Scott Van Slyke watched some of the Los Angeles Dodgers victory Sunday afternoon from the top step of the home dugout, like any other player on the bench. But at one point in the seventh inning with his team comfortably ahead on the scoreboard against the St. Louis Cardinals, Van Slyke was acting like a man who swore he could smell something burning. Turning his head every which way and looking toward all corners of the dugout, Van Slyke appeared to be asking several teammates, “Do you smell that?”
Using the left arm of Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers were rolling to another victory that allowed them to pull even with the San Francisco Giants atop the National League West Division. But it was the right foot of Van Slyke that had the fellows vexed for a while.
After what must have seemed like an eternity in the world of pranks, Van Slyke finally realized that that the fire — and the joke — was on him. His teammates had given him an old-fashioned hot foot. Adrian Gonzalez personally lighted the fuse on Van Slyke’s right shoe after the intricate-looking cigarette time bomb teammates had fashioned didn’t go off immediately.
Watch the long-form video for extended commentary from Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully:
The fuse really was something out of a World War II movie. A single cigarette, placed in a ring of perhaps two dozen matches, taped together and bound to the back heel of Van Slyke’s shoe with a wad of bubble gum.
At first, the joke was on the rest of the Dodgers. Agony even ensued because detonation took longer than expected, or wasn’t happening at all. The gum fuse even began to detach from Van Slyke’s shoe. Would it all be for naught? Scully, who’s seen it all twice, wondered if the prank ever would come to fruition.
But, after Gonzalez dangerously doubled back to put re-attach the fuse and then tripled back to manually light the blaze, the merry pranksters had their payoff.
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