Ranking Some of Nick Castellanos’ Most Iconic Moments

Nick Castellanos may not be a superstar, but a myriad of legendarily funny moments have transformed him into a cult favorite.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 21: Nick Castellanos #8 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on from the dugout prior to the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Monday, August 21, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

As someone who has made it part of their identity to discourage and actively vitiate snobbery, I am starting off this article with a confession. That confession is that I, too, have instances in which I’m an insufferable snob. There aren’t many, definitely fewer than five — one of which being if you don’t know who the Future King of the Pirates is — but more than zero, which I’m not proud of. So here is another:

I’ve just…always found it a bit boring when people’s favorite players are just the best players in the league. 

Hipster, I know! But going the Peter Appel route and choosing your favorite players as if you were just scrolling the FanGraphs leaderboards has always felt a little boring. Favorites, or at least a good amount of them, shouldn’t just be about some sort of objective litmus test of quality and conforming to some societal consensus. Just like art, there’s a beauty in the subjectivity of it all. It’s about the little quirks, stories, and — oh, dare I say — flaws. 

There’s a reason players like Bartolo Colon become so iconic. And it’s why Nick Castellanos, thanks in particular to the last couple of years, is becoming one of my favorite players. Philadelphia either has a knack for bringing in silly, more idiosyncratic athletes, or their very environment of sickos draws quirks out of players we wouldn’t have otherwise discovered. It’s literally the only positive thing I can say about Philadelphia sports. It’s too true to ignore.

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So, let’s take a few minutes to (finally) get into some of this beautiful soul’s most iconic moments that have led to his rise in notoriety amongst baseball hipster fans like myself.

9. His Home Run on the Anniversary of The Moment

I’ll have more to say about Thom Brennaman and the origin of the “Nick Castellanos Bad Timing” meme later, but this still needs to be included. I’m pretty sure there’s some number-crunching I could do about the odds of hitting a home run on the same day you did not just one year, but three years ago. But I don’t want to do that. Not only would that take more work and require engaging with the satan spawn that is Math, but this goes even further. 

What are the odds that you’d not only hit a home run on the anniversary of the meme, but also when you’re on a different team, AND also that different team is the looney toon land known as Philadelphia? The only thing missing was for the ball to have been hit to left field, but I can only assume Nick is saving something special for us next August 19.

8. Citizen of the World

That’s right, only three days old but already iconic! 

This was, full disclosure, the very thing that inspired me to finally write about this man. It’s not quite as hysterical as some of the other moments, but it’s made even more iconic because Castellanos said it. If this had been someone like Aaron Judge, it would’ve been viewed as a wholesome moment. With this guy, it’s wholesome AND silly. 

Castellanos seems, as our co-founder Aram Leighton pointed out, to be a master of unintentional comedy. This guy could give Nicolas Cage a run for his money in that regard, and this is only the prologue selection of the bunch. We’re just getting started, son. 

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7. A Home Run Following a Eulogy

Let me be very clear: The passing of the gentlemen in question here, George A. Gorman — a WW2 veteran and father of Pat Gorman, who had been working in the Royals clubhouse for 26 years — is not funny. I very much do not wish to imply that.

It’s just that it’s Nick Castellanos up to his Bad Timing shenanigans again, blasting a home run IMMEDIATELY after the on-air broadcast concluded its brief eulogy. 

The way you can hear the broadcasters apologize at the end here makes it even more bonkers. On top of that, this home run was against the same team (the Royals) that the meme first began with. Something, something about how you can’t make this stuff up. 

6. God Save the Queen

If you thought that eulogy moment was the peak of Castellanos’ accidental dark magic, this one is earnestly asking you to hold its beer.

Many different people and institutions offered their public condolences at the time of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, and the Phillies were no exception. On the day they held a moment of silence, Castellanos just happened to hit a bomb during the game. 

When you take into account that this happened last season — in which he played quite poorly and only mustered 13 home runs all year — it’s even more jaw-dropping of a moment.

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5. Randomly Becoming a Good Defender

I may venture to say that this is Castellanos’ most underrated moment. That’s partially because the Phillies lost the World Series and history is told by the victors, but mostly because his Bad Timing powers are more central to his lore.

Since 2020, Nick Castellanos has the second worst defensive runs saved (-24) AND outs above average (-28) marks among all qualified outfielders. Then he did this:

In the WORLD SERIES! And it wasn’t the only great defensive play he made that whole postseason! When being interviewed by Ken Rosenthal after the game, he said, “I think that, a lot of times, I have trouble keeping attention during the regular season. But with the postseason, this kind of baseball is incredible.”

