A fan near home plate lustily shouted a two-syllable word twice during Sunday’s Marlins-Rockies game, loud enough for the microphones to catch it on certain broadcasts. Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson, who is black, was at bat at the time, and the shout bore some resemblance to the n-word, so the Rockies announced an investigation into the matter. Meanwhile, fans undertook their own Zapruder-style analysis, and an alternate theory emerged: What if the fan was not being racist toward Brinson, but was in fact beckoning to Dinger, the Rockies’ triceratops mascot doofing around some short distance away?
Here’s a video from Steve Staeger of Denver’s 9News; stick around for the third angle, which crucially includes half of Dinger’s head.
This turned out to be the team’s conclusion. Today the Rockies determined that no slur was uttered, after “a thorough investigation that included calls, emails and video clips from concerned fans, media and broadcast partners.” They worked with local broadcaster AT&T Sportsnet to determine the location of the microphone in question, according to Staeger, who also said no one on the field, including Brinson, had heard anything offensive.
Staeger spoke with the shouter and reported that the man was trying to get the mascot to come pose with his wife and grandchildren for a photo, adding that the man did not want his identity revealed and was devastated to have been misheard this way. The initial caution was understandable, given the kind of filth occasionally hurled at athletes mid-competition, but now that the details are reasonably clear, it can be recognized for what it is: a classic case of a loud grandpa who summons the triceratops by saying “Dinger” with “a hard G.”