On August 19, 2020, now-Philadelphia Phillies slugger Nick Castellanos stepped to the plate for the Cincinnati Reds and stared down the mound at Kansas City Royals reliever Greg Holland. The Reds were up 3-0 in the fifth inning of the second game of a doubleheader that had already become infamous due to Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman dropping a homophobic slur during the first game’s broadcast.
As Castellanos took a strike on a fastball, Brennaman announced that he would be turning play-by-play duties over to Jim Day, and attempted to address the incident:
"“I made a comment earlier tonight that I guess went out over the air that I am deeply ashamed of. If I have hurt anyone out there, I can’t tell you how much I say from the bottom of my heart I’m so very, very sorry.”"
Then Holland threw another, more ‘hitterish’ fastball, and Castellanos made contact, sending the ball 410 feet to left.
Brennaman, a veteran broadcaster, couldn’t help but deviate from his apology to make the call:
"“I pride myself and think of myself as a man of faith, as there’s a drive into deep left field by Castellanos and that’ll be a home run. And so that’ll make it a 4-0 ballgame.”"
The call became internet-famous immediately, spawning a meme used frequently to this day. The image of Brennaman looking somber made the rounds, as did the copypasta of the call itself. As The Ringer examined, ‘drive into deep left field’ has been used for everything from former President Trump getting COVID, to Kim Kardashian flying her friends to a private island during the pandemic.
Castellanos’ wife was brave enough to ask people to stop, which went about as well as expected.
Nick Castellanos got his first hit for the Phillies, but history repeated itself with unfortunate broadcast moment
When Castellanos signed his historic deal with the Phillies earlier this month, the meme took on new life. And on Sunday, when Castellanos made his spring training debut, history, unfortunately repeated itself.
It’s just awful luck for Castellanos, who probably feels like he will never escape this meme. I posited that ‘drive into deep left’ is why he chose to announce his own signing on Instagram, to regain a modicum of control over his online narrative.
Of course, the new moment spawned several copypastas of the first incident.