If you've been a baseball fan for any significant length of time, you probably noticed that some players like Freddy Garcia and Dustin Pedroia were wearing these special necklaces on the field. Those necklaces are produced by a Japanese company named Phiten, and they promise to "relieve fatigue" and improve performance by using aqua-titanium to correct an ion imbalance within the body. Naturally, they're not approved by the FDA because there's no evidence that they do anything, but players seem to like them, so, whatever.
Fast forward to the 2010 playoffs. Suddenly, we aren't just seeing guys wearing the standard Phiten necklaces. Now we're seeing something fancier.
That's Elvis Andrus wearing not one Phiten necklace, but two Phiten necklaces, wrapped around one another to form some kind of accessorizing pseudoscientific amalgamation. What's going on here?
Andrus is wearing what's known as a Tornado necklace - two necklaces in one. And it doesn't stop there. There's also such thing as a triple necklace, which is exactly what it sounds like. I don't know why the triple necklace doesn't also have some bitchin nickname like the Cerberus or something, but this is brand new territory we're dealing with.
So the big question is: do these things work? To answer that, here's C.J. Wilson getting his ass beat in New York while wearing a triple necklace (and another necklace too because why not).
And here's Josh Hamilton having the ALCS of a lifetime with a completely naked neck.
It isn't surprising to me that this Phiten stuff has caught on in baseball, because baseball players are always looking for any little edge they can get. Consider how superstitious so many of them are. Baseball players will believe in anything that promises to make them a little better.
What's surprising to me is that the double- and triple-necklaces have caught on. Baseball has had a lot of good things in its day, but players have historically been resistant to efforts to expand and multiply in size or quantity. These new and improved Phiten necklaces therefore stand as an exception. Some previous failed attempts towards enhancement are listed below.
What seemed like a bright idea to increase the size of the baseball bat to allow for more consistent contact was called off in March 2006 when David Eckstein attempted a swing and ended up pinned underneath his bat for three hours.
Initially enthusiastic about the promise of being able to turn more plays into outs in the field, the double glove lost favor among players when they realized that wearing a glove on each hand does far more harm than good.
This effort to speed up the pace of the game was met with intense widespread resistance, as players insisted it didn't make sense for one at bat to lead to more than one out. "There's only one guy hitting."
The Blue Jays' experimentation with conjoined twins wound up causing too much of a roster management headache, and the project was scrapped.