Many hitters savor the trip around the bases after crushing a home run by trotting at a slower pace.
But Maryland baseball’s hitters are different. They can’t wait to get back to the dugout — that’s where the fun begins.
The slugger that hits the ball out gets to wear the homer prop. For the Terps, that’s either a baseball cap with the brim removed or a red Big Hat. The player then shows off his best dance moves down a line of teammates surrounding him.
Maryland has adopted unique celebrations — one for home runs and one for doubles and triples — that involve the entire team. While each celebration has its own origin story, they all share the same purpose: keeping the energy high over the peaks and valleys of a 56-game regular season.
“It just eases up the mood,” Luke Shliger said. “The game gets stressful, the ball might not bounce our way one day and someone hits a big double, the whole celebration gets the dugout going and maybe that’s just the spark we need.”
Maryland players sat in the locker room waiting for practice to start in the early weeks of the 2022 season. In the midst of a stellar start to the year, the Terps were brainstorming a home run celebration they could call their own. No one had a solution.
They admired Virginia Tech, who uses a sledgehammer as a prop after long balls. A Hokie from the dugout tosses it to the home run hitter, who then piles it into the ground.
Maryland, lacking a sledgehammer, wanted its own version.
Shliger had an idea. He remembered a meme video of a man sporting a New York Yankees cap that, as a man in the video notably said, had “no brim.” So Shliger grabbed scissors and the first Maryland hat he could reach and got to work.
The hat became a staple in the Terps’ dugout the rest of the season, and it’s gotten plenty of use. They set a program record with 137 home runs last season.
They upgraded to a digital camouflage Maryland hat for 2023. The Big Hat, which reads “BOOM” across the front, was also recently added to the collection.
Both are getting even more wear this year than last. The Terps have 83 homers through 41 games this season, up from 72 through the same number of contests in 2022. The playful idea has turned into an ever-present part of the Terps’ recent success.
“Our whole locker room loved it,” Shliger said. “That’s what I think motivated us to hit so many home runs last year.”
When Maryland hitters have to settle for a double or triple, they commemorate the accomplishment in a different way.
Hitters get to their feet after sliding into second or third base and begin the “wraparound”. They turn to the dugout, make a motion of twisting something around their head and cap it off by chugging a drink.
The meaning behind the move remains a secret to those not in the Maryland locker room, but it is known to be a creation of former Terp Chris Alleyne.
“He was a big wraparound guy,” Shliger said. “We were kinda scrambling … trying to find a celebration and someone just brought up Bubba doing a wraparound last year.”
Maintaining the move after Alleyne’s departure is how the current Terps pay homage to one of the program’s best players in recent years. The outfielder was last season’s Big Ten Player of the Year and finished his five-year career fifth in triples and sixth in doubles in Maryland history. Using the move popularized by a player of that caliber seems fitting.
Alleyne wore the coveted No. 3 jersey in his final season, given to the team’s captain. His photo still resides on the centerfield wall at Bob Smith Stadium. And by continuing a celebration he founded, his impact lives on.
“He was a program changer,” Nick Lorusso said. “His impact on us, the returners from last year, is allowing us to rub off on some of the newer guys so they can get that taste of what winning’s like.”