A.J. Rodriguez couldn’t escape Cedric Mullins. So the Twitch streamer met the Orioles outfielder instead.

Published 5/15/2023 5:36 p.m. EDT, Updated 5/15/2023 6:44 p.m. EDT

Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins poses with A.J. Rodriguez, a Twitch streamer who made the now-famous "I can't escape him" video.

It all started with a leap at the wall.

A.J. Rodriguez, a Twitch streamer attempting to complete a home run challenge in the MLB The Show video game, thought he’d finally left the yard. But out of nowhere, Cedric Mullins — in video game form — jumped at the fence, snaring the deep fly ball to leave Rodriguez agape in disbelief.

And then Rodriguez uttered the now-famous line: “That’s Cedric Mullins again! It’s Cedric Mullins! Dude, I can’t escape him.”

That was all two years ago. But the video still circulates on Twitter and follows Mullins wherever he goes. When Mullins does well, such as hitting for the cycle on Friday, there’s bound to be at least one reply with the GIF of Rodriguez expressing his incredulity.

Now, Rodriguez credits Mullins — the video game and real-life version — with much of his career success. Rodriguez has risen in the video game streaming world, a 25-year-old gamer who goes by the Twitter handle @littlemann17 and roots for the Los Angeles Angels.

At Camden Yards on Monday, taking in the view from the field before the Orioles play Rodriguez’s favorite team, Rodriguez again couldn’t escape Mullins; instead, he met the Major League Baseball Star.

“Amazing,” Rodriguez said of the experience. “He basically helped jumpstart what I’m doing now with the clip. Just being in the MLB, he helped me out. I’m really excited about that. I want him to do well everywhere he goes, every game.”

Mullins finished his batting practice session before seeing Rodriguez and introducing himself. For several minutes they talked, with topics ranging from MLB The Show to their favorite ballparks to visit; Rodriguez is trying to see all 30.

At the end, Mullins asked whether the Team USA baseball jersey that Rodriguez wore was Mike Trout’s, the Angels’ star outfielder. Instead, Rodriguez wore Mullins’ own from the World Baseball Classic.

On the back, Mullins signed his name and number, and then added a personalized message: “Can’t escape me!!”

Mullins first saw the video on Twitter shortly after it began making waves in baseball communities. He thought it was “hilarious” how “Twitter kind of ran with that one.” In the time since, Mullins has sent Rodriguez a bobblehead of himself. Monday was the first time they met in person.

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“What makes it fun is that it happened naturally,” Mullins said. “He’s well known for being a Twitch streamer and playing The Show, and it’s kind of funny how that happens.”

After Mullins’ video-game grab against Rodriguez, the streamer began to run into Mullins in just about every matchup he played online.

“Any time I faced his character, he hit a home run, he made a diving play,” Rodriguez said. “It was over and over and over. It was like the perfect storm.”

But for all the mock-consternation, Mullins became one of Rodriguez’s favorite players to watch in real life, even if his digital presence was the bane of Rodriguez’s gaming. He follows Mullins’ personal accomplishments and received a flood of messages once Mullins hit a homer in the eighth inning Friday, but he also keeps track of Baltimore’s team as a whole.

The Orioles, in a sense, have become his second favorite team because of Mullins.

So meeting the player before one of two games Rodriguez will attend at Camden Yards was a dream — and it’s all because of his reaction to Mullins’ home-run-robbing catch.

“It’s been insane,” Rodriguez said. “The clip’s everywhere. I mean, you guys have seen it on Twitter. Any time Cedric does anything, I see my clip in all the replies. It’s amazing. It’s funny.”

Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins signs the back of A.J. Rodriguez's jersey.