What is likely to go down as the most hilarious exchange during a 2020 MLB broadcast took place during Thursday night’s game between the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals on NBC Sports Chicago.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the NBC Sports Chicago cameras found Royals mascot Sluggerrr (not a typo) firing a Poké Ball at Pikachu in the empty Kauffman Stadium stands. White Sox play-by-play man Jason Benetti understood what was going on, but he decided to test color commentator Steve Stone’s knowledge of the events.
After being asked “What is that?” by Benetti, Stone replied, “That is a wonderful mascot that you use when you are not allowed to have your mascot in the ballpark because of COVID protocol. And then, look what happened; the lion is incensed. I mean, he is absolutely incensed. You’re taking the spot of the regular mascot.”
Benetti then took the opportunity to inform Stone about Pokémon and Super Smash Bros., with the two-minute exchange concluding with the 73-year-old Stone explaining how his generation “had a rusty nail to play with” instead of Nintendo.
— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) September 4, 2020
Benetti: “What’s that?” with Steve Stone. What is that?
Stone: That is a wonderful mascot that you use when you are not allowed to have your mascot in the ballpark because of COVID protocol. And then, look what happened; the lion is incensed. I mean, he is absolutely incensed. You’re taking the spot of the regular mascot.
Benetti: So, you were close. Can I explain what happened? That was Pikachu, who’s a Pokémon. Have you heard of Pokémon?
Stone: I’ve heard of a kinkajou.
Benetti: So Pikachu was walking around, and then Sluggerrr picked up what’s called a Poké Ball, which is a ball that holds Pokémon. And then when you throw it, another one pops out. Now that didn’t happen here, and Pikachu is getting bludgeoned by Sluggerrr.
Stone: It looks like he is stomping on him, not content to use the Poké Ball.
Benetti: It really warms my heart for you to use that word. A ball and two strikes. Honestly, we were watching Pikachu during the break. He was just wandering around. We should have a little like picture-in-picture second screen of just Pikachu wandering the ballpark. Do you think the kids would like that? Catch ’em all.
Stone: Did you play that when you were young?
Benetti: I didn’t play Pokémon. But Pikachu was in Super Smash Bros., the video game that Zack Burdi and I played among others. And Sluggerrr is just wearing out Pikachu.
Stone: Did he take that kind of beating in your game?
Benetti: Sometimes. That’s the character I used when Zack and his brother Nick actually both just trounced me in Smash Bros. at the Burdi household back in the day. We should play at some point, me and you.
Stone: It must have been great to grow up when you did, ’cause you have those video games and things. We had a rusty nail to play with. That was pretty much what you got, and then you dealt with it. And you had to use your imagination; it was terrific. And we didn’t have the violence like that. I mean, that’s what happens.
Benetti: So, what did you play with the rusty nail, if I may ask?
Stone: Oh, all kinds of stuff.