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Heyward's celebration tug a growing ritual

Heyward's celebration tug a growing ritual

Heyward's celebration tug a growing ritual

ATLANTA -- Braves fans have grown accustomed to seeing Freddie Freeman hug teammates before games and after key moments in games. But many of these fans are still getting used to the new collar-tugging ritual started by Jason Heyward.

When in the field at the end of a victory, the Braves' outfielders converge in center field and simultaneously jump while grabbing the back collar of their jerseys. Heyward has also brought the tradition to the dugout, where he occasionally raises the back of a teammate's jersey after they hit a home run.

But Heyward has also performed this ritual after seeing something goofy, like the Upton brothers colliding in left-center field during the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Mets. Once he saw both were not hurt, Heyward marked the occasion by tugging at the back of his own jersey.

"It's just like Freddie's hugs, it's just goofy," said Heyward, who actually began this ritual during his high school playing days. "We just have fun with it."

Brian McCann actually helped fuel this tradition by laughing whenever he saw Heyward grabbing the back of a teammate's jersey over the course of the past couple seasons.

"Whenever I hit a homer, BMac will start doing it to me," Heyward said. "He said, 'Whenever I hit a homer, you've got to lift me up.' So I do it to him. It's just fun. There's nothing more to it. We see people all around the game do whatever. There's nothing more to it. We're just having fun."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Eric Single is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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