Two Nats fans in wrestling masks chest-bumped during the ninth inning of Friday night’s game. Only one remained standing when it was over.
The moment earned groans on the Mets broadcast. It was memorialized in a SportsNation poll about baseball fan blunders. And, wouldn’t you know, it involved a particular Nats fan I’ve written about repeatedly over the years.
Surely you remember Ben Goodhue, one of two fans who used to go to Nats Park dressed like a donkey in honor of Adam Dunn?
“Winning brings fans,” Goodhue explained in 2009, when I asked why he was going to a baseball stadium dressed like a donkey. “Fans bring originality and weirdness.”
In 2012, Goodhue was back in a Beast costume from “Beauty and the Beast,” paying tribute to Michael Morse. Another time, I featured him in some sort of joint Harper/Werth/eyeblack get-up that I can’t even locate.
Point is, this is a man that knows his way around wearing costumes to a ballpark.
“I was wearing a Lucha Libre mask that I picked up in Mexico on vacation,” he explained of his latest exploits. “I have 30, 40 costumes at home and I’m always looking for more to add into the mix, so bringing those back was a no-brainer. I often come to games right after work so it’s nice to have a few less-involved costumes that I can throw in my backpack and put on when I get to the game.”
The masks were in the appropriate colors, but they weren’t in honor of any particular Nats player. They had never been worn before Friday, but the reaction was positive, and kids loved them. Ben’s friend, Eric Hayes (no, not that one), also put one on. Both men wore Nats blankets as capes to add to their presentation. Ben also brought a buffalo hat, which Mary’s wife wore, as seen here. These are people dedicated to wearing costumes to ballparks.
As for the crucial moment and why the chest bump didn’t go off as planned, well, accounts differ. I think. I’m not exactly sure.
‘”In the moment I was certain that Eric hadn’t jumped,” Goodhue e-mailed. “That I was basically jumping into a brick wall. After the replay, he clearly jumps and I’m mostly just running into him. I think my biggest failures were running from too far and not thinking about how I was going to land. Then my legs turned to Jello. Sadly I think this was attempt 2 on the chest bump. The first chest bump was maybe more ‘unsuccessful’ in that I think I may have done a somersault backwards. Chest bumps 3 and 4 were completed without falls.”
“I just want to put an end to any jumping controversy,” Hayes then chimed in, while requesting a re-bump. “I also want to point out that on the first attempt it had been raining and I must have slipped. As documented by the video evidence, I would clearly never pinwheel backwards into the railing otherwise.”
“Oh there is no controversy Masked Gentle-man,” Goodhue responded, while I stared out the window and thought about life. “The tens of thousands of Nationals fans will see us again! And. They will see you feel my wrath! Your shoddy chest bumps are nothing compared to my powerful paunch. Said slippage was your friend and not your foe in this event.”
Etc. etc. The key point, though, is that I’m completely behind a future in which 70 percent of Nats fans arrive in strange costumes and possibly even crash into each other, provided there aren’t Cowboys or Red Sox logos.