Bob Costas made one of the more surprising calls of his sportscasting career Friday afternoon, when hemixed up Cleveland Guardians pitcher Shane Bieber with pop star Justin Bieber.
“Justin Bieber just threw his 84th pitch,” Costas said during the sixth inning of the Guardians Game 2 ALDS matchup with the New York Yankees. And as the viewers at home were questioning if they just heard him correctly, Costas quickly assured them they did, making it clear that he was equally stunned by the blunder. “I actually called Shane Bieber Justin Bieber! How did – I vowed that would not happen. I’m sure it’s not the first time it’s happened in his life.”
It definitely is not the first time it’s happened. In fac,t the pitcher previously attempted to trademark “Not Justin,” the phrase he chose to wear on his jersey during MLB Players’ Weekend. The pop star has reciprocated the joke by wearing a “Not Shane Bieber” jersey.
— Shane Bieber (@ShaneBieber19) August 5, 2019
While the mistake is common, it was still surprising to hear it come from Costas while calling his first full MLB Postseason series in more than two decades.
“I wonder if he’s watching the game,” Costas added, likely referring to the pop star Justin Bieber and not the pitcher on the mound. Costas went on to show off his musical knowledge by naming a few Bieber songs, much to the surprise of analyst Ron Darling and field reporter Lauren Shehadi. And for those who assume Costas may have had the song titles fed to him, never forget the time the iconic play-by-play voice quoted Ludacris on MLB Network.
Darling responded with a Bieber song name of his own:
“If you guys can name one Justin Bieber song I’ll give you ten bucks”
Ron Darling, with no hesitation: “Yummy”
— Cara Jeffrey (@cara_jeffrey) October 14, 2022
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I’m not sold on this being an accident. While it’s an easy error to make, with Justin Bieber clearly being the more popular Bieber and the one who is more regularly in the news, Costas is too good of a broadcaster to accidentally allow a pop singer to enter his mind when baseball is on the brain. Furthering my conspiracy theory, being the consummate pro that Costas is, what better way to generate some social media buzz for a baseball game than by invoking a superstar like Justin Bieber?
Usually, sportscaster blunders only go viral for malapropisms or mix-ups that result in an expletive. Costas, however, just had to say Justin Bieber.
[TBS; 2017 photo of Costas from Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images]