“Fun to watch,” Pete Mackanin called Odubel Herrera after Monday night’s uncharacteristic stomping of the Blue Jays; but you know on some level he was just hearing raucous circus music in his head.
Herrera had another great game on Monday night, as he torched a solo shot off R.A. Dickey in the top of the third and drove in three runs on the day with his trademark silent stoicism.
“He needs to knock that off,” says a gathering of neighborhood retirees, and on the air sometimes, an increasingly salty Larry Andersen agrees with them. I think the other day, Herrera hit what was an essentially meaningless single given the state of the game and still pointed into the Phillies dugout as he ran up the line.
But do you know what it’s like you have one of these guys on your team? One of the guys you see in highlights wearing other uniforms who cartwheel down to first and pound their chests when they get there? It makes it look like the team actually wants and plans to win the game. Odubel, you make me want to be a better fan.
Besides, he was in the land of the bat flips. Without Jose Bautista’s contribution to the honored act’s history last fall, baseball wouldn’t have had anything to talk about all winter. Instead, we got to discuss all of our problems with a man reacting emotionally to the moment that will define his legacy. My problem is largely with the bat itself. Where did it go? Has it landed yet? When can I stop thinking every shadow is a wooden sky-spear, plummeting toward my torso?
But through his work, Bautista paved the way for Herrera’s home run bat flip on Monday. You hope that, some day, we get to see how high Herrera’s flips will get in a clinching playoff game, but you’re also sort of scared at the notion. What if he hits an airplane? How will the sport recover?
For now, we can watch as Herrera goes about getting himself on a bunch of hit lists and has to start ducking because a 37-year-old Right-Handed Unwritten Rules Subscriber didn’t like the way he smiled.