It was a cold October night in St Louis, Joe Kelly’s Cardinals were facing the Los Angeles Dodgers in game 6 of the National League Championship Series.
Usually before any game he’s not starting, Joe likes to make it a habit of being the last guy on the field after the National Anthem. On this particular evening, there was a new competition between the lines, and it didn’t include a baseball.
Joe was treating the evening as business as usual when the Anthem finished. Before taking his cap off of his chest and putting it back on his head, someone near the other dugout caught his eye.
Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke was playing Joe’s game — the Anthem was over, but he hadn’t yet moved. Over the next few minutes, the Cardinals took the field for their pre game warm ups, but both Van Slyke and Kelly remained on the field.
The national broadcast team for TBS took notice early,
“Just moments away from the opening pitch, but about 12 minutes and counting into the standoff” said one announcer, “both remaining in their positions from the National Anthem having a major standoff to see who will break first.”
As the telecast went about it’s business giving the TV audience information on the game, the crowd at the stadium started getting more and more behind the on-field shenanigans. As the game drew closer to starting, a Dodgers player came out onto the field to put a helmet on Van Slyke’s head, much to the enjoyment of Dodgers’ dugout.
Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha had completed his warm up pitches as the Dodgers leadoff hitter stepped into the batter’s box. The home plate umpire Greg Gibson had seen enough and stepped out from behind the catcher to motion an “ok, enough! Let’s go!” gesture to both Van Slyke and Kelly.
Kelly, being on the grassline — as where Van Slyke was a step outside of the visitor’s dugout — was much more on the spot. Kelly took a half a step back toward the home dugout, which caused an uproarious reaction in the Dodgers dugout.
Van Slyke turned toward his teammates victorious in his mind.
The Cardinals blew out the Dodgers in a 9-0 shutout, securing the National League title.