The Tribe’s low-five and high-five: an oral history

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If you’ve been to a Tribe game or watched one on TV this season, surely you’ve noticed two unique rituals that occur occasionally during the game and always after victories: the low-five and high-five.

If you follow Tribe President Mark Shapiro on Twitter, you’ve seen a lot of photos after wins showing these rituals. If you don’t, check out the slideshow above. Those great photos, by Tribe photographers Dan Mendlik and Kyle Emery, got us thinking: How the heck did these things get started?

These are their stories. (Cue “Law and Order” noise.)

The low five

Up to July 22, when Nick Swisher most often hit in the cleanup spot in the Tribe order, Swisher was the one congratulating new buddy Jason Kipnis after Kipnis homered or otherwise scored while Swisher was in the on-deck circle. In case you forgot, Kipnis was red-hot for much of the first half, including June, when he was the AL Player of the Month on his way to an All-Star Game appearance.

Which means there were many low-fives given.

When Swisher was moved to the No. 2 spot in the order, roles were reversed: Kipnis waited for Swish in the on-deck circle – if you haven’t noticed, Swish has heated up in September, thus the commencement of many more low-fives.

“I’ll give Swish credit for coming up with the low five,” Kipnis said.

Said Swisher: “It’s just something he and I came up with to celebrate our success.”

The high five

This one has a little controversy surrounding it. Swisher didn’t necessarily claim invention of the high-five, but he hinted at it.

The high-five occurs in the post-game victory handshake line, as you can see from the photos in the slideshow above. Swisher and Mike Aviles, most often, are seen jumping – often with crazed, maniacal looks on their faces – to high-five Zach McAllister.

And while Kipnis was willing to give Swish credit for the low-five, he offered the proper back story on the high one.

“I started doing the high five as a way of getting back at ZMac and Justin Masterson,” Kipnis said. “They used to think it was funny to stand on either side of me during the National Anthem. (Kipnis is 5-11, McAllister 6-6 and Masterson 6-6.) Don’t let Swisher take credit for the high five.”

Swisher has a simpler reason: “We do it because (McAllister) is so (gosh darn) tall!”

–TribeVibe contributor Joel Hammond; photos by Dan Mendlik and Kyle Emery

1 Comment

I LOVE those high fives…probably because I’m 4’11″ and can’t even aspire to leaping that high! And Aviles is on springs, I tell you!!

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