Shane Victorino should have known better, being the hyper sort he is. Not to mention that he must be aware of Koji Uehara's reputation for energetic greetings. And yet, Victorino found himself unprepared for Uehara's celebration machine in the Boston Red Sox dugout Wednesday night at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field.
The result? Major league comedy.
After he retired the White Sox 1-2-3 in the eighth inning, Uehara did what he often does when coming back to the dugout: He enthusiastically high fived everyone and everything in his path from one end to the other. His teammates seemed focused, from Dustin Pedroia to Will Middlebrooks. Mike Napoli even got in an athletic stance and put up two hands for a "high ten." Even clubhouse attendants put their palms at the ready.
When he came upon Victorino, who was seated on a forward bench, kind of slumped and staring off into space, Uehara didn't pause for this teammate to perk up and raise a hand — so he slapped Victorino on the right shoulder.
Well, that woke him up. Victorino reacted like a mugging was about to go down, even reflexively putting up a hand in order to defend himself.
NESN broadcaster Don Orsillo quipped:
"I guess Victorino didn't get the message."
But he got some Uehara anyway, as Jerry Remy said, because that's how Koji rolls.
Victorino didn't appear to be playing possum; the look on his face indicated a genuinely startled person.
It probably doesn't all go down like that if Victorino was in the lineup; he's been out with a sore left hamstring. And the game wasn't particularly riveting; the Red Sox won 6-2. Victorino also has a medical condition — ADHD, for which he takes prescription meds. No matter that he gets treatment, Victorino's mind wanders anyway.
"Hey, look, a grasshopper, WHOA! What was that? Oh, it's Koji."
It should be noted that Uehara is 38 years old and still plays the game — and interacts with teammates — while displaying youthful enthusiasm. He's like a kid out there, as John Madden would say of Brett Favre.
Taking all of that into consideration, there's no guarantee Victorino will be alert the next time Uehara's high-five hellfire rains down on the Red Sox.
Big BLS H/N: MLB Cut4