The hometown broadcast opened the seventh inning of Monday night’s Reds-Royals game with a pre-planned tribute to a man named George Gorman, who died on July 3 at the age of 96. Gorman was the father of Pat Gorman, longtime minor-league pitcher and now a longstanding employee of the Kansas City Royals organization. Under normal circumstances, devoting 45 post-commercial seconds to eulogizing the parent of a colleague would be a safe bet, but the broadcasters failed to notice who was coming to the plate.
Reds slugger Nick Castellanos, of “there’s a drive into deep left field by Castellanos” fame, took a huge hack at the first pitch from Mike Minor and crushed the ball into the stands in left-center. His timing could not have been better, or worse: Broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre*, forced to acknowledge the action on the field, was so caught off guard by the awkwardness of the moment that he found himself apologizing to viewers … for the game having produced a home run.
This is getting spooky! It was Castellanos who famously interrupted disgraced Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman with a home run to left-center as Brenneman apologized for using a homophobic slur on a live broadcast this past August. The timing was impeccable—”I think of myself as a man of faith, as there’s a drive into deep left field by Castellanos, it will be a home run”—and created an instant-classic meme from one of the most memorable baseball calls in decades. Baseball games feature a lot of downtime, and a lot of that downtime gets filled with conversational tangents and random trivia, so you can see why a broadcaster might be seduced into thinking he can steal a few seconds for a more serious, somber topic. This works most of the time, but only a fool would try to slide one of these across with Castellanos anywhere near the plate.
Castellanos is apparently fully aware of his impeccable and/or terrible timing, according to his mom Michelle. Of course, that’s assuming it’s accidental. As noted by Connor Newcomb of Johns Hopkins Athletics, Castellanos’s history of dingering during deadly serious moments stretches back to the very beginning of his career: His first ever professional home run, socked in a minor-league game way back in 2011, came on the very day that President Barack Obama announced in a nationally televised address that Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan. Castellanos was early by several hours, but if anything this only reinforces that he has some sort of acute ability to sense these moments coming and time his dongs accordingly.
If one day I die tragically of one of the bad shitting diseases, or am suddenly run over by a car, or—God willing—am lifted by my ankles by a large man and hammer-thrown into a raging tokamak, do not under any circumstances attempt to read my eulogy on air during a Nick Castellanos at-bat. To be safe, don’t even schedule the funeral for a day when Castellanos is due to play. I don’t know how, but he knows. He always knows.