The day started so well yesterday. Jackie Robinson Day around the league. Patriots Day in Boston. A walk-off win for the Red Sox. And then the tragedy.
We as a nation were all tuned into the news yesterday afternoon and evening as we learned about the chaos and pain and suffering… and heroism and courage and strength on display at the Boston Marathon. It was a lot to take in and left many of us numb or confused. What else can you feel?
As the evening turned to night, however, there wasn't much more to learn and there certainly wasn't anything new to see (I know I'm not alone when I say the images of the day are burned into my head); we needed a distraction. Baseball, thankfully, was there.
Everyone in those ballparks last night were human. The players on the field saw the same images we saw and fought the same bouts of fear and anger. The fans in the stands spent all afternoon hearing the same news we did, wondering about friends or loved ones (or friends of friends of friends). The ushers in the seats, the vendors at the windows, the attendants in the lots… no one was immune to the day. But baseball was there to give everyone three-plus hours of escape. The fans in their seats, the players on the field, everyone watching from home. Three-plus hours to remind us all that life can move on past tragedy, that we can still laugh and love and cheer even in the wake of something so devastating. And it all happened in front of number 42, on a day where we were all reminded of a man who knew fear and anger and courage and strength all too well. A day honoring the triumph of the human spirit.
If that's not the best ending you can conceive of for a day like yesterday, it's still a pretty damn good one.
Home Run of the Day: Eric Stults, San Diego Padres – 22.86 seconds [video]
There is nothing better than a pitcher hitting his first major league home run. Unless that pitcher can later say that his home run will forever be tied to Vin Scully teaching the world about the Sword of Damocles.
Slowest Trot: Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals – 25.16 seconds [video]
Jordan Zimmermann won this game for the Nationals along with the help of this Ryan Zimmerman home run. It was the first home run of the year for Washington's star third baseman. At 25.16 seconds, this trot was 2.5 seconds slower than the next slowest trot of the day (from Stults).
Quickest Trot: Peter Bourjos, Los Angeles Angels – 16.96 seconds [video]
The first sub-17 second trot of the season! It's no surprise that the trot comes from Bourjos, who still has the fastest recorded trot of a major league player. The only real surprise is that Bourjos hit the home run to begin with. The next quickest trot was over two seconds slower. Even better, Bourjos' trot could have been even faster if he a) hadn't slowed down some rounding third base and b) hadn't shuffled his feet in a weird dance as he tried to touch home plate.
All of Today's Trots Ryan Zimmerman.........25.16 Eric Stults............22.86 Maicer Izturis.........22.62 Trevor Plouffe.........22.5 Jarrod Saltalamacchia..22.44 Evan Longoria..........21.71 Joe Mauer..............21.35 J.P. Arencibia.........21.22 Neil Walker............21.04 Brendan Harris.........20.28 Nate Freiman...........20.23 Chase Utley............19.06 Peter Bourjos..........16.96