During the Nationals’ 7-5 loss to the Rockies on Monday, Doolittle took a couple of strolls through the landscaped area on the walking path beneath the batter’s eye. He wasn’t prepared for what he would find.
“On one of the walks, one of our bullpen catchers pointed out there was a camera tucked in behind these trees,” Doolittle told 106.7 the Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier. “Immediately, we went into full conspiracy theory mode because it didn’t look like a regular TV camera. It kind of looked like somebody’s home video, portable camera on a tripod, tucked into this tree.”
“The creeper cam in center field strikes again,” MASN analyst F.P. Santangelo quipped after Doolittle, who wore a hood over his Nationals cap, stopped, peered at the camera and waved.
“We have seen yeti, live here on MASN, where others have failed,” play-by-play man Bob Carpenter replied.
“I was waving, letting whoever know that we saw them, if anybody was trying to spy on us,” Doolittle said. “When I came back in after the game, [MASN Nationals beat reporter Mark Zuckerman] showed me the video on his phone, and I was like, I didn’t know it was a MASN camera, or else I would’ve done something different. I could’ve danced or something like that. It actually looked really funny because it was kind of cold, so I was super bundled up.”
If Doolittle danced in the Coors Field nature preserve Tuesday, MASN’s cameras didn’t show it, but they did capture him recording the final four outs in Washington’s 6-3 win for his third save of the year. The appearance was Doolittle’s 11th of the season, putting him on pace for a career-high 81. He also has gotten warm in the bullpen during several other games in which he didn’t appear.
“We’ve played so many close games that that’s kind of the nature of the role,” Doolittle said Tuesday. “That’s an occupational hazard. There’s not much that you can do in those situations. You have to be ready, and in so many of those cases we were one swing away from changing the game, from taking a lead, from tying a game at home or something like that, so I would’ve been in the game. Yeah, technically I am warming up, but I’m just playing catch with the catcher so that if we get that hit and tie the game or take the lead, it’s only going to take a handful of pitches with the catcher down to get ready to go into the game.”
After striking out Ryan McMahon to end the eighth inning Tuesday, Doolittle batted for himself in the ninth for only the third time in his career. Like his previous at-bat with the Nationals, on April 9, it ended with a strikeout.
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