USATSI

Let’s get right to it and set the scene: The Dodgers have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five NLDS. A Dodgers win in Game 2 makes the uphill climb for the Padres likely too steep. The Dodgers had a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh inning with a runner on base and two outs for Fernando Tatis. The kid damn near came through with a clutch playoff homer. The only problem was the incredibly athletic Cody Bellinger was playing center field.

That ended the inning in a big way. Take a look at MLB’s Catch of the Year front-runner:

Take note that reliever Brusdar Graterol had just taken over for fellow Dodgers reliever Blake Treinen. That was the first batter he faced in the game and he allowed a 413-foot shot to center (per Statcast, which also had it at 105-mph off the bat) that is a home run in many other ballparks. He was totally bailed out by the excellent play from Bellinger. Graterol then proceeded to throw his hat and glove off the mound and point to the stands(?) in celebration. 

The move, and possibly the rest of the Dodgers rallying around the celebration, seemed to anger Manny Machado, who was on deck. Machado could be seen saying, “I’m gonna wait for you,” while pointing, presumably, to Graterol. The Dodgers’ dugout, in turn, could be seen yelling back with Max Muncy caught on camera yelling to get back to the dugout. 

There’s bound to be argument here. These are two teams that don’t seem particularly fond of one another and that’s fun, especially in the playoffs. The Padres this season have become known for their flair. If they can go with the theatrics on big home runs, why can’t the other team celebrate in the same fashion? By similar logic, Graterol just acted like he won the World Series while he actually should have given up the go-ahead run to the Padres. Maybe reserve that one for a big strikeout? 

Honestly, though, who cares? It’s great theater. Let the two teams hate each other while making stellar plays and entertaining us. 

Tatis and Bellinger on a single play did just that. 

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