Marlins unveil new celebration: a dunk by 5-11 Gordon
MIAMI (AP) The Miami Marlins celebrated their first victory of the season with a grand slam.
Dee Gordon threw down a dunk on the game's hero, Christian Yelich, and video of the encounter went viral. The celebration required some careful choreography and caught manager Mike Redmond by surprise.
"That's the first dunk I've seen on a baseball field," Redmond said Saturday. "I thought it was actually really funny."
Yelich delivered a walk-off single in the Marlins' 10-9 victory Friday over Tampa Bay. Moments later, while he was been interviewed on TV, pitcher Mat Latos came up from behind and held a small basketball hoop over Yelich's head. Gordon used the target for the throw-down in Yelich's face using a Nerf ball.
"Yeli shouldn't have gotten the hit; then he wouldn't have gotten dunked on," Gordon said with a snicker.
"It was a charge," Yelich said. "But everybody loved it, so it was worth it."
The 5-foot-11 Gordon was happy to volunteer for dunk duty. He turned down a basketball scholarship at Louisville only because his father, former major league pitcher Tom Gordon, wanted him to play baseball.
The younger Gordon said if he was 6-2, he probably would have chosen a basketball career.
"I wouldn't have dunked on Yeli; I'd be dunking on LeBron," Gordon said.
Giancarlo Stanton is seven inches taller but he wasn't up to the job, Gordon said.
"The only thing he can do is crush baseballs," Gordon said.
To Gordon's surprise, his father liked the way the Marlins celebrated.
"I thought he was going to be mad about me dunking, like, 'You showed up the other team,'" Gordon said. "But he said, 'That was the tightest thing I've seen.'"
Redmond is well aware that former NL Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan suffered a knee injury celebrating a Marlins victory in 2010. His career was never the same, making postgame hijinks a concern.
"But you also want them to have fun and enjoy it," Redmond said. "I just told them be careful. I don't want to see anything too crazy out there. No reverse slams, no 360s. Keep it simple."