Did Castellanos accidentally elucidate a secret about baseball? And the truth is that the nerds and their little defensive analytics are fools? Considering the Cardinals — who had about 9 of their players win Gold Gloves — got bounced in these playoffs in round one…is there a greater picture to be observed here? Open your third eye, folks. Regular season defense doesn’t matter, confirmed.

4. Jess Castellanos Enters the Fray

This one is a bit of a cheat as it technically isn’t our boy Nick himself, but this article went off the rails seven paragraphs ago, so we might as well continue riding this diarrhea donkey into the vacuum of oblivion. 

Nick’s wife, Jess, took to Twitter in an effort to defend her husband, which is, of course, an honorable thing to do. And she does have a point about there being bad things that happen every day, and pinning them on Nick is pretty silly. 

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Her first mistake was thinking Twitter was the right place to launch a campaign to stop the internet from doing, well, internet things. As a result, a sort of Streisand effect occurred that resulted in even more memeing.

Let this be a lesson that dumb internet bits are incredibly difficult to stop, and they aren’t always necessarily an indictment on somebody. Sometimes, we’re just bored and enjoy a good laugh in a world that far too often gives us reasons to cry.

They even took it outside of the baseball realm!!

3. He Hits Baseballs For a Living, Duh  

I don’t actually think there’s anything I need to add here. Just watch and enjoy this prophet wax poetic, in which he wears his Phillies hat that I pretend is a crown. 

2. No Flex Zone

He hits baseballs for a living, only thinks defense matters in the playoffs, is a master of world geography, and loves to flex. But not flex in a passive-aggressive way, like a thirst trap on an Instagram story or by tweeting screenshots of your phone that show you have 426 unread messages.

No, this is a literal flex. Because Nick Castellanos isn’t indirect about anything; he’s a man who will unapologetically be himself, always.

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This moment isn’t as memorable as others on the list, but for me, it’s just such a great reminder of how beautiful but equally stupid baseball can be.

As a Puerto Rican lad, I’m contractually obligated to sing the praises of the legend that is Yadier Molina. But he’s in the wrong here — just as many self-righteous catchers have often been — about something that is incredibly harmless and, more importantly, fun. Somehow, though, baseball has continually sided with folks like Molina, choosing to suspend Castellanos for violating the holy unwritten rules of baseball. 

He didn’t even make contact with the pitcher. Not even a word. Honey, all he did was a little flex! 

Not only has Castellanos served as a testament to the glory of memes, but he also works as a staunch reminder of baseball’s incessant desire to be as boring as possible. 

1. The Deep Drive Into Left Field That Started It All

At the minimum, you’ve likely seen that thumbnail image of former Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman. It’s an infamous image — one that you’ve probably seen pop up on those “Images Preceding Unfortunate Events” accounts. That’s because it was, certifiably, an unfortunate event that featured the now-disgraced broadcaster uttering some, well, disgraceful language. It was a bad moment, and only one in a long line of baseball broadcasters (especially as of late!) making some incredibly inappropriate comments on air. 

And then, as many baseball fans have come to know, Castellanos — in the middle of an awkward, poorly executed apology by Brennaman — launched a home run deep into left field to make it a 4-0 ballgame. The rest, as you can tell from reading this article, is history.

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It’s impossibly hard to have a baseball meme gain such widespread attraction. It’s why “bad timing” is the first thing that autofills when you type Nick Castellanos’ name in the YouTube search bar. It was easily the biggest meme the sport had elicited in quite some time. 

It’s part of why I’m grateful for Nick Castellanos. On top of all the many funny moments he’s had since — and, I’d wager, all the many more to come in the future — he gave us a moment that turned an ugly situation into something a bit more humorous. Sure, viewing it that way might be a bit easier for a straight male like myself who hasn’t been subjected to this specific ire before, but it still feels poetic. 

Thom Brennaman is a clown, and him never getting another chance in a major league booth would receive no kind of dissent from me. To be that comfortable in the workplace, in 2023, using that language is as toxic as it is indicative of how far we still have to go. But it’s also, because of the meme, going to live on in infamy and serve as cannon fodder for people to make jokes at his expense. 

I could be wrong, and this interpretation could be perceived as an overly sanctimonious and charitable one. But I know I’m not wrong about Nick Castellanos as a cult favorite. Because he’s more than numbers on a page. He simply rules.