If you are a baseball fan, you will be surprised to know the fact that baseball players eat sunflower seeds during the game. Does it sound strange??
Let’s dig out and discover why baseball players eat sunflower seeds.
Baseball is an amazing sport that needs patience, focus & concentration to win. However, the game is slow-paced, so the players often get bored and lose their concentration during long periods of waiting between plays. In addition, the slow-paced game involves a great deal of strategy and decision-making, both on the part of individual players and the team as a whole. Players need to stay conscious during the play, being aware of the game situation, which includes the scores, the number of outs, the base runners, and the pitch count, in order to make informed decisions about how to approach each play.
Furthermore, baseball is a sport where winning depends upon small margins. A single error, mental mistake, or missed opportunity can make you lose the opportunity and the game eventually. Therefore, players need to be focused and mentally present in the situation to perform at their best.
So, those were the reasons why baseball requires a greater span of attention and focus than other sports. Here, Sunflower seeds serve to be the best snacks during the play.
What is a sunflower seed?
Sunflower seeds are the small edible seeds of the sunflower plant (Helianthus annuus). The seeds look flat and oval-shaped and have a black or grayish outer shell and a white or pale yellow kernel inside that the people eat. There are several different types of sunflower, so the seeds from different species may have slightly different tastes and shapes, but all types of seeds are edible.
The seeds are commonly eaten as a snack. Some people like to roast them, or some eat them raw. They can also be used in cooking and baking and are often used to add flavor and texture to salads, granolas, bread, and different other dishes. Moreover, Sunflower seeds are also a popular ingredient in birdseed and animal feed. Sunflower seeds are a good source of nutrients, including protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Why did Players start eating Sunflower Seeds?
The practice of eating sunflower seeds during baseball games has been going on for a long time, but the question is, how and where did this trend start?
It all started in America, where local people used to consume them for thousands of years. However, In America, it gained popularity among baseball players in the 20th century. Players used to chew tobacco to keep themselves active and relieve stress, but excessive consumption of tobacco is harmful to the body so they started consuming sunflower seeds instead of consuming tobacco. Sunflower seeds provide them the same comfort and relief the addiction without any negative health effects. So, over time, the habit of eating and spitting sunflower seeds became the trend in baseball games. You will often see players and coaches chewing and spitting them to relax their minds. The seeds can be eaten by cracking the shells open with one’s teeth and spitting out the shells or by buying the seed kernels without the shell. They are typically sold salted or unsalted, roasted or raw, and in a variety of flavors.
Why Do Baseball Players eat Sunflower Seeds?
- To stay focused and occupied during long periods, baseball players eat sunflower seeds. The act of cracking open and eating the seeds can serve as a distraction from the pressure of the game and can help players stay alert and engaged.
- Sunflower seeds boost the energy level of the players instantly. The easy to carry, so the players can keep them in their pockets to eat whenever they feel hungry.
- They are also a good source of protein and healthy fats, which can help players maintain their energy levels throughout the game.
- Chewing on sunflower seeds can also help players stay hydrated by promoting the production of saliva, which can help prevent dry mouth and throat. This can be particularly helpful in games played in hot, humid, and dry weather.
- Players often feel anxious and stressed during the game. Chewing the sunflower seeds also relieves anxiety & stress in the players.
- Baseball is played on dry dirt fields where the players run to play the game. The dirt is a mix of silt, clay, and sand that get into the eyes and nose causing discomfort. So, players chew sunflower seeds to prevent bad taste and uneasiness.
- Sunflower seeds are quite affordable, and they contain a bundle of nutrients that are good for the human body. The nutrients include Calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron & protein.
What type of Seeds do MLB Players eat?
Baseball players typically eat roasted and salted sunflower seeds. The most common type of sunflower seeds consumed by baseball players is the in-shell variety, where the player cracks open the shell with their teeth, eats the kernel inside, and spits out the shell.
There are also shelled sunflower seeds available, where the shells have been removed, but these are less common among baseball players as they do not provide the same oral fixation and spitting action that in-shell seeds do.
Roasted and salted sunflower seeds are a popular choice among MLB players because they are a convenient, low-calorie snack that provides energy and helps keep players alert during long games. Some players may prefer flavored sunflower seeds, such as ranch or barbecue, but roasted and salted seeds are the most widely consumed.
Is chewing Sunflower seeds banned in Baseball games?
No, chewing sunflower seeds is not banned in baseball games. In fact, it is a common practice among baseball players and is considered a harmless and acceptable habit. It has no harmful effects like tobacco which players used to chew during the game before the trend of chewing sunflower seeds arrived. However, some baseball stadiums have banned the spitting of sunflower seed shells on the field or in the dugout due to hygiene and safety concerns. Players are typically expected to dispose of their seed shells in a trash bin or designated containers.
However, MLB banned chewing during Covid-19. This rule was imposed on players to prevent them from spitting, which may have become the reason for the outbreak, so chewing sunflower seeds was also prohibited during that period. That rule is not applicable anymore.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do baseball players swallow sunflower seeds?
While some baseball players may accidentally swallow a sunflower seed or two, the norm is to crack the shell open with their teeth, eat the kernel inside, and spit out the shell. Swallowing a large quantity of sunflower seed shells could potentially cause digestive issues, as the shells are indigestible and can cause blockages in the digestive tract. However, the kernels themselves are safe to eat and are a good source of nutrition
What are the side effects of sunflower seeds?
Excessive consumption of anything can be dangerous for the human body. The sunflower seeds are not harmful, but their excessive consumption can cause nausea, stomach ache & constipation. Some people have allergies to them, so they may encounter vomiting, skin rashes, swelling, itching & breathing issues. Moreover, the seeds are rich in calories, so you may gain weight if you consume them excessively.
What foods do baseball players chew other than sunflower seeds?
Baseball players have been known to chew on a variety of foods and substances other than sunflower seeds. Some common alternatives include:
- Bubble gum – This is a popular option for players who want to keep their mouths occupied without consuming calories.
- Chewing tobacco – Although less common now due to health concerns, some players still chew tobacco as a substitute for sunflower seeds.
- Gum with caffeine or other stimulants – Some players prefer gum that contains caffeine or other ingredients to help increase alertness and focus.
- Beef jerky – This protein-rich snack is a favorite among some baseball players.
- Pumpkin seeds – Similar to sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds provide a similar oral fixation and the act of spitting.
- Licorice – Some players chew on licorice or other candy for a sweet fix.
- Mints – Some players prefer to chew on mints or other breath fresheners
It’s important to note that some of these alternatives may not be allowed in certain leagues or stadiums, so players should check the rules before bringing them to games.
Are Sunflower seeds healthy?
Yes, Sunflower seeds are healthy. They are rich in vitamins and minerals that are good for the human body. The nutrients include Calcium, magnesium, potassium, fats, fibers, etc. The seeds boost energy instantly and keep the players active during long games.
So, we conclude that, overall, sunflower seeds are a great source of nutrients and a stress reliever during a long baseball game. The practice keeps the players mentally and physically active.