Prior to Game 6 of the National League Championship series, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly engaged in a comical, yet tense standoff as neither player retreated back to his respective dugout after the national anthem was sung.
The antics delayed the start of the game and umpire Greg Gibson eventually interjected and threatened to eject the players. A full explanation of why the players stood their ground was never provided, but Van Slyke offered his account to ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
I noticed him standing out there late and I was like, ‘I don’t want him being the last guy out there and showing us up a little bit,’ Van Slyke said. It just went on from there.
Kelly had a superstition of being the final player to step foot in the dugout, which the pitcher believed the Dodgers picked up on, but Van Slyke refuted. The outfielder also recounted the support he received from his Dodger teammates when Gibson got involved:
When the umpire started yelling at us, that’s when it was getting awkward,” Van Slyke said. But then Gonzo and some other guys from the dugout were like, ‘We’ll pay your fines. Just stay out there.’ So, it was fun.
Clayton Kershaw and the the Dodgers became unraveled in what was their final postseason game in 2013 but the debate as to who was the victor in the showdown between Kelly and Van Slyke hasn’t quite been settled. Video footage shows Kelly made the first, half-hearted move towards the dugout while Van Slyke remained in position. Whatever Kelly’s intentions may have been for moving first, Van Slyke believes it was enough for him to be named the victor:
His feet moved first. I got him, Van Slyke said. You can’t deke in a staredown. It’s like blinking in a no-blink contest.
The first opportunity for a rematch will come on June 26 when the Dodgers and Cardinals begin a four-game series at Dodger Stadium.
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