Is this every father’s dream — or worst nightmare?
Two brothers played on opposing Major League Baseball teams during Wednesday’s National League Championship Series, and their father was present at Petco Park in San Diego to watch his sons face off.
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola took the mound in a game in which he would face San Diego Padres catcher Austin Nola. According to the New York Post, it was the first time in baseball history that two brothers had faced one another as pitcher and batter in a playoff game.
In a nod to his conflict of interest, A.J. Nola (the Nola family patriarch) wore a Phillies jersey and a Padres hat — attire likely to raise questions in any fan unaware of the Nola family situation.
In Austin Nola’s second plate appearance against his brother Aaron, he knocked an RBI single that cut the Phillies’ lead to 4-3.
Austin Nola gets the best of his little brother Aaron as he gets a base hit to get the Padres within one.
— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) October 19, 2022
Cameras caught A.J. Nola’s reaction moments after the knock brought the go-ahead run to the plate.
conflicted parent: pic.twitter.com/HgdqHaAlJb
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 19, 2022
Austin was replaced by a relief pitcher after a subsequent hit tied the game. He was ultimately designated the losing pitcher in the Padres’ 8-5 victory.
A.J. admitted he was torn between two different dogs in this fight, speaking in a postgame interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“I had no emotion,” the dad said. “I’m going to get kicked in the leg all night by my wife like, ‘Why didn’t you clap?’”
The conflicted father also admitted the unprecedented scenario was difficult for him.
“Words can’t describe how difficult it was,” A.J. Nola said of the contest.
Austin was more jovial about the moment in baseball history, speaking after the game to the Inquirer.
“It’s special,” the catcher said. “It’s a family thing and we’re enjoying it. This doesn’t happen a lot. We’re going to have fun. It’s competitive, right?”
Aaron Nola had previously indicated that he has no plans to throw his brother a fat pitch.
“I think it was understood between both of us that we’re going all out,” the pitcher said, according to the Inquirer. “There’s no empathy here. There’s no ‘I hope you do well.'”
“I want to beat him,” he said. “I want to go to the next round and let him go home, but it’s definitely cool.”
Game 3 of the tied NLCS is slated for Friday night at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
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