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Please Pay Attention To Nick Castellanos

Nick Castellanos #8 of the Philadelphia Phillies smiles during his postgame interview, wearing both a headset and giant sunglasses
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Listen, I know there are playoff basketball games and playoff hockey games happening. So I guess it's completely understandable that you weren't watching the Philadelphia Phillies play the Houston Astros on Friday evening, in a game broadcast on Apple TV+. But as Defector's No. 1 Nick Castellanos Correspondent, I need you to pay attention now.

Before we get into what happened on Friday, there are two things to know. The first is that Castellanos has begun wearing his jersey unbuttoned. This makes him better, somehow. More data is needed on this. (Or not. This feels more like a vibe measurement to me.) The second is that... hmm... how do I say this?... it is usually best to not pay attention to Castellanos's work in the outfield. But something has happened recently. Perhaps the jersey unbuttoning has blessed him.

It's not that Castellanos is a bad right fielder. It's just that he's an easily distracted guy! How can he be expected to focus for 162 games when he has a wife and a baby he could daydream about? This isn't my opinion! He admitted this!

"I think that, a lot of times, I have trouble keeping attention during the regular season, every day, nine innings. But with the postseason, this kind of baseball is incredible,” Castellanos said at a press conference during the 2022 World Series. “You don’t have a choice but to just be locked in, watching swings, watching the balls come off the bat, and I think that’s why I’m playing better.”

A Sports Illustrated article also rudely noted that Castellanos was second-worst in the outfield in the league, behind only Juan Soto on the Padres. This year, according to Baseball Savant, he is exactly average. And that is the context you need to understand what happened on Friday.

The game was tied 1-1. It was the bottom of the first inning in Houston, with two outs, and Alex Bregman was at bat.

As it is April and Castellanos famously cannot pay attention during the regular season, it is only reasonable for your heart to drop when you see how fast Bregman got the bat through the zone, how solid the contact was, and how the ball rose from the minute it made contact.

Castellanos jogged toward the warning track, and he was not running fast enough. The ball appeared to be going out, with Castellanos still several feet from the wall. He launched himself anyway, stretched out his body like a cat, and punched his glove above the yellow home run line. His shoulder hit the wall inelegantly, and then he slumped down.

He looked so sad. His head hung, and his glove flopped over. Above him, Astros fans screamed with delight. They taunted him. Poor Nick!

Castellanos pushed himself up and lumbered away from the wall. But then, wait! He began to trot! He smiled. His right hand dipped into his glove and what's that?

It's the freakin' baseball!!!!! He caught the ball!

What a sneaky little guy! You must pay attention to him and his schemes. Who knows what he will do next. Certainly, not me.

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