Baseball is a long and brutal game. In college there are near 50 games per year with endless practice in between. Much of this time is filled up with playing, however much of it is spent goofing around and preoccupying ourselves with mindless games, sayings and handshakes. It keeps our heads clear and focused where we’re playing well or poorly. Professional teams, for the most part, need to act professional so there is not as much goofing around as in collegiate baseball.
The first meme seen in collegiate baseball is the handshake. What started as a regular one or two-handed high five turned into many players using this as a superstition before, after, or even during games. They will have one with a buddy on the team, or multiple players to give them luck before pitching or having an at-bat. For example, at Florida State University, their first baseman Brandon Reichert has to do his handshakes with the guys on the team before every game.
The meme is almost purely behavioral and is transferred down through the years and across schools as new freshman enter the organizations and other teams see the handshakes from across the field. As Hale-Evans mentions, “Genes and memes are replicators: forms of information that reproduce and evolve” (103). Handshakes and superstitions are memes because a handshake is never set in stone. Both players are open to new improvements to what they currently have whether it is adding a toe tap, or extra movement.
A more recent and quick meme from baseball are sayings and phrases pertaining to different parts of the game. A series of videos conquered Youtube when a video was made
about Sh*t _______ Say. There was consequently one made called, “Sh*t Baseball Players Say” (about 1.8 million views) It is a collection of many (not all) saying that baseball players say. It is enjoyable to watch as a baseball player because all of the quick saying are true. Similarly, Major League Players also create their own memes. Brian Wilson (San Francisco Giants closer and comedian) came up with and defined his own saying, called “Got Heeem.” After only being around for a year, it has become a saying that is associated with the San Francisco Giants. It has spread around the nation and even to national TV (MLB Network and ESPN).
These memes are, from my experience, nationally recognized and are continuing to grow from collegiate athletics, to high school, and even little league. The memeplex of the sport of baseball spreads the handshake/superstition and sayings memes around the nation. However the downside to the spread of the baseball meme is that primarily baseball players know and appreciate the baseball memes. That is also the problem for all memes. They are usually centered towards a particular group instead of the population as a whole.