During the MLB postseason, it's often fun to see what sorts of celebratory expressions players will make to their teammates after a big play. But Phillies slugger Nick Castellanos raised eyebrows with his gesture toward the home dugout during Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series.
In the fourth inning, Castellanos doubled off Marlins pitcher Jesús Luzardo. As the outfielder stood on second base, he raised a finger on his right hand and directed it to his teammates. To most observers, it appeared that Castellanos was making an obscene gesture. Even fellow Phillies thought they were being flipped off.
Kyle Schwarber said when he saw Castellanos hold up a finger he was like “is he flipping us off?” Then he watched the replay back and counted the fingers to confirm it was actually the ring finger.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) October 4, 2023
Castellanos: “That [a ring] is why we’re playing this month.”
Nick Castellanos didn't flip anyone off tonight, but his teammates were confused for a moment.— Alex Coffey (@byalexcoffey) October 4, 2023
After the double, Garrett Stubbs picked up an iPad in the dugout, played it back in slow motion, and counted Castellanos' fingers.
"Oh, that’s his ring finger" https://t.co/6ArX7rtdqd pic.twitter.com/O3Bt5Sa6gR
But upon further review, a closer look revealed that Castellanos was extending his ring finger, not his middle digit. During a postgame interview, he had an entertaining response to the idea that he was flipping the bird.
“Of course it was my ring finger, man,” he said. "Why would I give the middle finger to my teammates? I love 'em.”
We now have clarification 🤣 pic.twitter.com/i0XORdbohD— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) October 4, 2023
In another postgame chat, Castellanos explained that the gesture came to him in the moment and was intended to show that the Phillies are playing for a championship ring.
“It’s just something that came out. Honestly, like I didn’t think about it,” he said. “That’s why we’re here. That’s what this game’s about, right? This journey is to get that ring.”
Nick Castellanos explains the "ring finger" celebration! 💍 pic.twitter.com/xVvN2vq0Gy— MLB (@MLB) October 4, 2023
If the ring finger gesture catches on, Philadelphia residents and baseball fans watching throughout the country could be confused during the next month. Hey, is that guy flipping me off? This may need some work. Maybe a “ring on/ring off” is a better way to convey what the prize is in October.
The Phillies and Marlins play Game 2 of their wild-card series on Wednesday night at 8:08 p.m. ET, televised on ESPN.