Obviously, Ryan Ludwick has a lot on his mind in this shot. But what's foremost in his mind? Fernando Tatis' RBI single falling in front of him? Bobbling Nick Evans' eventual game winning two run double soon afterwards?
Or could it have been the constant heckling from the fans in the right field stands?
Maybe none of the above. But I'm not so sure. Let's just say I've never seen a right fielder run so fast after the third out of every inning.
Okay, okay. So he probably always does that. Tell the truth, I rarely study the post inning speed of opposing right fielders. But Ryan Ludwick being filled with self-doubt about his own abilities upon listening to the gentle advice of the fans in right field (part of the largest crowd in Citi Field history of which I was a part of, I might add) makes for a much better, and much more interesting blog post, so that's how I choose to interpret it. So there.
(I'll say this: If Ludwick blasted one of Frankie's offerings into the left field seats after being heckled all game, I would still be at the park mapping out a cool, dry spot on the Promenade to jump off because that pretty much would have been it. I'd like to think that the heckles played a part in Ludwick not driving one off the Acela Club, but that's just me.)
One thing the fans in right field did prove is that Luis Castillo knows what it takes to play in New York. As the game got started, somebody in the Mo Zone yelled an encouraging word to Luis, who promptly turned around and acknowledged the fan with a quick wave. Now who could blame Castillo if he wants to stay away from fans as much as possible. But there's two ways to handle an incident like Castillo's. And the path that Luis has chosen is the right path. From not ducking interviews to laughing at mock standing ovations for using two hands to thanking a fan for a yelp of encouragement, that's how you handle being an athlete in New York.
(That, by the way, is an observation first brought up by my baseball companion today, who was nice enough to rub off his good Citi Field mojo over my awful new park smell, as I was 0-4 before today. Thank you, kind sir.)
Yeah, I might call Castillo "Gloves of Steel" or "Glove of Gold, Brain of Steel", every once in a while. But if there's a guy that I secretly hope is the one to get the winning hit to clinch a division title, it's Castillo.
Of course, I also secretly hope that he doesn't have an MRI scheduled for Monday. Which reminds me, first 100 fans on Sunday night get free MRI's, so get there early.