BYU baseball’s unparalleled 2016 success 2016 may be attributed to major growth on offense — and on the players’ upper lips.
For a game that relies heavily on statistics and percentages, baseball is also known for its fair share of superstitions. The BYU baseball team, or the “Mustache Mafia” as they now refer to themselves, is no exception.
When asked why the team is off to such a hot start, Littlewood joked, “Probably mustaches.”
The Cougars’ superstitious mustache trend started at the beginning of the season.
“One day we all walked in the clubhouse and were like, ‘Let’s start a rally-stache,'” senior shortstop Hayden Nielsen said.
But not everybody was on board at first.
“A few people made fun of it,” freshman outfielder Keaton Kringlen said. “But then as the season got going everyone just jumped on.”
Originally the team called their facial hair “rally-staches.” Then, on the way to a game, someone on the bus dubbed the team the “Mustache Mafia.”
“It just kinda stuck,” Nielsen said.
The mustaches are here to stay — until the Cougars lose a series. With the way BYU is currently rolling, the mustaches could last the entire season.
Many members of the team dye their mustaches so they’ll show up on television. Others, like Kringlen, use wax to curl the ends to give their mustaches a little more flair.
But some members of the team have cut ties with their mustaches. Sophomore Colton Shaver had one until he went hitless in a game. He shaved it off and now remains clean shaven. With a .453 batting average, the clean-shaven look seems to be working for Shaver.
“It’s superstitious,” Nielsen said. “It’s just baseball. Baseball is weird.”
Littlewood managed the team all season with a bare upper lip, but not for lack of trying.
“I’ve been growing one, you can’t see it?” Littlewood said. “I just have a baby face, I can’t grow one. So I’m the reverse, I can’t jinx us now by growing one.”
To make up for the missing mustaches on the team, the Mustache Mafia has extended its membership to all BYU fans. Fake mustaches were handed out at a previous home game to get fans in on the fun.
So who has the best mustache? Votes were in for Kringlen, Tanner Chauncey and Court Iorg. But according to Nielsen, one stands out above the rest.
“It’s Coach Pratt,” Nielsen said. “He’s got the big, bushy Mario mustache.”
It’s easy to see the Cougars are having fun on and off the diamond. With a 23-4 record, it’s hard to dismiss the notion that the mustaches just might be providing a bit of magic.