Jesús Aguilar has been a one-man wrecking crew recently. After hitting just one home run through his first 17 games, the hulking Marlins first baseman has mashed five taters in his last seven games. What could explain his sudden turnaround? Was it a mechanical change? Was it positive regression setting in? Did he change his approach?
Maybe. But I’m gonna go with the fact that he gave up arugula and started eating arepas again.
Venezuelan players like Jesús Aguilar need their arepas. If you’ve never had a Venezuelan arepa, you’re missing out. This is one of Venezuela’s most distinct foods. Nutrition be damned! Big boys like Aguilar need their arepas.
Jesús gave them up heading into the season, sadly. He dedicated himself to getting into better shape this offseason, as he tips the scales at around 300 pounds when he’s at his maximum density. His new diet featured more fruits and veggies, including the aforementioned arugula that, clearly, sapped the pop in his bat. Aguilar decided to make a change after 17 unproductive games, and the ball started flying out of the yard.
If it works, don’t question it.
As Crash Davis put it in Bull Durham, “If you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting laid, or because you’re not getting laid, or because you’re wearing women’s underwear, then you are!” The examples are different here, but the rationale remains the same; athletes are highly superstitious. Rituals, or deviations from them, can drastically affect their mental state, and by extension, their play.
Why do you think Wade Boggs ate fried chicken before every game? Why do you think Marshawn Lynch ate Skittles? Because they thought it gave them an edge, which put them in the right state of mind. These things don’t actually help them, just like arepas don’t magically make the ball find the barrel of Jesús Aguilar’s bat. But if Aguilar believes they do, they do. Boom. Some sports psych for you.
Welcome back, Jesús
The Marlins can’t hit worth a shit. Jesús Aguilar needs to continue his tear if they hope to have any chance, at least until starters like Brian Anderson and Jazz Chisholm are healthy and back in a groove.
Until then, I suggest he double-up on his arepa consumption. Just to be safe.