Pretty much every American older than 30 was in for a sad shock over the weekend when Los Angeles Dodgers phenom Cody Bellinger was on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt and admitted he didn’t really know who Jerry Seinfeld was.
That stings for those of us old enough to have enjoyed the classic sitcom Seinfeld during it’s original run. Of course, Bellinger is just 21 and was only 3 when the divisive finale aired in 1998. So maybe Bellinger doesn’t remember Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer, but you can bet avid baseball fan Seinfeld knows all about Bellinger, who a week ago had three home runs in a series against Jerry’s beloved Mets.
To help the young slugger familiarize himself with one of the best TV shows ever, here’s a look at the six (six in honor of Bellinger’s multi-homer games so far this year) best baseball moments in Seinfeld’s run:
No. 6 — Elaine’s Orioles Hat
It’s not the funniest storyline the show ever produced, but perhaps the most relatable for diehard fans. In Season 3, the gang not only scored tickets at Yankee Stadium, they have seats in the owner’s box. Elaine, a proud Marylander, wears her O’s cap for the AL East showdown. The guy who gave the group the tickets thinks she should take it off. Elaine objects. Her friends are reluctant to back her up and everyone makes way too big a deal out of something minor. Classic Seinfeld.
No. 5 — George Costanza, Hitting Instructor
During Season 8, George’s girlfriend of the week catches mono, which means no sex. With that off the table, George begins to use his brain to its full potential, and it turns out that obsession has prevented him from operating as a genius all along. One of the funniest scenes in the show’s history features George at batting practice with the Yankees offering a few tips to all-time greats Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams. Alas, they still see Costanza as nothing more than the assistant to the traveling secretary. “Are you the guy who put us in that Ramada in Milwaukee,” Williams asks as George knocks a few out of the park.
No. 4 — How Interleague Play Was Negotiated
Another reminder that it’s been awhile since Seinfeld’s original run? During Season 7 interleague play was a new concept and the Houston Astros were still in the National League. George gets the assignment of representing the Yankees in interleague talks with the Astros and soon takes a liking to the way these good ol’ boys from Texas enjoy their whiskey with some friendly swearin’. This, of course, leads to a series of misunderstandings.
No. 3 — Taking the Yankees Down a Peg
George, like co-creator Larry David who provided the voice for owner George Steinbrenner, loves the Yankees. So landing a job in that organization was a dream come true. But, of course, the hilariously horrible Costanza has no loyalty. So when the Mets have a lucrative opening, he tries everything he can to get Steinbrenner to give him his outright release, that includes trashing key pieces of the club’s illustrious history, both literally and figuratively.
No. 2 — The Second Spitter
So many ball players had hilarious cameos (there wasn’t even room on this list for Danny Tartabull eating a donut with a knife and fork or Kramer promising a kid Paul O’Neill would hit two home runs), but none as memorable as Keith Hernandez’ two-episode arc in Season 3. Jerry makes friends with the former Met, but his neighbors Kramer and Newman have a beef with the man who helped win the 1986 World Series. They believe Hernandez once spit on them, a theory Jerry debunks.
No. 1 — “My Baseball People Loved Ken Phelps’ Bat”
One of George’s many schemes goes awry when his plan to leave his car parked at Yankee Stadium, creating the illusion he’d been burning the midnight oil. A series of events leads to the car becoming damaged and bloodied while George is skipping work and unreachable. Of course, Steinbrenner assumes this means George is dead and goes to visit his parents. Frank Costanza takes the news OK, but has never gotten over the 1988 trade that sent Jay Buhner to Seattle.