Flip that finger, Nick. The ring one, of course.
Nick Castellanos had no desire to turn his moment on second base into a NSFW part of the postseason Tuesday night, but when the All-Star slugger directed his ring finger toward a joyous Philadelphia Phillies dugout after hitting a fourth-inning double, many briefly confused the gesture for the obscene finger.
Castellanos, though, said that wasn’t close to the case.
Instead, he said he was sending a message that the defending NL champions are chasing the World Series ring they were denied by the Houston Astros last year.
“Of course it was the ring finger, man,” he told NBC Sports Philadelphia after his Phillies beat the Miami Marlins 4-1 in the opener of their NL Wild Card Series. “Why would I give the middle finger to my teammates? I love them.
“That’s why we’re here,” he added when asked if he and the Phillies are looking for that World Series ring. “Red October.”
Castellanos also said the ring gesture at second base wasn’t planned.
“That’s just something that came out. Honestly,” he said. “I didn’t think about it. But I mean that’s why we’re here. That’s what this game’s about. This journey is to get that ring.”
Castellanos did his part Tuesday night, going 2 for 4 with an RBI double in the eighth inning that scored Bryce Harper — who knocked off his helmet as he steamrolled past a stop sign – as the Phillies moved within a victory of an NL Division Series matchup against the NL-best Atlanta Braves.
Phillies fans held signs that read “Un-phinished Business” and they were downright delirious when injured slugger Rhys Hoskins fought back tears and threw the ceremonial first pitch.
Castellanos did, too. He wore Hoskins’ No. 17 on the side of his cap this season in tribute to the first baseman who spiked his bat on a home run last season in an NLDS victory.
“He symbolizes Philadelphia, honestly more than any of the signees that have come here after the fact,” Castellanos said.
Game 2 is Wednesday night at 8.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.