“It hit me pretty hard; it was really emotional,” Dylan Lamb says of call from his older brother.
Crash, the frightened black lab, didn’t know what the heck was happening.
One moment, Crash and his roommates were lounging on the couch watching a baseball game. Probably nothing unusual about that scene, considering his roommates both play for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
But then the next moment, one of his roommates — a certain third baseman with a particular interest in this Washington Huskies baseball game — was jumping off the couch, hopping in the middle of the room as if he’d been stung by a wasp, shaking and screaming and laughing uncontrollably.
“Poor Crash — I scared the crap out of him,” Jake Lamb said.
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A 45-second video of Lamb’s celebration — raw, emotional and, for him, nearly a decade in the making — shows the former Husky standout reacting as the UW baseball team scores the winning run in the 10th inning at Cal State Fullerton on Sunday night, sending the Huskies to the College World Series for the first time in program history.
The video has gone viral on Lamb’s Instagram page, viewed more than 31,000 times as of Tuesday afternoon (and many thousands more on other social-media sites).
“People who know me and have played with me know I don’t like showing any type of emotion. I’m pretty level-headed all the time,” Lamb said in a phone interview Tuesday. “Throughout a 162-game season, it gets exhausting acting like that every game. Some guys can do it. I definitely can’t.
“But,” he added, “I’m a completely different guy when it comes to being a fan, especially when it’s my alma mater. I turn into a different person.”
UW coach Lindsay Meggs said Lamb’s heartfelt reaction captured the feelings for so many in and around the program.
“I don’t think anybody can understand how much this means to people until you see something like that,” said Meggs, who coached Lamb from 2010-12. “I think that (video) is worth a thousand words, as they say. … That was maybe the best moment for our program in terms of what this means to be people, how excited they really are.”
Lamb, a National League All-Star last year, didn’t know his Diamondbacks teammate and roommate Archie Bradley was recording his celebration. And he didn’t care: The moment was particularly personal for Lamb, whose brother, Dylan, is a freshman pitcher for the Huskies.
Before he posted the video on Instagram, Jake called Dylan shortly after the game Sunday night. The brothers are separated by eight years, but Jake said they are “extremely close” — so close that Dylan says he models not only his approach to baseball after Jake’s but also his general approach to life.
“Me and him are the same exact person off the field — same sense of humor and everything,” Dylan said.
In that initial call after the game, the brothers didn’t say much. There were a lot of “OH MY GOD!” screams, a few “HOLY CRAP!” exclamations. Mostly, they sobbed.
“It hit me pretty hard; it was really emotional,” Dylan said Tuesday, a day before the Huskies depart for Omaha and the College World Series. “He told me how proud he was to achieve his childhood dream and he’s just super happy for everyone involved.”
The brothers connected again later Sunday night, when they were able to put complete sentences together.
“I told him, ‘Dude, you’re forever going to be remembered in Washington athletic history. Forever. That’s insane, and that’s something I can’t say I did. … You’re writing your own story,’” Jake said.
The Lamb brothers both attended Bishop Blanchet High School, Jake still spends his winters in Seattle. In the offseason, he hits in the UW batting cages just about every day, refining a swing that helped him hit 30 homers and drive in 105 runs for the Diamondbacks last season.
Dylan always planned to follow his brother to UW. Initially, he planned to play third base and first base, just like Jake. But then last summer, he started to have some success as a submarine-style pitcher, and it stuck. In 17 relief appearances for the Huskies this season, he has a 3.95 ERA over 27.1 innings.
Dylan was a regular at Husky Ballpark back when Jake was playing for the Huskies — back when UW players had to trek some 500 yards from the meager field to their locker room in Hec Ed. The program turned a significant corner in 2014 when the new $19 million ballpark was completed, featuring a state-of-the-art clubhouse and an indoor training facility.
“I was coming to every game when I was a little kid,” Dylan said. “I just know it means a lot to (Jake). He was here before the stadium, before the locker room — he was here really when this was nothing. To see how far it’s come in less than 10 years, and to have his little brother in it, that was just really special to him.”