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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Giancarlo Stanton opposite-field home run challenges laws of physics

“I’ve never seen a home run like that. That thing took two seconds to get out of the ballpark. I thought it would be a foul ball and hit the base of the wall or something.

“It was a line drive — I just didn’t think it had 400 feet of carry on it. He’s a strong boy.”

 

 

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:35 PM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, feats of strength, giancarlo stanton, marlins

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   1. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:10 PM (#4728972)
He's a stud, but it wasn't THAT big a deal.
   2. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 18, 2014 at 12:08 AM (#4728994)
Agree with #1. Kind of cool how it looked like it would be a double or something off the bat because of the low trajectory, however not a huge deal.

OMG, we are all beginning to sound like Ray....
   3. Walt Davis Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:06 AM (#4729036)
It was over the wall. It was always over the wall.
   4. Publius Publicola Posted: June 18, 2014 at 06:33 AM (#4729045)
“It was a line drive — I just didn’t think it had 400 feet of carry on it. He’s a strong boy.


Ohoh.

I bet he's a good dancer too.
   5. boteman Posted: June 18, 2014 at 07:30 AM (#4729053)
Looks like a good home run to me. Not a great one. Virtually every RF in the league could have hit it. And would have, had they been a wall of muscle checking in at 6'6" and 240 pounds and hit it squarely.

His momentum was carrying him into the pitch, which is why people were fooled into thinking this was a special home run. I see nothing remarkable about it.
   6. BDC Posted: June 18, 2014 at 07:58 AM (#4729056)
Never saw him hit that home run.

I mean, I really didn't :)
   7. Rants Mulliniks Posted: June 18, 2014 at 08:34 AM (#4729066)
I thought it was rather impressive, off the bat I would have expected a single if the RF was playing him within 15' of the line.
   8. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 18, 2014 at 08:41 AM (#4729069)
Damn that thing was smoked. As the article notes it's one thing to pull a home run like that but I don't remember seeing anyone hit a ball like that to the opposite field.
   9. bunyon Posted: June 18, 2014 at 08:44 AM (#4729073)
He is strong but opposite field homers are not impossible. If you learn to hit the other way, a power hitter will have power to the opposite field. It's just that so many of our current power hitters didn't learn that. It's pull, pull, pull. To the point that wild shifts can be played and they can't do anything about it.

Learn to hit the other way, kids.
   10. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: June 18, 2014 at 08:55 AM (#4729080)
The first baseman almost robbed him of that homer!
   11. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 08:58 AM (#4729082)
The epiphany that sparked the Babe Ruth revolution was Ruth's discovery that, contrary to what managers had been teaching for 40 years, you can swing for circuit clouts and consistently hit them. Similarly, and if I'm recall right the NHBA quoted Greg Maddux with this observation, the epiphany that launched the baseball of the 1990s was the discovery that, contrary to what managers had been teaching for 100+ years, you can stand right over the plate and drive the outside pitch over the opposite-field fence.
   12. AROM Posted: June 18, 2014 at 09:10 AM (#4729093)
He is strong but opposite field homers are not impossible. If you learn to hit the other way, a power hitter will have power to the opposite field. It's just that so many of our current power hitters didn't learn that. It's pull, pull, pull. To the point that wild shifts can be played and they can't do anything about it.


I'm pretty sure the current generation, and the sluggers from the 80s/90s and on, hit more opposite field homers than any previous generation of power hitters.

Some notables - Eric Davis, Mike Piazza, Ryan Howard, Mike Trout.
   13. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 09:34 AM (#4729114)
I think the opposite-field home run revolution was probably largely provoked by the rapid rise in the early 1990s of intolerant rules governing throwing near hitters. There used to be a lot of talk about hitters crowding the plate and pitchers saying various things to the effect that if you crowd the plate on me you'd best be ready to duck. You don't hear talk like that anymore, not only because it's no longer socially acceptable even in the baseball world but also because now everybody crowds the plate. Almost every hitter in the major leagues stands with one or both feet toes a millimeter off the batter's box line (plus, and I cannot comprehend why in the world umpires allow them to do this, they traditionally kick away the line entirely within the first few innings, so as to get away with standing an extra inch or two closer to the plate.)

If you tried to stand right on the line and lean over the plate 30+ years ago,

(a) You would often be thrown at, and
(b) The pitcher could throw fastballs at the inside corner, and unless you are Andrew McCutchen or Miguel Cabrera you won't be able to turn on that pitch quickly enough to do anything with it but pop out.

