Forgive me if I can't be completely objective about Friday's happenings. I was at Miller Park last night as the Brewers – and Ryan Braun – beat the Marlins to (eventually) clinch the National League Central crown. It was quite the scene, something very cool to be a part of. Braun's home run, Gallardo's strikeouts, Axford's save, watching the Cardinals lose on the scoreboard with 45,000 other people, champagne celebrations… it all makes it a bit difficult to be objective. Sorry.
Now let's see some trots.
Home Run of the Day: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers – 23.14 seconds [video]
Did you expect anything else? If you haven't already, I'd sincerely recommend watching the video – especially the second version of Braun's home run, as called by Bob Uecker. The home run came in a 1-1 game in the bottom of the eighth inning and was a goner off the bat. And, boy, did Braun know it. Living in Wisconsin, I'll be seeing that replay over-and-over for the next few months (or years). I'm looking forward to it.
There were quite a few other candidates for Home Run of the Day, though. Matt Kemp hit #37 to tie Albert Pujols atop the leaderboard and give Kemp two-thirds of the Triple Crown; it was also an opposite-field bomb to the second set of seats in Petco Field. Jim Thome hit a home run in Cleveland on Jim Thome Night. Craig Gentry hit an inside-the-park home run. Alfonso Soriano hit a late-inning, three-run bomb to give the Cubs the lead in St. Louis and, eventually, the Brewers the division crown.
With all these memorable home runs and three different teams clinching their divisions on Friday, this may have been the most exciting night for baseball league-wide all season.
Slowest Trot: Jim Thome, Cleveland Indians – 26.02 seconds [video]
As I said, it was Jim Thome Night in Cleveland, where fans in the crowd received a "600 Home Runs" poster and the Indians announced that Thome would receive a statue at Progressive Field. With that kind of moment at hand, you knew Thome would find a way to deposit a ball over the fence. And he did, pleasing Indians fans for miles around. The trot was a bit slow, though that can mostly be chalked up to Thome walking into home plate thanks to the baserunners standing so close to the plate.
Prince Fielder's first-inning blast does not have a time because the Fox Sports stations broadcasting the game for both teams decided not to show Fielder cross the plate. His time was something near 23 seconds, but there's no way to no for sure.
Quickest Trot: Craig Gentry, Texas Rangers – 14.88 seconds [video]
Yes, this was an inside-the-park home run, but that's not what makes Gentry's homer so special. What makes it so special is that this was an inside-the-park home run that also happened to be Gentry's first-career home run. Gentry wasn't even running that hard as he rounded first base, as he thought that the ball would be easily caught or fielded. Instead, the Mariners' outfielders turned into the Keystone Cops for a moment, giving Gentry a chance to turn on the jets. A 14.88 second trot, when the runner didn't even run his fastest for a quarter of the way, is a great time.
All of Today's Trots Jim Thome........26.02 Matt Kemp........21.79 Alfonso Soriano..24.18 Jemile Weeks.....21.27 Paul Konerko.....23.63 Carlos Santana...20.93 Chris Nelson.....23.62 Torii Hunter.....20.69 Miguel Cabrera...23.4 Salvador Perez...20.49 Garrett Jones....23.33 Kelly Johnson....20.43 Adrian Beltre....23.31 Eric Hosmer......20.43 Ryan Braun.......23.14 David DeJesus....20.37 Orlando Cabrera..23.06 Clint Barmes.....20.28 Chris Parmelee...22.84* Josh Hamilton....18.71 Alcides Escobar..22.65 Craig Gentry.....14.88 Jayson Werth.....22.44 Prince Fielder...N/A Jeff Francoeur...22.42