The Phillies won the first game of their National League Division Series thanks in large part to outfielder Nick Castellanos, who redeemed a lackluster season by showing up when it counted.
If you searched for info about the Phils win over the Braves on social media after the victory, you’d find a lot of posts talking about…Angela Lansbury, the veteran actress best known for “Murder, She Wrote,” whose name was in the news just as the game ended because she died at age 96.
What gives? Serious baseball fans know, but in case you haven’t been wrapped in the MLB recently:
Castellanos has a knack for performing well *exactly* when something somber or momentous occurs.
The phenomenon is uncanny enough that when Queen Elizabeth II died last month, the outfielder’s name immediately trended on Twitter. Turned out he was on the injured list at the time, out with a right oblique strain, so couldn’t have just hit a home run or make a clutch play. But that didn’t stop the memes.
It all started in the summer of 2020, when Castellanos was with the Cincinnati Reds. Veteran broadcaster Thom Brennaman began apologizing for saying a homophobic slur on air earlier in the game, when the outfielder hit a bomb over the left-center-field fence.
“If I have hurt anyone out there, I can’t tell you how much I say from the bottom of my heart I’m so very, very sorry,” Brennaman had started, according to The Ringer, when the bat connected and he dropped right into playcalling: “I pride myself and think of myself as a man of faith, as there’s a drive into deep left field by Castellanos and that’ll be a home run.”
The very next year, Castellanos hit another bomb out of the park — again to deep left field — just as the announcer was eulogizing the World War II veteran dad of one of the opposing team’s equipment managers.
At the end of the 2021 season, Castellanos, who’d won the Silver Slugger Award and played in the All-Star Game, was acquired by the Phillies. And the habit of belting one out of the park at the worst possible time continued. It was Memorial Day, and longtime Philadelphia broadcaster Tom McCarthy was finishing up a tribute to veterans as Castellanos crushed a ball over the left field fence.
Up till the playoffs, that was possibly the 30-year-old native Floridian’s brightest moment with the Phillies so far.
Fans were calling for his head in July after he snapped at NBC reporter Jim Salisbury’s question about boos from the Citizens Bank Park crowd. In Philadelphia, when the home team isn’t doing well, we let them hear it — and Salisbury wanted to know how the newcomer felt, asking if he’d heard them. “Naw man, I lost my hearing,” Castellanos retorted, adding, “It’s a stupid question.”
His season continued to be lackluster, until now.
In the Game 1 of the NLDS against Atlanta, Castellanos knocked in three runs to help the 7-6 final score. Even more importantly, he came up with a clutch catch for the second out in a 9th inning of a game that was threatening to stretch on.
His flop after the catch said it all.
And sometime during Castellanos’ hot game, as predicted, Angela Lansbury died. RIP. Go Phils.