The night's slate of games may have seemed pretty bare on Thursday, at least for those who couldn't watch minor league Opening Day on MiLB.tv. With only two games taking place during prime time, it's understandable. But there were actually ten games played, which, considering that means that 20 of the 30 clubs were active, is a pretty full day for a Thursday. It just so happens that nearly all of these games were played in the afternoon, giving the stay-at-home crowd some pretty entertaining fare.
What was paltry about Thursday's action were the home runs. In those ten games, only nine home runs were hit. If that kind of random occurrence had taken place earlier in the week, we'd probably be inundated with "Year of the Pitcher II?" headlines to go alongside the "Red Sox 0-6" ones we see already. The whims of small sample size.
There were quite a few entertaining trots in those nine home runs, though, so let's get on with the trots!
Home Run of the Day: Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals – 24.19* seconds [video]
Technically, it took Jayson Werth 24.19 seconds to complete his first home run trot as a member of the Nationals. His blast was lined to right in Florida, with the ball hitting the top of the fence. The umpires called it a home run pretty quickly, but Werth and the Marlins' defense played it out as if the ball was live. Werth ended up sliding into third as he raced to beat the throw. As he got up from the slide, the umpire told him to head home, and so he did, touching home plate 24.19 seconds after his bat made contact with the ball. The home run was later reviewed and upheld.
However, the Tater Trot Tracker strives to record uninterrupted trots. Because Werth stopped his trot on the slide, his time will not be counted. This happens a few times a month, when a player stops at a bag because he was unsure of the call or because the umpires ruled a ball in play that was later overturned by replay. It seems the most fair way to deal with these exceptions.
Slowest Trot: Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals – 23.92 seconds [video]
With Werth's trot disqualified, the slowest trot of the days falls to Werth's teammate. In the 12th inning of a 3-3 ballgame, LaRoche stepped up to the plate with a runner on first and one out. The second pitch from Edward Mujica was crushed to rightfield, with the crack of the bat reverberating around the empty ballpark. There's a good chance this would have been the Home Run of the Day if it wasn't for Werth and his slide into third. The only other player to take longer than 23 seconds to run out his trot was Vladimir Guerrero, who was celebrating his first homer as an Oriole.
Quickest Trot: Scott Rolen, Cincinnati Reds – 17.72 seconds [video]
For a day with so few home runs, we certainly were lucky to see so many quick trots. Troy Tulowitzki (18.89 seconds) and Ryan Braun (18.4 seconds) each had quick, sub-19 second trots on Thursday, but neither could overtake Scott Rolen. The 36-year old third baseman – who is only considered fast among the Tater Trot Tracker crowd (a whole five people!) – continued his ways from last year, giving us a terrific 17.72 sec. trot. We're likely to see a few more of those as the season progresses.
(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.)