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April 12, 2011

Tater Trot Tracker

Trot Times for April 11

by Larry Granillo

These are the home run days I love. Not too many home runs, but an incredibly wide variety of interesting homers and trots. I'd say more, but that would just spoil the rest of the post.

Let's get to the trots!

Home Run of the Day: Sam Fuld, Tampa Bay Rays - 19.71 seconds [video]
Technically, this spot should probably go to Kurt Suzuki (20.37* seconds), who hit a home run in the top of the 10th inning to give the A's a 2-1 victory over Mark Buehrle and the White Sox after the A's tied it up on a Juan Pierre error in the ninth. But, instead, I'm going with Sam Fuld. Not only did he have a great night - he hit a home run in his first at-bat at Fenway Park (having grown up in New England) and then legged out a double even though he only needed a single to complete the cycle - but because it allows me to talk about David Ortiz's triple.

Big Papi has been a favorite of the Tater Trot Tracker since last year, when he showed the world just how unique his home run trot is (in 2010, Papi had ten of the fourteen slowest trots in all of baseball). So, when he legs out a triple the way he did Monday night, even if it's due to a poorly played ball by B.J. Upton, he deserves to be noticed for it. Watch the highlight. There is not a single moment in that clip that Papi wasn't running hard. Indeed, those final 90 feet or so as he rounded second looked like a freight train. Nice work, David.

And, for those interested, Papi's triple took him 13.61 seconds. For comparisons sake, I timed triples from Bengie Molina and Jim Thome last year. Molina's came as part of a cycle, and clocked in at a whopping 14.67 seconds. Thome was a bit quicker than both Ortiz and Molina, reaching third in 13.08 seconds.

Slowest Trot: Pat Burrell, San Francisco Giants - 29.03 seconds [video]
Speaking of slowest trots of the year, Burrell's blast on Monday will very likely end the season as one of the ten slowest trots of 2011. In 2010, for example, the tenth slowest trot of the year belonged to David Ortiz and clocked in at 28.95 seconds. Burrell's shot would have been ninth in 2010.

How did Burrell trot so slowly? The biggest reason is that the home run clanged off the foul pole. These are the homers that no one knows is going out or not because they could so easily go fair or foul. Foul pole shots almost always see the batter stay at the plate for a moment, watching the ball sail out. Burrell definitely did this, but it's not all. He reached first base in about nine seconds, after all, which is fairly standard. All I can say is that, for whatever reason, Burrell slowed considerably down between second and third and again between third and home. It's just one of those things, I guess.

Quickest Trot: Chris Heisey, Cincinnati Reds - 17.75 seconds [video]
Every time I hear someone debating the Reds' outfield depth issues, I find myself wanting argue vehemently for a starting assignment for Chris Heisey. It has nothing to do with his defensive talents - it's because I love to watch the guy run out his home run trots. They aren't frequent, but they're always fast. Heisey's first career home run, for example, had him nearly running into the runner on base twice. This was Heisey's first home run of 2011, and I'm glad to see that he's keeping it up.

(Remember: I am running an experiment over the next couple of weeks. If you're interested in Tater Trot Tracker commentary during the day, follow the Tater Trot Tracker on Twitter at @TaterTrotTrkr. We'll see how it goes. You can also follow me at @Wezen_Ball.)

Related Content:  Tater Trot,  Home Run Trots,  Home Run Trot

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