It was a great day for baseball, especially here in the upper Midwest, where we had the first truly warm day of the year. The roof was open at Miller Park, for example, and any time that can happen in early April is a blessing. There were also a full slate of great games around the league yesterday, and, more importantly, a full slate of terrific home runs.
So let's stop blathering and get to the trots!
Home Run of the Day: Jim Thome, Minnesota Twins – 23.97 seconds [video]
There were two big home runs that I was dying to put up here. In the eighth inning in Milwaukee, the Brewers trailed the Cubs 5-4. Ron Roenicke sent up Casey McGehee to pinch hit against the team that let him go in the Rule 5 draft three years ago. McGehee responded with an opposite field, two-run homer that put the Brewers up and allowed them to bring in John Axford to shut the game down. As someone sitting in the stands, questioning the use of McGehee over the very hot hand of Nyjer Morgan, I can honestly say I was glad to be wrong.
Similarly, the Diamondbacks walked away a winner against the Reds on Sunday after their topsy-turvy game finally tilted in Arizona's favor for good following Chris Young's eighth-inning, three-run blast. Each shot could easily be the Home Run of the Day, but, for today at least, both must bow down to Jim Thome and his incredible power.
Thome's blast ended up meaning nothing – an eighth-inning shot in a 5-1 ballgame – but it was just too massive not to celebrate. The two-out pitch was hit so hard by Thome that sailed to straight-away center and up-and-over the twenty- or thirty-foot batter's eye. It was an absolute marvel, and deserves to be watched over-and-over again. Somehow, it was estimated at only 444 feet.
Slowest Trot: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers – 25.92 seconds [video]
While we're all marvelling at Jim Thome's power, Miguel Cabrera would like to remind everyone that he can still hit. Trotting, though? Not as well. Miggy, actually, is one of the interesting cases. When he trots, he rarely feels like he's going all that slow. In fact, he may actually appear to be running hard. But he's just a slow man and, even when he runs fast, his trot times are always slow. On Sunday, it made him the slowest trotter of the day.
Quickest Trot: Nick Hundley, San Diego Padres – 19.89 seconds [video]
The only two trots to come in under the twenty-second mark were hit in back-to-back innings by two Padres: Cameron Maybin at 19.98 seconds and Nick Hundely at 19.89 seconds. Hundley's trot was nice, of course, but Maybin's was the more intereting one to watch. On Maybin's shot to centerfield, Matt Kemp did his best to track it down, making a big jump at the wall. He wasn't close to making the catch, but the effort is worth watching (see the video).
(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.)