Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Nick Castellanos had a big night on Tuesday in Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series against the Miami Marlins, delivering a pair of doubles and driving in what proved to be the game's final run in a 4-1 victory (box score).
Along the way, Castellanos raised eyebrows for a gesture he made following his fourth-inning two-bagger that was, in real time, perceived as him giving his dugout what is commonly described as "the bird." It turns out that Castellanos was instead flashing his ring finger toward his teammates -- as in, to remind them that these games are played with the goal of landing a championship ring.
Here's a look at the gesture in question:
Castellanos, for his part, said that he hadn't planned the celebration, but explained that the pursuit of a championship ring is what the playoffs are all about. He added, as only he is capable of adding: "Of course it was my ring finger, why would I flip off my teammates? I love them."
Herman Melville wrote in Moby Dick that "ignorance is the parent of fear." Now, dearest of reader, there is no reason for ignorance nor country for fear so far as this topic is concerned. For the baseball man most taken by Scoobert Doo has cleared up what digit he lifts and what emotion he feels when he sees his rowdy colleagues from afar. He may be ambitious, true, but he's ambitious in a respectful way. That's more than can be written for most.
The Phillies and Marlins will play Game 2 of their best-of-three series on Wednesday evening. If the Phillies win, they'll advance to take on the Atlanta Braves. The Braves earned the top seed on the NL side of the bracket by winning a majors-best 104 games during the regular season.
It's worth noting that the Phillies also met the Braves in the NL Division Series last October. The Phillies took that best-of-five set in four games, shocking the defending World Series champions en route to a NL pennant of their own.