Cincinnati’s Nick Castellanos has arguably been the Reds’ best hitter this season. He leads the team in batting average, OPS, RBI, and WAR. He’s hit some timely home runs. He’s 22 for 73 (.301) with runners in scoring position. He’s been a phenomenal ballplayer for the Reds ever since he first set foot in the Great American Ballpark.
However, Castellanos is a nightmare for play-by-play and color commentators trying to have a serious moment. Whenever something heart-wrenching or apologetic needs to be said, you better make sure Castellanos isn’t up to bat. Otherwise, the entire moment will likely be ruined.
First, it was Thom Brennaman, the former Fox Sports Ohio broadcaster who resigned after being suspended for using a homophobic slur on hot mic during the first game of a double-header against the Kansas City Royals. Brennaman attempted to apologize for his actions during the fifth inning. Castellanos was leading off for the Reds. Only two pitches were thrown before Castellanos launched his ninth home run of the 2020 season into the empty left-field seats. Brennaman’s apology was nothing spectacular prior to the solo shot, but it wasn’t terrible. He’d managed to say he was ashamed and regretful if he’d hurt anyone listening — you know, your average run-of-the-mill “non-apology” in a bid to save face. However, the apology became a meme after the Castellanos home run. Even at the most pivotal junction of Brennaman’s career, he couldn’t help but announce the home run.
Almost a year later, Castellanos struck once more, and once again... it was against the Royals, as the team’s broadcasters were attempting to eulogize George Gorman, a former member of the U.S. Air Force who’d served during World War II. During that time, Gorman was awarded two Air Medals, five Battle Stars, and the French Legion of Honor Medal. Gorman’s son, Pat Gorman, has been working with the Royals for 26 years. So this was a pretty heavy loss for the Royals family. Unfortunately, as the Royals broadcasters attempted to honor the deceased Gorman, Castellanos was at the plate, itching for a game-tying shot.
Even the broadcasters didn’t know what to do. “There’s never a good time to eulogize someone during the broadcast, and we apologize for the timing.”
It makes you wonder. What other home runs has Castellanos hit with atrocious timing? Funny you should ask. Castellanos’s first professional home run (as a Minor Leaguer with the West Michigan Whitecaps) came on the exact date Osama bin Laden was killed: May 1, 2011.
Castellanos will be representing the National League in the All-Star Game as a starting outfielder. This is Castellanos’s first All-Star appearance. So, let this be a warning to all broadcasters covering the MLB All-Star Game: When Castellanos is up to bat, don’t try to talk about anything serious. Wait until Posey or Winker or even Tatís comes up to bat. You’ll be much safer with them.