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Hands Across the Dugout
April 8, 2009 11:36 AM   Subscribe

New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana has an individual handshake ritual for every player on his team.
posted by SpiffyRob (40 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I respect the commitment, and find it sort of awesome, but also wonder if he couldn't have a more constructive hobby.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:49 AM on April 8, 2009


What a tremendous athlete!
posted by mudpuppie at 11:50 AM on April 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


A Twins fan, I have enormous respect for Johan and wish he were still here in Funkytown.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:56 AM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Santana Teammate: Oh crap, here comes Johan again. *gets into position for "hilarious" handshake*
posted by DU at 11:59 AM on April 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I love baseball.
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:00 PM on April 8, 2009


Robot dance FTW!

Seriously, that's awesome. It's one of those things that doesn't do anything bad, and just may add a little something nice to the energy in the world.
posted by yiftach at 12:03 PM on April 8, 2009


No surprise here - he also has a change up for every batter in the league.
posted by vito90 at 12:05 PM on April 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


If the Mets go under .500 everyone gets a quick rabbit punch to the gut along with a much less enthusiastic styled handshake.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:05 PM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know that this is altogether uncommon -- I've observed a fairly wide variation of greetings between individual players at my local NBA franchise. Mikki Moore seemed to be the biggest differentiated greeter in modern times, having a stylized move for nearly everyone, but there have been a fair number of other players with different stylizations for individual players. I figured some of those had to hearken back to previous team traditions.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:07 PM on April 8, 2009


I see that sports writing is in no better shape than science or political reporting.

...Jose Reyes caught some heat for some ill-advised terrorist fist bumping two years ago...

Wha? *follows link* ERROR: NO EXPLANATION FOUND. Although it sounds like he was just told it was distracting or something?
posted by DU at 12:08 PM on April 8, 2009


You gotta love the first comment, by the guy with the Chase Utley avatar (way to represent!): "It's just one big Rock, Paper, Scissors game to determine who's going to blow his next start. "
posted by VicNebulous at 12:10 PM on April 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


I wonder if there is someone on the team he doesn't have a handshake for. I bet that person would feel really sad.
posted by Falconetti at 12:12 PM on April 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


While we were watching this on Monday, it really seemed to go on forever. We were pulled from our conversation after a few handshakes to gape and wonder how many more there would be.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:13 PM on April 8, 2009


but also wonder if he couldn't have a more constructive hobby.

Like the one he gets paid $17,000,000 a year for?

If that was the point of your joke, CONSIDER IT EXPLAINED.
posted by pokermonk at 12:18 PM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


162 games really may be a few too many.
posted by Adam_S at 12:20 PM on April 8, 2009


I respect the commitment, and find it sort of awesome, but also wonder if he couldn't have a more constructive hobby.

He's a professional athlete. His entire career is a hobby.
posted by dersins at 12:20 PM on April 8, 2009


Unspeakably great.
posted by penduluum at 12:27 PM on April 8, 2009


dersins, meet pokermonk.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:28 PM on April 8, 2009


I don't know that this is altogether uncommon.

Agreed. I think it exists to some extent on every team in every sport, pro and amateur alike. Hell, it would take hours to highlight all of the Cowboy Up! era Red Sox handshakes.

Ideally, I would have padded this out, but there really wasn't much else in the way of videos. A few college guys showing off, and some scattered short clips, but largely, all else that was out there were articles such as this one describing the Cavs pregame rituals. Interesting as it is, reading about handshakes is like reading about dance.

As far as actual baseball is concerned, I don't think it unreasonable at all to suspect the Mets will have a season for the ages. They've had most of the pieces in place for a few years now, but now that they have, arguably, two of the game's top five closers in their bullpen, the one area that was chronically awful for them recently, I have no reason to think they aren't capable of winning it all.

And finally, I wish I could have found this video anywhere else but Deadspin. Not only do I not love the idea of sending traffic to Gawker, but their comments, while occasionally quite clever, do tend to be pretty awful. That said, it was a rad video, Johan's one of the good guys, and FIRST POST WOOO!
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:31 PM on April 8, 2009


I liked the the little robot dance he did with one of the white guys.
posted by Xurando at 12:34 PM on April 8, 2009


dersins, meet pokermonk.

With sabers at dawn, yes.

SABRs?
posted by dersins at 12:38 PM on April 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Some of them are pretty cool--the one where he grabs the guy's shirt and pretends like he's going to hit him, the one where he pretends to blow up and the other guy deflates him...but most of them are really some variation of a hug/backslap.

He is one of the players that makes me wish I still followed baseball, though. I just don't have the heart for it anymore.
posted by padraigin at 12:43 PM on April 8, 2009


Put me in the "this is awesome" column. Especially the inflating-man shake with Carlos Delgado.
posted by googly at 12:54 PM on April 8, 2009


Some of them are pretty cool--the one where he grabs the guy's shirt and pretends like he's going to hit him, the one where he pretends to blow up and the other guy deflates him...but most of them are really some variation of a hug/backslap.

Silly ones with the silly players, more serious ones with the more serious players, big bear hugs with the more touchy players, and a stern, firm handshake with his girlfriend's father the first time he meets him.

Is it really that hard to believe that some of the guys on the team are really into it, while others just want a hug?
posted by explosion at 1:09 PM on April 8, 2009




As far as actual baseball is concerned, I don't think it unreasonable at all to suspect the Mets will have a season for the ages.


Yeah, that's why they signed Gary Sheffield at the 11th hour out of pure desperation.


I respect the commitment, and find it sort of awesome, but also wonder if he couldn't have a more constructive hobby.

Another gem of a comment. What a gift.
posted by Zambrano at 1:10 PM on April 8, 2009


Finally someone noticed!

