Just when you thought the Joe Maddon-Joel Peralta pine tar trip to D.C. couldn’t get any more amazing, along came the series finale, featuring heckling from Robin Ficker, a souvenir ball smeared with pine tar, and a personalized message from Maddon.
Ficker, of course, is one of the most famous fans in D.C. sports history, and one of the most famous hecklers in the country. He logged more than a decade of heckling NBA stars from behind the visiting bench at the old Cap Centre, and is considered a master of the art.
In recent years, his sporting passions have been transferred to the University of Maryland wrestling team, while much of the rest of his energy focused on running for political office. But there he was on Thursday night, a few rows back of the Tampa dugout, doing his old routine.
Wearing a black Maryland wrestling t-shirt with a Bryce Harper image pinned to the front, and polka-dot shorts called “Fuzzy Duds,” Ficker set up camp in Section 117 Row K Seat 3, with a ticket he bought on StubHub.
“Check for pine tar!” he was yelling, according to @ChanningPejic, who was sitting nearby. “See Maddon, it can be done without pine tar,” he’d howl after strikeouts. “Did you give Mr. Moore any pine tar?” he’d ask. “I don’t think that was honey you gave your pitcher,” he’d shout.
“I was sitting here so I can converse with the players,” he told a Post reporter later in the game.
By the third inning, Maddon tossed Ficker a pine-tar-smeared ball with a personalized message.
“Stick up for those you care about!” the ball read. (More images below. Ficker suggested that Maddon signed something other than his name, because the signature doesn’t exactly look like “Joe Maddon.”)
“You have to love the fact that he’s sensitive, but he has a good sense of humor,” Ficker said of Maddon.
Ficker told The Post that he didn’t come to any Nats games last year. But he was at the Yankees game last Friday, and has plans to visit Nats Park again.
And so, somehow, Robin Ficker made me like Joe Maddon a little bit more. Weird times. See more images below.
Note: Much of this item was reworked after James Wagner spoke with Ficker in person.
Peralta ejected for a foreign substance
Rizzo says Peralta’s foreign substance not a secret
Maddon calls out the Nats
Maddon doesn’t back down
Maddon and Johnson compare their Tweeters.