The video below might confuse you, because it’s a highlight video from Dodger Stadium in 2022, but Phil Bickford is on the mound. I can see how that might throw you off, so let me explain: This was a highlight for the other team. We’re celebrating it here because a beloved former Dodger was on the good side.
Actually, Andrew Heaney will be the first Dodgers pitcher you see, because we’re queueing this video up at the 9:07 mark. Albert Pujols, who spent most of the 2021 season with the Dodgers and had some huge hits and huge veteran presence for the team, went back to the Cardinals for his final season, the team he spent the first 11 years of his Hall of Fame career with. St. Louis rolled into Los Angeles on a September weekend with Albert sitting on 698 career homers, and in a Friday night game on Apple TV+, Dave Roberts said to himself, “Gee, Albert needs two homers. Let’s go with Andrew Heaney and Phil Bickford on the mound.”
In the top of the third inning, Pujols drove a meaty fastball from Heaney over the wall in left field for homer number 699. Heaney and Pujols were teammates for more than six years in Anaheim, so they know each other well. Still, Heaney wasn’t immediately thrilled about being a part of history.
“I think as I step back it’ll be a little bit cooler for me. But right now it’s like kind of a sore spot. I’ll appreciate it a little differently here in the coming days.”
The next inning, it was Bickford on the mound, and he hung a 1-1 slider that Albert didn’t miss, sending it 389 feet into the first row behind the home run seats in left field to become the fourth member of the 700-homer club. Bickford, like Heaney, didn’t appreciate the history he was part of at first, but he adjusted more quickly.
“At first, I was upset that I gave up the home run. And then when the crowd reacted and seeing all the smiles, it was a very cool moment for MLB. And Albert Pujols is also one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. Yeah, after I got over being upset at giving up the home run, it was obviously a special moment.”
It was a meaningless game for the Dodgers, who had clinched their division a week and a half earlier, but it was quite meaningful for Pujols and the L.A. fans who were there to watch it.
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