Cardinals Manager Mike Shildt Stops Game So Everyone Can Watch Nick Castellanos Embarrass Him
2:23 PM EDT on September 2, 2021
The dregs of Hurricane Ida rolled over the northeast Wednesday night, dumping a really genuinely alarming and historic volume of rain and leaving behind shocking, impossible-seeming high-water marks. We are used to freshly accelerated storms causing catastrophic damage wherever they make landfall, but Ida stopped being a hurricane Monday afternoon, and stopped even being a tropical depression Wednesday afternoon, before unleashing total hell across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. This is downright biblical shit, from a storm that had been weakening over land for three damn days.
In possibly related news, Reds slugger and bell tolling for thee Nick Castellanos socked a pair of mighty dingers in a doubleheader against the vile St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday evening. Both shots came in the second leg, and in fact both came before the end of the second inning of that second leg. J.A. Happ threw Castellanos a crappy get-me-over 0-1 curve in the first inning and Castellanos reached out and socked it out to left to put the Reds up 2-1. Castellanos came up again with the bases loaded in the second inning—it was a real shitty outing for Happ, who gave up seven earned runs on 57 pitches and recorded just three outs—and crushed a high fastball over the wall in left-center for a grand slam.
This is where things got funny. The bat Castellanos brought to the plate for his two home runs had a big chunk missing from the very end of the barrel, no doubt the consequence of being at the action end of so many huge dingers. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt felt there was something fishy about how "the bat was ran out of there so quickly" by the bat boy after the grand slam, and he "didn't want the bat to get gone," so he summoned the umpires for an inspection. What followed was a huddle among the umpires and Castellanos, and a close look at the offending lumber:
Umpire crew chief Phil Cuzzi ultimately decided that Castellanos's bat would be disqualified from further use, but not because a broken bat conveys any sort of competitive advantage. Rather, he was concerned that the wrong kind of contact on a swing might cause the already compromised bat to splinter. Baseball fans will note that bats splinter all the time, but whatever:
"It’s really just more of a dangerous thing because ... if he gets a ball off the end of the bat, it could shatter and who knows?" Cuzzi told a pool reporter afterward. "It goes in somebody’s eyes, in somebody’s face. It was more of a safety thing, but it had nothing to do with the home run. The home run was never in question about not counting it."Cincinnati Enquirer
It's a least a little bit rich for Shildt, who was so opposed to the idea of umpires performing improvised equipment inspections when it came to his relief pitcher's gunk-slicked cap back in May, to call upon the umpires to make a ruling about the gouged bat of a guy who just owned his starter all the way to hell. Castellanos noted after the game that he'd used the same bat through the whole series, and that no one had had any issues with it when he was dinking his way to a pair of lousy singles across the first two games, both Reds losses.
Shildt was extremely not mad after the game, telling Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer, "The guy hit a homer with a chipped bat, so good for him." If nothing else, calling for the umpires when a guy uses a broken bat to smack two dingers off your starting pitcher is a great way to make sure the whole world knows a guy used a broken bat to smack two dingers off your starting pitcher. Good work, everyone.
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