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Happy 10th birthday to ‘Here comes the pizza’

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Or, “The unwritten rules of throwing a slice of pizza at someone four seats away.”

When one enters “Here comes the” into Google, autocomplete suggests a lot of things. Here comes the sun. Here comes the airplane. Here comes the boom. Here comes the Lion Guard.

When you enter “Here comes the” into Google, though, your internet history gets sucked into the algorithm, and “Here comes the pizza” is the first result.

Congratulations. You’re in a special club. It’s not that special, of course. There are 1.5 million views on YouTube, and only half of them can be yours. But it’s special enough, and we should have a secret handshake.

If you’re not in the club yet, oh, oh my, come in, this is your lucky day. “Here comes the pizza” is 10 years old this weekend, and it’s time to celebrate it all over again.

I’d like to think at MLB Advanced Media, a nervous staffer came up to his boss with a list of illicit YouTube videos that needed DMCA takedowns.

“Aaron hitting 715?”

“Take it down.”

“Mike Trout scaling the wall? Looks like there’s a whole playlist.”

“Take them all down.”

“Here comes the pizza?”

“T ... no. No, that one stays.”

There’s a difference between dumb baseball highlights that get people excited about baseball and something that belongs to the world. In honor of the “Here comes the pizza” birthday, I would like to list my favorite things about it.

1. That somebody threw a piece of pizza at somebody else

My favorite part of this video is when someone consciously decided to wing a piece of pizza at someone four seats away. One second there’s an innocuous foul ball drifting into the stands, no different from the dozens of foul balls in every game, and the next second there’s a soggy ninja star sailing through the air, too floppy to be aerodynamic, too ambitious to be earthbound.

The time elapsed from Garret Anderson not making the play to the decision to throw the pizza: 1.62 seconds. I almost want to give it extra credit for its immediacy, but that would be false. There was a beat. That’s enough time to make a conscious decision.

I have done a lot of dumb things without thinking. Scrambled to catch a chef’s knife that was knocked off the counter. Pulled out into traffic when I shouldn’t have. Taken a sip of coffee that was way too hot. But these aren’t things that I deliberated on. I didn’t think, “I am going to see if I can whip my hand around to catch this knife when I drop it. For science.”

This was someone who thought about it and decided, yes, this is what needs to happen right now. This is the appropriate response. And here comes the pizza.

What if the line at the pizza concession was too long? What if the perpetrator was in the mood for something different? Could this have been even funnier? Let’s quickly explore some possibilities:

  • Hot dog — not as funny, unless the wiener separates from the bun like the booster separating from a space shuttle, hitting two people in one throw
  • Nachos — close, but there’s too much anarchy, too many victims to make it a guilt-free laugh riot
  • Cracker Jack — not as funny
  • Popcorn — not as funny
  • Large 32 oz. beverage — OK, maybe that’s as funny

But throwing bottles is a thing. It’s a trope, something that you would see in a movie. There isn’t a lot of distance between throwing a bottle and throwing a plastic cup.

No one throws a piece of pizza. And if I had to put my finger on it, my favorite part of “Here comes the pizza” is when the guy throws the piece of pizza.

The giggling

Oh, goodness. The giggling.

Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo need a replay to see what happened, and their first reaction was about what it should have been: Wait, did someone throw a slice of pizza at that guy?

But they come back from the commercial break giggling. This would have been a non-event with at least half the announcing crews in the league, with someone with a very announcer-y voice mentioning the incident once — “Looks like someone threw a slice of pizza. Not sure why he would do that, and I’m sure he’s going to be asked to leave.” — and then dropping it.

Remy and Orsillo studied the incident between innings and couldn’t get enough. They are, like us, transfixed. Transfixed and giggling. The giggling becomes contagious, like it does in the best unexpected moments of comedy. You’re infected by their enthusiasm because it’s impossible not to be.

“Here comes the pizza”

Without these four words, there’s less giggling. With less giggling, there’s less majesty. With less majesty, this is a clip that gets forgotten after a season, at best.

Instead, Jerry Remy describes it with perfect timing and rhythm:

“Now I’m not sure why it was necessary, but watch ... I can’t circle because I don’t have my telestrator butHERECOMESTHEPIZZA, see?”

His immediacy mirrors the unexpectedness of the pizza being thrown. For his part, Don Orsillo shares the only possible response:

“[unable to catch breath] eereeess um pizza”

He is all of us.

Remy would later zapruder the film even further, adding the inner monologue of the perpetrator:

“Honey, I’m going to the ballgame today, and if I see some guy, I’m going to throw a piece of pizzerr at him.”

It makes more sense when he explains it like that. That’s what announcers are supposed to do, after all. They’re supposed to provide insight.

There was almost a pizza brawl

Fights in the stands aren’t funny, and people can get seriously hurt. Do not fight people at baseball games.

But if there has to be a fight, let it be over someone throwing a piece of pizza at you, which makes you the Pepsi Fan of the Game.

The guy didn’t notice that he had a piece of pizza thrown at him in the chaos. Now imagine the conversation afterward.

Hey, that guy threw a piece of pizza at you.

That’s a special kind of violation, an assault made worse by the unexpectedness. We’re used to the pizza being thrown by now, but imagine that moment, when he heard it for the first time. Imagine different scenarios.

Hey, that guy picked up your keys and put them in his mouth.

Or ...

Hey, that guy took a Polaroid of you and ate it, piece by piece.

It’s the randomness that makes it more invasive. This isn’t someone shouting a curse word at you. This is much, much worse.

And there was almost a pizza brawl because of it.

This was frontier justice

Years later, the pizza thrower explained his side of the story.

He’s more sheepish than you imagine someone capable of an impromptu pizza assault would be, and he explains the events succinctly:

“This gentleman was not being too friendly to everybody else in the stands. And there was a rain delay, so we were there for a long, long time, and a lot of people weren’t so happy with what he had to say. There was a foul ball that distracted him, and I threw a pizza at his head, and I wish I could take it back, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯”

This is just the word of one man, the accused. It shouldn’t be held up as gospel.

But I believe him. Oh, my, how I believe him. I can see the whole thing in my mind. This guy is guilty:

Guilty, guilty, guilty. Throughout the whole rain delay, this guy was getting drunker and more obnoxious. He is the amalgam of every Boston stereotype, a mix of every person in the Yankees Fan GIF, just tailored for a different region.

What was he doing during that rain delay? It doesn’t matter. You can imagine it.

GUY: EH, YEAH, FUCKIN CHARLES SHOULD BE HERE, CAUSE HE’D REALLY APPRECIATE THESE SEATS, NOT LIKE THESE FAT ASSHOLES BEHIND ME

FAN BEHIND HIM: hey wait

GUY: EH, YOU’RE NOT GOING TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT, PORKY. LOOK AT THIS GUY PUTTING THE TAHP ON, HEY YOU SUCK GROUNDSKEEPER, TERRIBLE TAHP TECHNIQUE.

For an hour before the rain delay. During the hour-long delay. And up until the moment when Garret Anderson knocks his beer away. A constant stream of obnoxious.

It’s not enough to spill the beer, though. There needs to be frontier justice.

And here comes the pizza.

Has it been 10 years already? It’s hard to believe. But we’ll be back here in 20, 25, and 50 years to relive one of the greatest moments in booth-absurdity synergy in the televised era. Because it deserves nothing less, and possibly so much more. There went the pizza. And there went our hearts.

Happy birthday, old friend. Happy birthday to, “Here comes the pizza.”