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April 23, 2011

Tater Trot Tracker

Trot Times for April 22

by Larry Granillo

With three rainouts around the league Friday night, it was an abbreviated night in home runs. That didn't stop the night from being full of intriguing home runs and trots, though. There was a home run awarded upon review, a pitcher's home run, a walkoff blast, and a few incredibly slow and incredibly fast trots to enjoy.

Let's get to those trots!

Home Run of the Day: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers - 20.71 seconds [video]
In his first at-bat after signing a five-year, $105 million contract extension that will effectively make Braun a Milwaukee Brewer for life, the Miller Park crowd welcomed him with a long, loud standing ovation. It wasn't exactly storybook, though, when he lined into a double-play to end the first inning. Two innings later, Braun stepped back to the plate with two runners on base. The crowd again welcomed him with a thundering ovation. This time it paid off. One swing of the bat from Braun and the ball was lasered into the bullpen to give the Brewers a 4-2 lead. The crowd wanted nothing more than a home run from Ryan Braun in Friday night's game. He delivered and is the Home Run of the Day.

Slowest Trot: Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox - 28.25 seconds [video]
Paul Konerko hit a high, towering foul ball down the leftfield line. He watched it for a moment, body angled towards third base, feet flat. As the ball looked more and more foul, Konerko even shuffled his feet on his way back towards the dugout so he could take a few more cuts before stepping in to face Verlander again. But then he noticed something - the ball might stay fair. With bat still in hand, Konerko took a few slow steps up the first base line. The ball finally hit the foul pole, Konerko dropped the bat and started his trot. By the time he made it back to home plate to score the run, more than 28-seconds had elapsed.

The Mets' Ike Davis hit a home run on Friday that hit the orange line in Citi Field's centerfield. It was initially ruled in play, forcing Davis to stop on second. A review by the umpires overturned the ruling on the field, awarding Davis with a home run. His trot is unmeasurable, however. The Tater Trot Tracker only counts continuous trots.

Quickest Trot: Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers - 16.93 seconds [video]
The Tater Trot Tracker twitter account was bombarded with messages last night, from fans of both the Brewers and Reds. It turns out there were super-quick trots from players in both games. In St. Louis, Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips hightailed his home run trot to the tune of 18.18 seconds. The trot would have been much quicker if the visitors' dugout wasn't on the third base side. Players don't like running through home plate (and towards the first base dugout) if their dugout is on the third base side. Instead, they force themselves to slow down (and sometimes stop) before home plate so they can do a quick, tight turn as soon as they touch the plate. This is what Brandon Phillips did, likely cutting a second or more off his great trot. Watch Phillips' home run.

Carlos Gomez didn't have the third-base dugout problem, but he did have something else to deal with on his quick trot: baserunners. Each additional runner on base slows a player's home run trot down by a small amount. Not only do the trotters have to worry about catching up to any runners on base, but they also have to slow down at the plate almost as if they were returning to the third base dugout. The baserunners that are driven in by the home run tend to congregate around the plate, waiting to congratulate the home run hitter; this, of course, prevents the trotter from running through the base, forcing him to slow down. Gomez's late blast was a three-run homer. The two baserunners did force him to slow down a bit in his last few steps, but even so he managed a 16.93 second trot. Very impressive, even knowing how fast Gomez is. It's tough to get around the bases that quickly, even without baserunners to worry about.

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<< Previous Article
Expanded Horizons: Eig... (04/22)
<< Previous Column
Tater Trot Tracker: Tr... (04/22)
Next Column >>
Tater Trot Tracker: Tr... (04/24)
Next Article >>
The Week in Quotes: Ap... (04/25)

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