David Lennon is an award-winning columnist and author who has been a staff writer at Newsday since 1991.
LOS ANGELES - No he didn't. Mickey Mouse ears? After all that smack from Adam Wainwright two days ago? Yep, Adrian Gonzalez went there Wednesday in Game 5 of the NLCS. With the Dodgers facing elimination, Gonzalez took Joe Kelly deep into the rightfield bleachers, and then launched a viral sensation before he could even get a sip of Gatorade.
Shortly after crossing the plate in the third inning, and with the Dodgers waiting at the dugout steps, Gonzalez put both hands up to the sides of his helmet. It was Mickey, and Gonzalez -- still surfing the adrenaline tide from his go-ahead homer -- had decided he would have the last word in the verbal slap fight with Wainwright.
This was not a home run celebration as much as a finger flip to the Cardinals, who must have experienced a glitch in their operational software when Wainwright chose to call out Gonzalez after the Dodgers' 3-0 win Monday night. While everyone was distracted by Yasiel Puig's antics at the plate, it was Wainwright who focused his crosshairs on Gonzalez for allegedly badgering him from third base.
It seemed like very un-Cardinal-like behavior from their ace. Or maybe Wainwright should have picked a different cartoon animal. With Disney only 32 miles down I-5, Gonzalez immediately owned the Mickey label, and then turned the insult on its ear (sorry) with Wednesday's 428-foot rainbow shot, the first Dodgers home run of the NLCS and the first of his two in Game 5.
"I was just having fun with the comment that was made," Gonzalez said. "Nothing against them or anything. It was just to have fun."
In doing so, Gonzalez helped transform Chavez Ravine into another Magic Kingdom for the afternoon. Once his Mouseketeer routine was over, Zack Greinke promptly retired 13 straight, with Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis both going yard. The four homers tied the Dodgers' record for an NLCS game, dating to Game 1 of the 1978 series against the Phillies.
After L.A. had waited those 41 innings for its first home run, Gonzalez figured it was time for something special. And if he could thumb his ears at the Cardinals along the way, why the heck not? Someone had to fill the void left by the hurting Hanley Ramirez, who was again pulled early, and now Gonzalez-- labeled a selfish malcontent in his final Boston days --