Home run celebration, Stanton-style
MIAMI — Next time Giancarlo Stanton belts a home run, pay attention to how the Marlins slugger rounds third base.
Stanton and third base coach Joe Espada have come up with a ritual that is entertaining and yet safe for both parties.
The two were able to polish up on their celebration on Monday night when Stanton blistered a grand slam off Colorado’s Jamie Moyer in the fourth inning. The blast was hit so hard, it knocked out some lights on the auxiliary scoreboard in left field. The shot was estimated at 438 feet.
On each Stanton HR, Espada will simulate tossing an underhand high-five that Stanton will receive up high. Sometimes, Stanton pretends he is catching a football.
“It’s like, turning the corner and catching a football,” said Stanton, who played football in high school and was offered a scholarship at Southern California.
Espada also does a low-key home run celebration with Hanley Ramirez. When Ramirez rounds third, Espada simulates handing a football off. Hanley pretends he’s a running back, taking the ball on his way to home plate.
When it comes to Stanton, Espada has made it a point not to shake his hand or do an actual high-five. The reason is a year ago, Stanton slapped Espada so hard, the coach almost injured his shoulder.
“Last year in San Diego, I stood there to shake his hand,” Espada said. “The adrenaline, the strength. But he hit me, and I thought he had knocked my shoulder out of place.
“So I said, ‘You know what, kid, I will never, ever again shake your hand during a home run,’ ” Espada told the slugger. ” ‘So, I’m going to just throw you the high-five. Instead of giving my congratulations to you, I’m just going to throw it to you.’ Now, we’re like catching a football. Like I do a handoff with Hanley.”
Added Stanton: “I get a little pumped up. I almost knocked his shoulder out. Now, we’re non contact.”
Stanton says he and Espada are changing the routine up. Sometimes he will hold up two hands like catching a football. And others he may reach up one hand over his head, like he is making a one-handed grab.
“We’re mixing it up every time,” Stanton said. “Sometimes it’s like a football.” The flipping the fake football at Stanton, Espada points out, is the safest way to celebrate a home run.
“I’m not going near Stanton ever again,” the third base coach said.
— Joe Frisaro