Orioles have fun(nel) with new HR celebration

April 11th, 2023

BALTIMORE -- The origin story of the Orioles’ new “homer hose” began Monday afternoon, when “the two plumbers,” as outfielder Austin Hays called them, were hard at work.

and demonstrated their collective creative genius as they constructed baseball’s newest home run celebration sensation. Irvin purchased an orange funnel and a long, blue hose, then he and Akin came together to create a device with plenty of Baltimore flavor.

First, the left-handers covered the hose with black tape. Then, they used orange tape to give it a striped appearance.

Attach it to the funnel. Bring it to the dugout. And by the first inning of Monday’s 5-1 series-opening win over the A’s at Camden Yards, was chugging a full bottle of water through the device, becoming the first Orioles slugger to test it out, shortly after he had belted a two-run home run.

Better than the club’s home run chain from 2022? It certainly offers one particular health benefit.

“I love it. We’re just huge proponents of staying hydrated,” said catcher , who became the second homer-hose user after he swatted a solo homer in the third.

Shortly after Mountcastle took the inaugural chug, social media blew up. The homer hose had gone viral. But nobody knew what it was called.

TV broadcaster Ben McDonald referred to it as the “hydration station.” Radio voice Melanie Newman utilized the phrase “slug it and chug it.”

Veteran right-hander Kyle Gibson, the first player to talk to the media in the Orioles’ clubhouse postgame, wanted to make it clear -- it’s a homer hose.

“Just like as a kid,” said Gibson, fresh off throwing 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball. “You go out back, you take a drink from the water hose after you play outside playing Wiffle Ball.”

Consider the homer hose an add-on to the other celebrations being used by the O’s this year.

When a player singles, he does a subtle gesture in which he’s “turning on the water faucet”:

When a player doubles or triples, it sparks the “sprinkler” celebration. He stands on the bag at either second or third and uses his arm to imitate a sprinkler. Players in the dugout stand on the top step and spit out water in sprinkler-like fashion:

Those are great. But everybody on Baltimore’s roster is going to want to try the homer hose.

“Hopefully they clean it,” center fielder Cedric Mullins joked. “But hopefully I get a taste of it later.”

While Mountcastle was breaking in the homer hose, Rutschman was unaware of the new celebration being introduced. So when he went deep two innings later -- marking his second straight day with a home run and his third long ball of the season -- he was quite surprised upon his return to the dugout when his teammates were all surrounding the hose.

“I was like, ‘Oh, this is hilarious,’” Rutschman said. “We’ve got a great group of guys here who are just so supportive of one another. Everyone gets excited when guys do stuff that’s good.”

Because Hays watched Irvin and Akin construct it -- and then Mountcastle and Rutschman drink from it -- the 27-year-old was well prepared for his first chug. And Hays was satisfied by his performance on the night -- with the hose, that is.

“I don’t know how much was in there. I was able to get it down pretty easily,” Hays said. “I don’t think I spilled any drops. I think I did all right for my first one.”

Manager Brandon Hyde was unaware of the implementation of the homer hose, as he didn’t notice it happening in the dugout. When he returned to his office -- which happened sooner than expected, after he was ejected in the seventh inning -- he found out about the new celebration.

Hyde has emphasized that he wants the team’s fun to be organic and come from the players. He isn’t going to be the idea man. But when he sees it happen around him, he’ll always give his seal of approval.

“I want guys to be loose,” Hyde said. “I like celebration stuff. I think it brings teams together. If the guys like it, then I’m all for it.”

The Orioles picked a good night to debut the homer hose, as they tied their season high with three home runs (matching April 1 in Boston). Perhaps the celebration will provide added incentive to go yard.

Not that the players need any, which Rutschman succinctly summed up when asked if he was hoping to get more chugging practice in the near future.

“Homers are good; so we’ll try to keep hitting homers,” Rutschman said with a wry grin.