Pat Neshek, the Park Center product and former Twins pitcher, stormed out of the dugout hoisting a large statue of a bald eagle Wednesday night at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles. The fixture had become the USA team mascot and would anchor their celebration after winning the World Baseball Classic 8-0 over Puerto Rico.
Neshek, the right-handed reliever drafted by the Twins in 2002, and his teammates embraced and danced around the statue while celebrating the U.S. victory in their first WBC championship game 11-plus years after the event’s first game.
Neshek’s moment with the bald eagle quickly spread across social media and won over baseball fans. However, the pitcher had already been winning supporters throughout the course of the two-week tournament.
The funky sidearm-hurling Neshek pitched four innings, struck out three, earned a win, and finished with a 0.75 ERA. The Philadelphia Phillies reliever also pitched when it mattered most with back-to-back appearances in Tuesday’s 2-1 semifinal victory over Japan and in Wednesday’s championship game.
Neshek struck out Twins slugger Kennys Vargas to end Puerto Rico’s bottom half of the eighth inning Wednesday and celebrated like it was the postseason. He also helped get Team USA out of a jam in a 6-3 victory over the Dominican Republic to secure a spot in the championship round.
Here are some of Neshek’s highlights from the World Baseball Classic:
CAN WE PLEASE TAKE A SECOND TO TALK ABOUT THE GIANT VICTORY EAGLE THAT PAT NESHEK RAN OUT ONTO THE FIELD WITH pic.twitter.com/vCjCE2bpkO— RT Ohio (@RT_Ohio) March 23, 2017
That got weird quickly pic.twitter.com/TaJpi9kDNT— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) March 23, 2017
#Phillies reliever Pat Neshek naturally brought a bald eagle statue to the mound to celebrate Team USA winning the World Baseball Classic.— Tim Kelly (@TimKellySports) March 23, 2017
Did Pat Neshek just bring a statue of a bald eagle out to celebrate? This guy is the gift that keeps on giving. Can't get enough.— Nick Childs (@ChildsPlease) March 23, 2017
Wow, that game was incredible...so happy for our team and fans!— Pat Neshek (@PatNeshek) March 19, 2017
In 40 years when I have total dementia I will still remember with absolute clarity how much I love and respect Pat Neshek.— CardsCards (@StlCardsCards) March 23, 2017
Pat Neshek came running out with that gaudy eagle statue and I couldn't be happier dude is a Phillie to be very honest— Jimmy Donofrio (@JimmyDonofrio) March 23, 2017