Pitchers flat aren't allowed to do (a) anymore, and as a direct consequence they can't do (b) anymore either--if you aim at the inside corner and miss, one of two things happens. Either:

(1) You miss inside, in which case you hit the batter or at least knock him down, and he gets first base and you get a warning. If you try again and miss inside again you will be ejected from the game.
(2) You miss outside, in which case you're throwing a fastball right down the middle and the batter is going to launch it into outer space.

In the late 1990s/early 2000s batters pushed their advantage too far by wearing body armor on their plateside arms and hanging their plateside elbow right over the plate--literally in the strike zone in some cases. That's mostly and quietly been done away with now.
   14. Jeff R., P***y Mainlander Posted: June 18, 2014 at 09:48 AM (#4729127)
He is strong but opposite field homers are not impossible. If you learn to hit the other way, a power hitter will have power to the opposite field. It's just that so many of our current power hitters didn't learn that. It's pull, pull, pull. To the point that wild shifts can be played and they can't do anything about it.

Learn to hit the other way, kids.


Pulling the ball works pretty well for Jose Bautista--to the point that 53 of his homers in his 54-homer season were pulled to left.
   15. Russ Posted: June 18, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4729137)
He's a stud, but it wasn't THAT big a deal.


TWSS
   16. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 18, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4729213)
eric davis hit an opposite field homer in montreal that had people talking for several weeks

   17. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: June 18, 2014 at 11:28 AM (#4729234)
Jeff Burroughs as a Brave used to hit a ton of opposite field hooking iron shots at the Launching Pad that would slice around the foul pole and just clear the super-short fence (I think it was five feet high). It was like watching Phil Mickelson.
   18. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 18, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4729245)
i don't want to suggest that a brewer 'invented' hitting homers to the opposite field but after his shoulder injury robin yount's power zone became center to right. he could not regularly pull the ball with authority

it wasn't until his mvp season in 1989 that pitchers finally understood.
   19. Squash Posted: June 18, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4729253)
As one might expect given the hell-combo of Yahoo and MLB.com all I'm seeing is a black screen with sound but no video. I'll assume it was a hell of a shot.
   20. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 18, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4729257)
Jim Rice is the guy I always think of when I think of opposite field homers. When Jim Ed was on his game he would crush balls to right-center pretty regularly.
   21. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 18, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4729261)
follow up

meaning after robin won the mvp in 1989 pitchers began wokring yount hard inside and yount's offense cratered. all he could do was insdie out a ball as a flare to right
   22. Steve Treder Posted: June 18, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4729301)
opposite field hooking iron shots

That would be "slicing." (Sorry.)

Willie McCovey was, of couse, a ferocious dead-pull hitter to the extent that the extreme shift routinely deployed against him (commonplace nowdays, extremely unusual then) was often called "the McCovey shift." (A generation earlier it had been called "the Williams shift.") Yet when he hit his 500th homer, it was a slicing opposite field fly ball that just cleared the left-field fence, and Giants' broadcaster Lon Simmons, who'd called Giants games for most of McCovey's career, gave a less-than-dramatic call on the radio because the ball just didn't sound or look like it had a chance off the bat.
   23. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4729305)
He is strong but opposite field homers are not impossible.


Jim Edmonds was the Cardinal that liked to hit opposite field, and he made an argument that you got more distance going opposite field because of the slice/flight of the ball.


Ryan Howard was probably the most prolific opposite field homerun hitter of this era though.
   24. Moeball Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4729588)
I think the opposite-field home run revolution was probably largely provoked by the rapid rise in the early 1990s of intolerant rules governing throwing near hitters. There used to be a lot of talk about hitters crowding the plate and pitchers saying various things to the effect that if you crowd the plate on me you'd best be ready to duck. You don't hear talk like that anymore, not only because it's no longer socially acceptable even in the baseball world but also because now everybody crowds the plate.


I think another factor was that during the '90s,as best as I can tell, was when umpires radically changed the strike zone and started calling pitches a foot off the plate for strikes. When that happened, batters couldn't stay back in the batters box - they had to start crowding the plate or they would never be able to reach those outside pitches, and they had to swing at those outside pitches because the umps were calling them strikes whether the batters were swinging or not.
   25. McCoy Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4729600)

Jim Edmonds was the Cardinal that liked to hit opposite field, and he made an argument that you got more distance going opposite field because of the slice/flight of the ball.


Ryan Howard was probably the most prolific opposite field homerun hitter of this era though.


