When Josh Naylor has a big moment, everyone wins.
The Cleveland Guardians first baseman has shown this season how electric he can be when he celebrates a big moment, and that never was more evident than just a couple weeks ago.
Naylor put the finishing touches on a comeback win over the division-rival Minnesota Twins on June 29th with a walk-off two-run home run. While the Guardians dugout unloaded onto the field in jubilation, Naylor was just going nuts as he rounded the bases and crossed home. In the process, manager Terry Francona decided to pick up a helmet to wear during the celebration.
Good thing he did, because as Naylor stormed past him, he grabbed the manager and headbutted him.
It was a comical moment, although Naylor actually didn’t realize he did it.
Francona told the story of the headbutt during an appearance on “The Athletic Baseball Show”.
“It was funny because the helmet was laying on the ground as I was walking out to the field, so I just for fun put it on," Francona said. "I’m gonna tell you something, I’m glad I had it on because he didn’t even remember headbutting me. He told me later that night his mom called him and said ‘You better go check on Tito because you whacked him,’ and he goes ‘No I didn’t.’
“One, I was kind of glad that he didn’t do it on purpose -- because some guys maybe take advantage of hey we can hit the manager here and get a free shot. He didn’t even remember, I think he just goes bonkers every once in a while so just stay out of the way.”
Expectations for the Guardians this season were low, but instead they are in the thick of the wild card race. If that means Francona has to stay away from Naylor as he goes on happy rampages a few times this season, that’s a trade-off he’d probably take.
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