I usually do my best to keep abreast of the day's goings on in the baseball world (through Twitter and whatnot) so that I don't accidentally miss something home run-related when I watch through the videos. There are times, though, when I don't get a chance to do that and, as such, go into the home run videos pretty blind only to discover some pretty interesting things happened. Sunday was a day like that.
Let's get to those trots.
Home Run of the Day: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals – 24.26 seconds* [video]
I could get away with not giving the Home Run of the Day to Pujols' walkoff yesterday because of the terrific play by Torii Hunter in the Yankees/Angels game. There is no valid excuse to skip over Pujols today, when he hit a walkoff home run for the second night in a row. I can only imagine how excited Cardinals fans are by the back-to-back walkoffs. You don't have to imagine how excited Pujols is, though – you can see it in his trots. Just watch Saturday's walkoff trot and then Sunday's trot. That's excitement right there.
Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley also had a big game, hitting a home run, a double, and earning a run-scoring walk in Cincinnati. Almost any other day that would be enough for Home Run of the Day, but it pales in comparison to Pujols today.
The Ramos home run came late in the game Sunday and put the Nationals ahead 4-0. It also came one batter after Danny Espinosa was hit in the back (and, apparently, a few days after a Nationals player was nearly hit in the head by a D-backs pitcher). Ramos began his trot as normal, not sure if the ball would sail out. By the time he reached first, it was clearly gone. At that moment, you can see Ramos slow down some. My first thought, as I watched the home run the first time, was that it looked like Ramos had slowed down into his final walk – you know how trotters tend to slow down those last 10 or 15 feet before home plate – about 250 feet too early.
But it only got worse. At both second and third base, you can see Ramos go into an even slower trot before essentially strolling the last 45 feet. The Nationals feed (shown in the highlight above) shows Ramos get to the area of the plate, but it's hard to see when he touches home. Switching over to the Arizona feed, the steps are clearer but, as he gets to the plate, the camera moves over to a very angry Matt Williams in the Diamondbacks dugout. The Arizona broadcasters noticed the slow trot right away, commenting on it from the time he rounded second base until well after the play was done. They even went back and showed replays of the trot (which is where I was able to determine with certainty when Ramos stepped on the plate).
When I interviewed Duane Kuiper, he told me that the one trotter he admired more than anyone else was Matt Williams, for his no-nonsense way of rounding the bases. It makes sense, then, that Williams was so ticked off in the dugout. And it wasn't an accident on Ramos' part (nor could it be blamed on his injured leg from earlier in the game). Ramos told Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore that he did the slow trot on purpose, in order to "see those guys angry". Clearly it worked.
(And, in case anyone was wondering, this is the most spite-filled home run trot I've seen since Jose Bautista showed up the Yankees last year.)
Quickest Trot: Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers – 18.77 seconds [video]
As you can imagine, Andrus' home run was much less notable than Ramos'. Well, accept, of course, for the inherent notability of Elvis Andrus ever hitting a home run at all. It's pretty rare, after all.
All of Today's Trots Wilson Ramos......28.94 Ryan Raburn.......21.23 Miguel Carbera....25.9 Brian McCann......21.19* Adrian Gonzalez...25.36 Adam Lind #1......21.16 Albert Pujols.....24.26* Mark Teixeira #1..21.07 Diory Hernandez...24.18 Chris Iannetta....20.88 Yunel Escobar.....23.63 Brett Hayes.......20.64 Nick Swisher......23.61* Drew Stubbs.......20.44 Chad Billingsley..21.99 Michael Morse.....20.41 Carl Crawford.....21.97 Gordon Beckham....20.36 Kevin Kouzmanoff..21.91 Neil Walker.......20.02 Rickie Weeks......21.86 Mark Trumbo.......20.01 Matt Kemp.........21.82 Josh Wilson.......19.83* Mark Reynolds.....21.71 Kelly Johnson.....19.74 Mitch Moreland....21.42 Miguel Olivo......19.19 Adam Lind #2......21.27 Elvis Andrus......18.77 Mark Teixeira #2..21.24