on the days of games. Players also sat in the same seats on the bus every game.
Before every playoff game, assistant coach Brian Rath handed a piece of gum to every player on the team. Pitcher Kenny Galvin wore the same black and blue Oakley sunglasses regardless of the time or weather conditions until he was told to pitch. The team had specific sayings and stretching routines it never altered.
“You’ve got to let their personalities come out,” Sheedy said. “And I’m glad they have those kinds of things.”
“The superstitions, it just brings the guys together,” said senior second baseman James Zupo, who had a three-run triple in the state championship game. “You know you’re playing for the guy next to you and you know he wants you to succeed no matter what.”
And the wins just kept following. After being swept by Oceanside and losing by a total of 20 runs in the mid-April series, the Chiefs knew things had to change if they wanted a deep postseason run.
“We got embarrassed by a good team and we were just done with losing,” said senior centerfielder Aidan Cooney, who had two RBI singles in the state championship game. “We had a lot of young kids that we had to bring into the team concept and ever since we did that, we’ve just been rolling.”
With all nine starters either scoring a run or delivering an RBI in the state final, Massapequa (22-6) proved that a slow start doesn’t define a season.
“No one can tell this team that they can lose,” said sophomore third baseman Johnny Castagnozzi. “We can’t lose. We fight no matter what the odds are and we’re state champs and it’s something we’re going to remember the rest of our lives.”
ROAD TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Nassau AA championship
Oceanside, 6-5 (W)
Oceanside, 5-0 (W)
Long Island championship
West Islip, 7-1