Why Does Dodger Justin Turner Smear Dirt Across the Back of His Jersey?

Dirt can’t hurt—but it isn’t dirt

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Why does Dodger third baseman Justin Turner smear dirt over the first two letters of his name on the back of his jersey before every game? 

Some players try to boost their luck by wearing the same clothes day after day; some eat certain foods. Braves’ reliever Turk Wendell had a routine that involved bare feet, licorice, and a toothbrush. But not Turner. He’s just limber.

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“When I take my practice swings,” he tells me, “I try to exaggerate finishing, and my bat comes down over my left shoulder, leaving a pine tar stain.” Turner isn’t completely untouched by superstition, though: When Yasiel Puig is not licking his bat for luck, he sometimes pats Turner’s orange beard.


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