“Seinfeld” superfans will tell you there’s an episode for just about everything, and it seems as though Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton would agree.
In a high-leverage at-bat during Saturday’s National League Championship Series Game 2 against the Cardinals, Eaton found inspiration from the iconic sitcom that was famously about nothing. Namely, from none other than George Costanza.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer had pitched a gem, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh. But Washington still held a tenuous 1-0 lead when Eaton, 0-for-3 to that point against Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright, dug in against him for a fourth time with a pair of runners on base.
“Everything I was thinking, they did the opposite,” Eaton said postgame. “So I was thinking 3-2 [count] should be a heater here, and I’m like, ‘Well, that’s the opposite, so I should George Costanza it and just go ahead and sit breaking ball.’ And that’s what happened.”
The famously down-on-his-luck Costanza tried something new in “The Opposite,” an episode from Seinfeld’s fifth season, deciding to do the complete reverse of everything he’d done before — from changing his lunch order to openly criticizing Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in a job interview (ultimately landing him the Yankees’ assistant to the traveling secretary position).
Costanza’s approach worked for Eaton, at least for one at-bat. Wainwright indeed went with his trademark hook, and Eaton pulled it down the line for a clutch two-run double.
The insurance runs proved important, as the Cardinals scored a run in the eighth but couldn’t muster any more in the Nationals’ 3-1 win that put them up 2-0 in the series.
“George was right, and I happened to be right,” said Eaton.