What's buzzing:

Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson gets pranked by teammates after first hit

Tim Brown
Yahoo Sports

LOS ANGELES – A couple hours before, when Joc Pederson's first major-league hit fluttered to the grass in center field, that baseball found its way to the Dodgers' dugout and now was being presented to him in the clubhouse. Adrian Gonzalez did the honors, even sold it with a hug.

Pederson looked at the ball, smudged with grass and dirt from Dodger Stadium. This would go to his parents, he said. His family was at the ballpark on Tuesday night; father Stu, an outfielder for the Dodgers for a short while in 1985, mother Shelly, brothers Champ and Tyger.

He noted shyly his first name was not spelled correctly. He shrugged. No big deal.

"Oh," Gonzalez said. "That's not how you spell, 'Joc?'"

View photo

.
Joc Pederson had his first major league hit. (USA Today)

Joc Pederson had his first major league hit. (USA Today)

Pederson didn't want to complain. Still, he said, "You're oh for two. 'Pederson' is misspelled too."

"Sorry," Gonzalez said. "Spelling's not my thing. But congrats."

And he hit him with he hug.

"OK," Pederson said.

He rolled the ball in his fingers. There was an inscription.

"Fister off Fister," it said.

"Ha," Pederson said.

See, he'd singled softly off Washington Nationals right-hander Doug Fister. So it was what they call a fister. Off Fister.

If he's really very lucky, and he works his rear off, and an organization believes in him, a man gets exactly one first big-league hit. And if he's lucky, that ball comes back to him and he holds it in his hand, and it stands for something big. Forever. Little jokes on the ball, therefore, aren't really necessary.

But, hey, Pederson was happy. He'd gotten his first start. He'd swung hard. He'd had a hit. And one day he could explain to his children, even his grandchildren, how he'd stood in there against a very good pitcher on a perfect night in Los Angeles in the midst of a pennant race and sort of lined a ball into center field to start his career. (It's his story. He gets to tell it.) And then he could explain to them the whole fister/Fister thing.

"Hey Joc," clubhouse manager Mitch Poole said, "you get your ball?"

Pederson held it up. Poole, one hand behind his back, looked it over.

"Fister off Fister," he murmured. "Huh."

Pederson nodded.

Poole took his hand from behind his back. In his hand, a plastic baggie. In the baggie, a baseball.

"Here's the real one," he said, ending Gonzalez's time-honored rookie prank.

Untouched. Smudged with grass and dirt.

Pederson smiled. That one would go to his parents.

"Thanks," he said.

More MLB coverage:

View Comments (40)
  • Trying to make hitting skid disappear, Maddon hires magician

    Hoping to make a hitting slump disappear, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon tried a trick. Presto! He hired a magician. Known for his unusual, motivational and tension-cutting clubhouse activities while with the Tampa Bay Rays, Maddon thought a … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 minutes ago
  • Kipnis' towering solo homer

    Kipnis' towering solo homer

    6/30/15: Jason Kipnis hits a moonshot to right field off Erasmo Ramirez, giving the Indians a 1-0 lead with his sixth home run of 2015 … More »

    MLB.com - 12 minutes ago
  • Bradley Jr.'s solo blast

    Bradley Jr.'s solo blast

    6/30/15: Jackie Bradley Jr. hits his first home of the season, a solo jack over the fence in right field … More »

    MLB.com - 12 minutes ago
  • Polanco's sac fly

    Polanco's sac fly

    6/30/15: Gregory Polanco lifts a fly ball to left field that is caught by Yoenis Cespedes, and Jordy Mercer scores to give the Bucs the lead … More »

    MLB.com - 15 minutes ago
  • Moreland's long two-run homer

    Moreland's long two-run homer

    6/30/15: Mitch Moreland hits a long two-run homer over the seats in right-center to tie the game at 2 … More »

    MLB.com - 24 minutes ago