By the time he got to the Cubs those opposite field homers of his were barely getting over the basket at Wrigley. I shudder to think how far they would have traveled if they had gone to right and his opinion was correct.

Having said that it does appear to be somewhat true. If you take a look at the couple of Jenkinson books it appears that right center and left center are home to a lot of long distance opposite field power blasts for a lot of sluggers.
   26. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 04:22 PM (#4729759)
I think another factor was that during the '90s,as best as I can tell, was when umpires radically changed the strike zone and started calling pitches a foot off the plate for strikes. When that happened, batters couldn't stay back in the batters box - they had to start crowding the plate or they would never be able to reach those outside pitches, and they had to swing at those outside pitches because the umps were calling them strikes whether the batters were swinging or not.


I read it the other way around--batters started crowding the plate en masse, and umpires responded by moving the strike zone eight inches outside, so that the pitcher could have a prayer of throwing a strike without either hitting the batter or grooving a pitch right into his wheelhouse that would actually be a ball if he didn't swing. Pitchers with exceptional control took advantage of this, of course. But mostly it was a big, big advantage for the hitter.
   27. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 18, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4729764)

Jim Edmonds was the Cardinal that liked to hit opposite field


The Red Sox and Cardinals played a crazy extra inning game at Fenway in 2002/2003 that Edmonds won with an absolutely ridiculous bomb over the Monster. Even with some of the shots Ortiz has hit that one is the farthest I've ever seen a left-handed hitter hit at Fenway.
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2014 at 04:33 PM (#4729779)
I read it the other way around--batters started crowding the plate en masse, and umpires responded by moving the strike zone eight inches outside, so that the pitcher could have a prayer of throwing a strike without either hitting the batter or grooving a pitch right into his wheelhouse that would actually be a ball if he didn't swing. Pitchers with exceptional control took advantage of this, of course. But mostly it was a big, big advantage for the hitter.


agreed, that is the way I thought it happened more or less. Mind you the batters did crowd partially because the umps were giving the name brand pitchers special treatment, but eventually it started affecting the entire league. Regardless of what Schilling says, pitch Trax was the greatest thing ever to compensate for that ridiculousness.
   29. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: June 18, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4729787)
John Kruk never hit big home runs, but he hit a huge percentage of them to the opposite field. The Retrosheet data at BBRef says he hit 46 of his 100 career homers to left or left center (plus another 16 to straightaway center).
   30. Moeball Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4729907)
Regardless of what Schilling says, pitch Trax was the greatest thing ever to compensate for that ridiculousness.


Whatever happened with those overhead cameras, anyways, such as the one Schilling trashed? I don't hear all the fuss about them like I used to. On the other hand, I still see virtually every home plate umpire in the NL (at the Padres games I've been to) call pitches off the plate for strikes - maybe not to the same absurd degree that guys like Eric Gregg used to - but still, outside balls (and sometimes inside ones as well) are getting called as strikes in every single game I've seen. So the overhead cameras or ump rating systems still have not completely gotten rid of this nonsense.

   31. Steve Treder Posted: June 18, 2014 at 05:57 PM (#4729919)
John Kruk never hit big home runs, but he hit a huge percentage of them to the opposite field.

He had that great inside-out swing. I well remember the game in late September of 1987, Giants against the Padres in San Diego, where a win for the Giants would clinch their first division title in 16 years. The Giants were leading by one run, bottom of the ninth, two outs, and Kruk up with a runner on base. Kruk hits one his sliced fly balls to left field, doesn't look like much off the bat, should be a routine division-clinching final out, but the thing just backspins and carries, and carries, and it suddenly looked like a game-winning home run instead ... fortunately Jeffrey Leonard caught it on the warning track.
   32. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 18, 2014 at 06:42 PM (#4729978)
John Kruk never hit big home runs, but he hit a huge percentage of them to the opposite field.


Take it to the "Raul Ibanez' missing ball" thread.
   33. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 18, 2014 at 08:34 PM (#4730068)
Jim Rice is the guy I always think of when I think of opposite field homers. When Jim Ed was on his game he would crush balls to right-center pretty regularly.


Oh Jose, how could you forget Manny. When that dude was locked in, he was the king of the HR to right/centre. It was always a harbinger to his overall form. If Manny was hitting them that direction he'd go on one of those 370/470/600 months.
   34. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 08:47 PM (#4730072)
If Manny was hitting them that direction he'd go on one of those 370/470/600 months.


Months? In his prime Manny hit better than that for whole seasons. Less AVG, more SLG. A hot month for Manny was .400/.500/.800.

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