Catch Dmitri Young for $100
The lead-up to a baseball game is so long. There are hours and hours to pass. That allows the following two things to happen on a night like last night.
1) Mike Wise can discover that he and Nats starter Jerome Williams went to rival high schools in Hawaii. Williams's Hawaiian heritage means that he's extensively covered in the Honolulu paper and grouped with former American Idol contestant Jasmine Trias as a rising Hawaiian star. It also means that Wise will stride up to him before last night's game, at a time when reporters usually give a wide berth to the starting pitcher, and talk Hawaii. Williams was happy to meet a fellow Hawaiian, but outraged when he found out that Wise went to Campbell High.
"Nope, nope, nope," Williams told Wise, shielding his face with his arms. "Me and you can't talk to each other."
But eventually he relaxed his anti-Campbellism, and they discussed Hawaiian prep sports, including the Cane Knife Classic, an annual football game between the two schools, played for a Cane Knife. Who knew?
2) Robert Fick can chat amiably with reporters while playing catch with Dmitri Young, who was throwing his split-fingered pitch, which looks like a knuckleball and was repeatedly handcuffing Fick, who then challenged Fredberg beat guy Todd Jacobson that he couldn't catch the Dmitri pitch with $100 on the line. [Note to MLB moralists: he was joking. No bet was made.]
Jacobson, for the record, is a former WaPo colleague and, before that, a catcher at Seneca Valley high. Plus his dad used to throw him a knuckleball. He was not cowed by Fick's challenge.
"I can catch it," he said.
Jacobson stood behind Fick to get a better look at the pitch. Brian Schneider walked by. Fick challenged Schneider to catch Young. Schneider declined.
"See that?" Fick said. "That's our catcher saying 'I'm good'."
"You got it?" Fick asked.
"Yeah, I got it," Jacobson said.
For reasons of professional ethics, the challenge never actually happened, but Jacobson said it was a "lock" that he would catch the pitch. Personally, I'm more interested in whether, during one of those nothing-but-fun 18-inning use-up-the-bullpen marathons, Manny Acta might consider letting Dmitri Young retire a few batters. I would pay double ticket price to see that.
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