Sean Burnett has made the most of his oppurtunities since the Nationals traded Matt Capps at the end of July, becoming one of the best relievers in baseball over that stretch of time. But it's the work he does in the bullpen before he gets onto the mound that is particularly noteworthy.â†µ
According to Ben Goessling, every Sunday the Nationals relievers take turns shining each others cleats during the first inning of the game. But eventually the other relievers started noticing a patternâ†µ
When Burnett shined his teammates' shoes, the Nationals realized, they won more often than not. In fact, they had their best record when Burnett was the one doing the shoe-shining. So it's become the left-hander's job to bring out the rags and the polish most weeks.â†µ
At least this baseball superstition results in some fresh looking cleats.