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Kiké Hernández goes from ‘Bend and Snap’ sensation to postseason hero

While all of MLB is talking about Hernández’s scintillating October, gay baseball fans knew he was going to be a star two years ago.

Tampa Bay Rays Vs. Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in ALDS
A walk-off snap.
Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Boston Red Sox center field Kiké Hernández has become the breakout star of the 2021 baseball playoffs.

After five home runs in his first six postseason games, a slew of jaw-dropping defensive gems, and an ALDS winning walk-off sacrifice fly, Hernández cemented his status the most fascinating player this October. The Fenway faithful have chanted his name during every at bat and MLB has turned him into a cult hero.

To which gay baseball fans might be asking, “What took you so long?”

It’s no secret that LGBTQ culture has been ahead of the mainstream in everything from disco to the Free Britney movement. Now that Hernández is dominating October, it’s time to remind everyone that we’ve known Kiké was a star since 2019.

In other words, he’s like if voguing could hit a slider.

Hernández first landed on gay culture’s radar two years ago with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He became an internet sensation thanks to an Instagram post where he took a break from batting practice to demonstrate his remarkable talents at the Bend and Snap, a move made famous in “Legally Blonde.”

In that moment, we all knew that Hernández’s No. 1 Baseball Reference comp should have been Jennifer Coolidge.

Once the Dodgers and Hernández shared the clip of the “Bend and Snap” heard ‘round the world, LGBTQ Twitter blew up like it was part of a new Olivia Rodrigo video. As Dawn Ennis and Cyd Zeigler wrote at the time:

“While Hernández’s moves aren’t ‘gay,’ his embrace of shaking his backside, and his own willingness to publicly share it, does signal his complete comfort with something many people consider feminine or ‘gay’...Hernández’s latest is a not-so-subtle message that the mandate of traditional, straight, macho athletes is fading.”

Even Reese Witherspoon herself endorsed Hernández’s Bend and Snap. Which is the gay icon equivalent of Willie Mays saying “Nice catch!”

In that moment, our community could’ve told anyone that Hernández was going places. But no one in baseball wanted to listen.

Indeed, even after winning a World Series ring last year, the Dodgers opted to let Hernández walk in free agency and he ended up signing a two-year deal with the Red Sox for a relatively cheap $14 million. Three games on his way to an ALCS MVP, that’s already turned out to be a bargain.

The lesson? Sure, scouts and analytics are nice. But when it comes to wSC+ (Weighted Smokeshow Created Plus), the gay community knows what we’re talking about.