Johan came to me a good while back based on my reputation as NAHK (North American Handshake King). He asked me to come up with 63 moves that he would then sort by various metrics (speed, grace, dexterity and... I can't remember the last one) and he would then assign them to the different players, leaving out the ones that he felt were too flamboyant or complex when things like time and geographical space was limited.

I racked my brain for weeks and hired a CAD programer and former storyboard artist to map out the various moves that I acted out for him. Alas, I could only come up with 59. I presented them to Johan and he was pissed I couldn't meet the quota. I went back to the drawing board and came up with another 3, one of which was the Robot Dance, but I was still 1 short. As a result, he deemed me in breach of contract and refused to pay me the $93k that we'd previously agreed upon.

After seeing this video, it's clear that Johan has started using the moves anyway, so I guess I should contact my lawyer to put together a cease and desist and discuss where to go from here. Ugh. NAHK. It ain't all gravy.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 1:11 PM on April 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Funny, no one ever wants to do a pre-game handshake with Moises Alou.
posted by stargell at 1:27 PM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


As long as he wins I don't care what kind of rituals he has. If they help him win all the better.
posted by caddis at 1:36 PM on April 8, 2009


Baseball has got to be one of the most superstitious games out there. With stuff like this commonplace its no wonder some people think they can talk to the dead.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:16 PM on April 8, 2009


As far as actual baseball is concerned, I don't think it unreasonable at all to suspect the Mets will have a season for the ages.

Yeah, that's why they signed Gary Sheffield at the 11th hour out of pure desperation.

posted by Zambrano at 1:10 PM on April 8 [+] [!]


shouldn't you be preparing to lead your team to its inevitable first round playoff exit and crushing heartbreak?

One of my favorite activities last season was jinxing the Cubs whenever possible. Might as well start now:

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY THAT THE CUBS WILL FAIL TO WIN THE WORLD SERIES. THEY ARE A 100% LOCK TO WIN IT ALL.

Plus I hardly think paying a proven (if over the hill) slugger the league minimum to provide a little power off the bench is really desperation. The Mets' struggles last year were mainly been the bullpen, and they *seem* to have adressed that.

I must say though, mocking the Mets was a close second in terms of baseball schaudenfreude.
posted by ScotchRox at 2:25 PM on April 8, 2009


hmm, didn't notice that pic was a blog photoshop. I'll make it up with triple bilingual mockery.


ps Duke sucks.
posted by ScotchRox at 2:31 PM on April 8, 2009


He's a professional athlete. His entire career is a hobby.

I have known a couple of professional ball players.

Fly to new city, call wife, sleep in hotel, get up at 6, two hour workout. Breakfast. Four hours at desk, reviewing video of next opponent(s), taking notes. Meeting with catcher, pitching or hitting coach as appropriate. Lunch. Team workout, PFDs, batting practice. Dress for assignment. Return calls to friends and family and explain you can't get them all free tickets, sorry. Handshake routine (optional) in dugout. Three hours work under lights, pressure and scrutiny trying to execute plan formed in morning. Drama. Success, failure, usually something in between. An hour with arm in ice, throbbing. Light dinner. Back to hotel, maybe flying again in morning to another new city. In "off" days, scheduled regimen of exercise and conditioning, more video and book-studying.

You get a day off once every two weeks, and it's usually also spent flying.

Sounds like a job to me.
posted by rokusan at 2:42 PM on April 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


(Also, I can't forgive steroids, but I totally understand why amphetamines are so popular in baseball. It's a grueling schedule, and if you underperform from exhaustion after your 25th straight day of work in six cities, the newspapers make fun of you and people on the street helpfully remind you that you're just playing a kid's game, how hard can it be?!)
posted by rokusan at 3:05 PM on April 8, 2009


Carlos Zambrano has an elaborate ritual like this. I didn't find a video, but it ends with him driving the second baseman into the ground like a stake.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 3:14 PM on April 8, 2009


posted by Zambrano at 3:10 PM on April 8

This seems like an appropriate place to come clean: as Big Z is known for spending far too much time on the internet, I like to read Zambrano's posts as if he is Carlos Zambrano. Try it. You'll like it.


Sounds like a job to me.

As would most hobbies that you become good enough at to do professionally.
posted by pokermonk at 3:18 PM on April 8, 2009


He also has personalised ass-slaps for when they hit the showers after the big game.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:35 PM on April 8, 2009


It seems like there should be an Onion article or something about the one guy in pro baseball that doesn't have a ton of superstitious OCD rituals that he's constantly obsessed with.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:58 PM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


You gotta love the first comment

A lot of those comments were actually pretty good. Not as witty and sophisticated, of course, as those found here in the Blue, but I enjoyed them. (As I did that wacky video.)

...Jose Reyes caught some heat for some ill-advised terrorist fist bumping two years ago...

It says here that he decided to give up the handshaking and concentrate instead on playing baseball. (Oddly, one of the posters says the two best things about the Mets — in 2008 — will be 1) they got Santana and 2) no more of that unnecessary "hand gyrations and hip slaping [sic].")
posted by LeLiLo at 9:46 PM on April 8, 2009


You're breaking my heart, lelilo. If they really have to choose between the two, I think the world would be a better place if they gave up on baseball to concentrate instead on the handshaking.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:07 AM on April 9, 2009


This isn't that surprising. Great pitchers need to have crazy memories. They're usually not improvising what they're going to throw. Great pitchers (or, in the absence of that, great catchers) usually know what a hitter likes to do in various counts. I suspect the handshake thing is a subset of that kind of recall.
posted by puckupdate at 7:37 AM on April 9, 2009


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