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April 1, 2011

Tater Trot Tracker

Trot Times for March 31

by Larry Granillo

I hope you have enjoyed the week's countdown to Opening Day and our inaugural Tater Trot Tracker post (hey! that's this one!). I had a lot of fun breaking down the Tater Trot Tracker into so many different aspects. If you missed any of the posts, feel free to go back and give them a look: a look at some of of 2010's best trots; a breakdown of the average tater trot in chart form; defining a "tater trot"; looking at Duane Kuiper's lone home run in 3,000+ at-bats in order to more fully understand the home run; and finally a breakdown of some of history's best home runs, including a 75-year-old Luke Appling, Sadaharu's Oh's 756th home run, and Bo Jackson's famous timeout home run.

But the season is now upon us and it's time for our daily Tater Trot Tracker posts. As was the case last year, these posts will run down the "home run of the day" as well as the quickest and slowest trots around the league. Seeing as how we can expect 20-40 home runs on a nightly basis, this means that some home runs are bound to be skipped over here in the posts. If you saw something worth commenting on, whether I wrote about the home run or not, please chime in with it. I watch every home run, but that doesn't mean I recognize every moment for what it is.

Remember, every home run around the league is watched and timed, from the moment the bat touches the ball to the moment the foot touches the plate. If trots are stopped for whatever reason (e.g., instant replay or confusion on the basepaths), the trot is considered "unmeasurable". If a camera angle does not give good view of home plate, I make every effort to find an alternative. It usually works well. Archives from last year can be found at TaterTrotTracker.com.

Now, on with the trots!

Home Run of the Day: Ramon Hernandez, Cincinnati Reds - 24.91 seconds [video]
Oh boy oh boy, do I not want to include this home run at the top of the list here. But, on an Opening Day lousy with home runs (16 in six games!), Hernandez's was by far the most important. Not even Cameron Maybin, who hit his own game-saving blast, can claim it away from Hernandez. It was the capper to a nice day for Hernandez, who had already gone 3-for-4 that day with a couple of singles. Great timing for the Reds; horrible timing for John Axford and the Brewers.

Slowest Trot: Ramon Hernandez, Cincinnati Reds - 24.91 seconds [video]
Walkoff home runs tend to be a bit slower than other home runs. The excitement of the moment and the onslaught of humanity as your team greets you at home plate adds up little-by-little to some slow times across the league. This Opening Day trot was no different. The runner-up to Hernandez's slowest trot of the day belongs to Pat Burrell, who took 23.56 seconds [video] to make his circuit late in last night's Giants-Dodgers game.

Quickest Trot: Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers - 17.06 seconds [video]
On the other hand, we were treated to some history when Gomez became the second-half in the first pair of teammates in over 40 years to begin a season with back-to-back home runs. Rickie Weeks, who led off the game with a home run, had a nice, unremarkable trot, but not Carlos Gomez. Not only did we get his cute little "bat flip" upon making contact, but he also ran the bases like a deranged man. His 17.06 second trot could very well end this seaon in the top 10 quicket tater trots of the year. It's terrific, then, that we get to see all of this on Opening Day, instead of some random day in June or something. The gods must be smiling on us right now (unless, of course, you count that Ramon Hernandez walkoff...).

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