If imitation is the highest form of flattery, what does it mean when there are four people mimicking your every move? Well, Yu Darvish was on the receiving end of such high praise before the Padres’ game against the Pirates had even started on Sunday — and it was classic big league pantomime.
He wasn’t scheduled to pitch, so Darvish was in chill mode pregame, emerging from the Padres’ dugout donning a hoodie over his cap and casually strolling toward the outfield … followed by four other members of the rotation: Mike Clevinger, Blake Snell, MacKenzie Gore and Sean Manaea were in lockstep behind Darvish. OK, lockstep doesn’t do it justice — they were mirroring his every move.
When Darvish adjusted his cap; they all adjusted their caps. A quick look over the shoulder from Darvish was followed by a cascade of head turns by the four followers. Hood comes down; hoods come down. Darvish puts his hands in his pockets; eight hands follow suit behind him.
The best part: Darvish had no idea until he got close to the outfield wall and turned around to see his four shadows do the same, all sporting wry smiles as the veteran right-hander was let in on the gag. He also found it funny, taking to Twitter on Sunday night to share the footage under a 🤣 emoji.
While the reflection retinue was done in jest, hitters may not see the hilarity in it if copying Darvish is taken to another level and knee-bending breaking balls become more commonplace in San Diego.