Game 6 Of The NLCS Began With An Epic National Anthem Standoff … But Who Won?

  • Rick Chandler

Who really won the Great Game 6 National Anthem Standoff? Depends on how you look at it.

The Cardinals drubbed the Dodgers 9-0 to win the NLCS on Friday night, with rookie Michael Wacha throwing seven scoreless innings to beat Clayton Kershaw and Dodgers for the second time in the series. Carlos Beltran had three hits and two RBI, and Yasiel Puig was 0-for-3. But the real drama occurred before the first pitch, as Scott Van Slyke and Joe Kelly both remained on the field following the National Anthem in a staredown contest to see which player would step into the dugout first.

Yes, this happened.

If only all of our world conflicts could be decided in such fashion.

At one point Van Slyke’s teammates fitted him with a batting helmet — a message of standoff solidarity. Finally home plate umpire Greg Gibson got fed up and began screaming (hilarious), and that’s when Kelly broke stride and appeared to step toward the dugout. The Dodgers claimed victory, high-fiving Van Slyke. But did he really win?

Looking at the video, Kelly only appeared to step into the dugout — he actually faked, and then stepped back out. Van Slyke actually entered his dugout first. A crafty bit of deception that foreshadowed the outcome of he game.

They explain, via

“I’d never done that,” Van Slyke said. “I stayed out there after the anthem was over and noticed Kelly was out there, too, and I figured I would stay longer than him. Then I caught his eye and he had this big smile, like he was telling me he could stay longer than I could, and before you know it, it was just the two of us.

“It felt like a really long time. My back was tightening up and my feet hurt. I tried to get him to leave, but he looked away. Guys in the dugout were yelling at me telling me not to leave, so I didn’t want to leave. It was fun.”

After the Cards’ 9-0 win punched their ticket to the World Series, Kelly said he’d been doing it all postseason. Van Slyke was the first opponent to notice.

“After every national anthem, I usually stand there and wait for the other team to leave,” Kelly said. “It’s something that I like doing, and I guess I feel like I get a little grin out of that. But I guess [Van Slyke] caught onto it, and he just started standing there. And so I just started standing there and didn’t want to move my ground until they did, so it was fun.”


The Red Sox and Tigers will have a tough time following this.

But .. are the Cardinals really the winners here? Some say no.