Announcer simply nails HR prediction: ‘It’s going to happen’

September 22nd, 2022

SAN DIEGO -- The box score will show Lars Nootbaar ended the Cardinals’ 47-inning streak without an earned run by hitting a leadoff home run in the fifth inning of a 5-4 victory Thursday afternoon at Petco Park. The superstitious will credit that homer to Cardinals TV announcer Dan McLaughlin.

McLaughlin has seen an awful lot of Cardinals baseball in his quarter century behind the mic. Apparently, he sometimes sees it before it happens.

With the streak standing at 47 innings and the Cards down by two runs in the series finale, McLaughlin offered a prophecy to broadcast partner Brad Thompson while Trent Grisham batted in the bottom of the fourth inning against Jack Flaherty.

“By the way, Brad, in the fifth, the Cardinals are going to score,” McLaughlin said. “I’m going out on a limb: It’s going to happen.”

Thompson was appropriately intrigued. “Care to tell me how it’s going to happen?” he inquired.

McLaughlin took a moment to consider. Or read some tea leaves. Or check some tarot cards.

“Lars may walk into one,” McLaughlin said. “Yeah, there you go. I like that.”

After a few pitches of standard play-by-play and analysis, McLaughlin locked in the prediction after Grisham struck out to end the inning.

“Coming up, the Cardinals will score,” McLaughlin said as he threw to commercial.

As Nootbaar stepped in to face Joe Musgrove to open the fifth inning, Thompson was egging his partner on.

“This is it. This is your inning, Dan,” Thompson said. “You called this.”

On an 0-1 fastball, Nootbaar fulfilled the prophecy. He yanked the ball a Statcast-projected 386 feet to right-center field to end the Cardinals’ streak of three straight scoreless losses and deliver their first earned run since Saturday, when Yadier Molina hit a two-run homer in the third inning of the first game of a doubleheader against the Reds.

McLaughlin’s call was appropriately celebratory: “And Nootbaar sends one out to deep right field … at the wall … GONE!!! And there it is! Nootbaar, a home run, and the Cardinals finally break through.”

The understated humor of both broadcasters was evident in the subsequent back-and-forth exchange.

Thompson: “Wow!”

McLaughlin: “What’d I say?”

Thompson: “You said that.”

McLaughlin: “Well, I said they’re going to score, and, you know, Nootbaar’s going to walk into one. And here we go.”

Thompson: “Look at Noot walking into one. I wish you would have talked 43 innings ago.”

Never mind that the streak had actually reached 47 innings.

Thompson: “There we go. Something to cheer about.”

McLaughlin: “You’ve got to have faith in me, Brad. I’m just saying.”

Thompson: “Again, you just waited quite some time.”