J.T. Realmuto

Former Phillies reliever Jared Hughes jokes about the famous J.T. Realmuto head-shake meme

Former Phillies reliever Jared Hughes jokes about the famous J.T. Realmuto head-shake meme

You've all seen the clip. It was pretty much the Crying Jordan meme of the 2019 Phillies season. Reliever Jared Hughes sprinting to the mound from the bullpen in the eighth inning, just after the Mets had gone ahead on an Amed Rosario two-run single. 

Booking it to the mound is Hughes' thing. In this instance, catcher J.T. Realmuto was upset with the previous at-bat and was seen shaking his head while standing on the mound awaiting Hughes. To almost everyone, it looked like Realmuto was upset that Hughes would risk winding himself in an important spot.

Hughes, who has been running from the bullpen to the mound for years and had 2.41 ERA in 345 appearances from 2014-18, then allowed a home run to the first batter he faced.

"Now I can laugh about it because I'm far enough away from the home run that it's like OK, I learned from it, I'm able to get by it," Hughes said last week in a video for the Taylor Hooton Foundation, a non-profit organization which educates youth and their adult influencers about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs.

"But at the same time, I can appreciate the humor in it. I could a little bit then but not as much as I can now. I watched it immediately and I was like, "Oh gosh, this is so hard to watch.' But then I watched it a week later and it was hilarious. 

"Of course, the next day, Realmuto came up to me and was like, 'Dude, I totally didn't mean to do that, I'm so sorry, it was about the previous pitch, it wasn't about you, it looked terrible.'"

Hughes had a rough time in Philly. In just 23 innings with the Phillies, he allowed seven home runs, more than his full-season totals in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 or 2018. Some of that obviously had to do with the juiced ball. But his sinker didn't sink as consistently as it did in Cincinnati or Pittsburgh. The Phillies took a late-season flier on him and it didn't bear a ton of fruit. 

Hughes signed with the Astros in mid-February.

"[Realmuto] felt terrible about it, I thought it was hilarious," Hughes said. "Any time you can be part of a meme — well, maybe I'll take that back. At the time it wasn't hilarious because I did give up a home run to the very first hitter and then Jomboy broke it all down and there was a really rough video that came after that. But at the same time, I do understand it. I appreciate that baseball entertainment can be done in a lot of different ways. At that time it was done at my expense, but I'm just happy I could go out there and even have an opportunity to be broken down. 

"Unfortunate timing, but now it's a very famous and popular meme and I'm very honored to be a part of it."

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This rare clip of J.T. Realmuto playing high school football is amazing

This rare clip of J.T. Realmuto playing high school football is amazing

Watching elite athletes compete during their high school years is always a delight, but watching them excel in completely different sports is something else.

A clip of Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto made the rounds on Twitter this week, playing high school football at Carl Albert High in Oklahoma.

Phillies Twitter member Jonny Heller dredged up the old video from The Oklahoman's archive, which shows Realmuto executing a pretty slick fake run play-into-bootleg touchdown for the win in double overtime. 

The real highlight, though, is the sideline interview afterwards:

It's not surprising that he begins the interview by explaining how good the opposing team was. Classy move from Realmuto to start.

And then breaking down the play itself - called "117" - and explaining that they'd previously failed to convert with that play on a 4th & 2 is such a cool detail.

It also shows that Realmuto's coach had the ultimate faith in his quarterback to get the job done in crunch time.

Realmuto's MaxPreps page, which is still live, shows a pretty productive senior year as a dual-threat QB. Realmuto completed 111 of 187 passes for 1,937 yds, 20 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He also ran 227 times for 1,412 yards and 25 touchdowns.

That's solid!

Of course, his batting average during baseball season his senior year (.595) was higher than his completion percentage (.594), and he hit 28 home runs and drove in 119 RBI, so it's safe to say Realmuto made the right call.

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Virus has Phillies in holding pattern with J.T. Realmuto and Seranthony Dominguez

Virus has Phillies in holding pattern with J.T. Realmuto and Seranthony Dominguez

Because of the coronavirus health crisis and the delay in starting the Major League Baseball season, the Phillies remain in a holding pattern on a couple of significant baseball matters, general manager Matt Klentak said Thursday.

It's still unclear whether reliever Seranthony Dominguez will opt to have his injured right elbow surgically repaired. The health crisis has prevented Dominguez from getting a second opinion from orthopedic surgeon James Andrews. Dominguez is currently with family in his native Dominican Republic.

"Medicine is not always black and white," Klentak said. "There's a possibility it may head down that (surgical) road, but until he gets the second opinion, we have no firm declaration. For a lot of players, surgery is a last option, particularly when the surgery keeps you out as long as Tommy John surgery does. Before we go down that road, we want to make sure everyone is in agreement on what the right course of action is."

Dominguez saw Andrews shortly after injuring his elbow in early June last season. Surgery was not recommended at that time, but Dominguez missed the remainder of the season. He had a setback in August and again in March and all signs point to his needing surgery. Andrews would be a likely person to handle the surgery, but he is not seeing patients at the moment because of the health crisis.

Surgery, whenever it happens, would sideline Dominguez for more than a year.

The other matter currently on hold involves All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto and the team's effort to sign him to a contract extension before he becomes a free agent in the fall. The two sides had begun negotiations in February, but those talks, by mandate from Major League Baseball, are now on hold because of the health crisis.

Could the freeze on negotiations and the uncertainty of whether or not there will be a 2020 season hurt the Phillies in their quest to keep Realmuto off the free-agent market?

"Whenever we resume playing, we'll see what the circumstances are and re-engage," Klentak said. "Nobody can predict what the parameters will be at that point or what will happen, but I think everyone knows we love J.T. and he's a player we'd love to have for the long haul."

Thursday would have been the Phillies' home opener. They had been scheduled to play their first seven games on the road before MLB suspended action on March 12 and encouraged players to head home. Training facilities have subsequently been closed except to a handful of players who are rehabilitating from injuries. 

MLB still hopes to have a season in some form, but nothing is certain. Like the rest of the world, it is at the mercy of the virus.

"I don't have enough information to know what's going to happen and I'm not sure anyone does," Klentak said. "What I am confident about is owners, players, front offices, fans, media, everybody is aligned in wanting to play baseball as quickly as we can. When all parties are as aligned as that, it gives me confidence that we'll get back as soon as we can get back. But I'm not in a position to make any predictions as to when that might happen.

"We'll do the best we can in the interim to prepare for the season. If it's a traditional season, we'll be prepared. If it's a modified season, we'll be prepared. I have a lot of confidence in league operations."

A resumed spring training would be required before any type of regular season, but Klentak would not speculate on what that might look like.

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