Phillies’ hit celebration, explained: Why Philadelphia players juggle hands after hits

Baseball teams have begun to really embrace the fun aspect of the game. Every team has its own home run celebration. Players have unique gestures when they reach base. And everyone has a bat flip in their back pocket.

That doesn’t always mean these celebrations are rated E for Everyone. And the Phillies have picked up a celebration after collecting hits that appears to be a bit of an inappropriate gesture.

When the players collect a hit, they lower their hands below the belt and begin to make a juggling motion. 

So what exactly is that celebration, and what is its origin? Here’s what you need to know.

MORE: Why is Bryce Harper playing first base?

Phillies hand gesture, explained

When the Phillies pick up a hit, they lower their hands and appear to be juggling two somethings. Yes, they are what you think they might be.

According to The Athletic, the celebration has its origins in the film “Major League II.” Character Pedro Cerrano is struggling at the plate, and his teammate, Isuro “Kamikaze” Tanaka calls him out. The teammate can’t find the right words before flipping through a translation book before settling on “marbles,” gesturing below the belt.

The next game, Cerrano hits a home run, and as he’s running to first base, he repeats the gesture back to Tanaka as the two celebrate the win by Cleveland.

No one will fully explain the celebration, per The Athletic. Catcher Garrett Stubbs said in July he “can’t tell you about our celebrations.”

The gesture by the Phillies has had some additions made to it recently. According to FanGraphs, Harper will often start the celebration by making a slit-throat gesture. Against the Marlins in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series, Nick Castellanos juggled before showing his ring finger to the Phillies’ bench, a la LSU athletics.

The Phillies are hoping to make another extended run in the postseason one year after going from the Wild Card Series to the World Series. As the stakes get higher, don’t be surprised to see the celebration continue to evolve.

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