Dansby Swanson burns sage to help Braves break out of slump
The Atlanta Braves were coming off back-to-back miserable performances heading into Monday’s game against the Chicago Cubs at Truist Park. In an extremely new-age effort to break the mini-slump, Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson burned sage throughout the team’s home ballpark in a bid to restore some positive mojo.
And for at least one game, the outside-the-box sage burning paid off, as the Braves pulled out an 8-7 victory over the visiting Cubs.
“Every bit of area I could find in this place, I went into,” Swanson said after Monday’s game, per ESPN. “I might have to bring some tomorrow, too.”
Monday’s big win followed the Braves suffering through consecutive shutout losses in a doubleheader Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks — in which Atlanta produced only one hit across 14 innings — that included Madison Bumgarner’s seven-inning “no-hitter.”
“All year, I’ve been like if it gets to a point, I’m bringing sage in here — and I think yesterday was finally to that point,” Swanson, who hit an opposite-field homer in the victory to contribute to the cause, said. “I pretty much walked every bit of area you can find in this place, I went into. It was fun.”
Swanson has experience in burning sage beyond the ballpark. He previously has done so with his girlfriend, U.S. women’s national soccer team forward Mallory Pugh, when the couple moved into a new home or on occasions when “you feel like you need to cleanse the air a little bit.”
Sure, burning sage comes across as a bit superstitious, but baseball players are famously known for engaging in such antics when times are tough. The Braves presumably feel the efforts by Swanson were worth a shot, even if some players and staff are privately skeptical over how much an impact the sage burning had on the win.