MLB playoffs: The Red Sox and their hip-shaking shimmy celebration, explained

You may have noticed at some point during a Boston Red Sox playoff game that their players have adopted an unusual celebration, wiggling around following big hits (usually doubles).

For those who pay no such attention to things, here's what it looks like from afar:


And here's the close-up, slow-motion view:


Aw, yeah.

While it's arguably as infectious as the New York Yankees' "thumb down" celebration from last season, the origins aren't nearly as interesting. In fact, the Red Sox themselves don't seem to know why they started shimmying and shaking. They can't even agree on who started it, with some pointing toward Andrew Benintendi and others to Mookie Betts.

Here's what Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reported back in September:

"I honestly don't know how it started. I think someone said we needed to change things up because we weren't doing things for extra-base hits," said Holt. "Mookie [Betts] hit a double the other night in that big inning and did it, and I think it reminded all of us . . . Then I hit the triple and did it, then Blake [Swihart] did it, and it became a thing after that."

Speier nailed down the date to the Red Sox' Aug. 29 victory against the Miami Marlins. That's the game in which they scored 11 runs as part of a busy seventh-inning en route to a win. Speier also noted that Benintendi says no hard-and-fast rules exist for the shimmy -- even if, as previously mentioned -- the tendency is to do them after doubles.

So, shimmy story made short: The Red Sox don't know who was behind the shimmy or why they did it. They're going to keep doing it, however, because it's fun and it keeps them loose.

This, folks, has been a public service announcement about ballplayers grooving out. Thank you.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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