It was sometime during the 2012 season when Alcides Escobar of the Kansas City Royals grabbed a bottle from his locker and sprayed some of its contents onto Salvador Pérez. Caught off guard, Pérez warned his fellow Venezuelan and close friend not to mess with him, punctuating his emotion with some colorful language in Spanish.
Hours later, though, Pérez was far from bothered. He collected four hits that day and smelled great in the process. The mysterious substance in the bottle, from his point of view, had become a performance-enhancer: women’s perfume.
“From then on, I bought all the Victoria’s Secret there was,” Pérez recalled recently in Spanish.
Baseball is full of traditions, superstitions and quirks. But few are as amusing or as aromatic as the one Pérez, Escobar and countless other players — many of them from Latin America — engage in on a daily basis: dousing themselves in cologne or perfume before stepping onto the field.
“When people go to work — man or woman — they get ready and dress up,” said Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who is from Cuba. “I see it like that: This is my job and I like to look good, and I like to smell good, too.”