Former Phillies reliever Jared Hughes jokes about the famous J.T. Realmuto head-shake meme


You've all seen the clip. It was pretty much the Crying Jordan meme of the 2019 Phillies season. Reliever Jared Hughes sprinting to the mound from the bullpen in the eighth inning, just after the Mets had gone ahead on an Amed Rosario two-run single. 

Booking it to the mound is Hughes' thing. In this instance, catcher J.T. Realmuto was upset with the previous at-bat and was seen shaking his head while standing on the mound awaiting Hughes. To almost everyone, it looked like Realmuto was upset that Hughes would risk winding himself in an important spot.

Hughes, who has been running from the bullpen to the mound for years and had 2.41 ERA in 345 appearances from 2014-18, then allowed a home run to the first batter he faced.

"Now I can laugh about it because I'm far enough away from the home run that it's like OK, I learned from it, I'm able to get by it," Hughes said last week in a video for the Taylor Hooton Foundation, a non-profit organization which educates youth and their adult influencers about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs.

"But at the same time, I can appreciate the humor in it. I could a little bit then but not as much as I can now. I watched it immediately and I was like, "Oh gosh, this is so hard to watch.' But then I watched it a week later and it was hilarious. 

"Of course, the next day, Realmuto came up to me and was like, 'Dude, I totally didn't mean to do that, I'm so sorry, it was about the previous pitch, it wasn't about you, it looked terrible.'"

Hughes had a rough time in Philly. In just 23 innings with the Phillies, he allowed seven home runs, more than his full-season totals in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 or 2018. Some of that obviously had to do with the juiced ball. But his sinker didn't sink as consistently as it did in Cincinnati or Pittsburgh. The Phillies took a late-season flier on him and it didn't bear a ton of fruit. 

Hughes signed with the Astros in mid-February.

"[Realmuto] felt terrible about it, I thought it was hilarious," Hughes said. "Any time you can be part of a meme — well, maybe I'll take that back. At the time it wasn't hilarious because I did give up a home run to the very first hitter and then Jomboy broke it all down and there was a really rough video that came after that. But at the same time, I do understand it. I appreciate that baseball entertainment can be done in a lot of different ways. At that time it was done at my expense, but I'm just happy I could go out there and even have an opportunity to be broken down. 

"Unfortunate timing, but now it's a very famous and popular meme and I'm very honored to be a part of it."

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