This is Home Run of the Day mostly because of what happened in Prince’s next at-bat. The home run came in the 7th inning, and was the first run in a five-run inning off of Tommy Hanson. Leading off the 8th, Prince faced new pitcher Jonny Venters. The first pitch was an 84-mph slider about a foot over Prince’s head. After a warning from umpire Angel Hernandez, the next pitch from Venters drilled Prince square in the back at 94-mph. Obviously, Prince was upset, but nothing happened. Angel Hernandez calmly walked Prince down to first base, Venters was thrown out, and, eventually, so was Bobby Cox.
Brewers fans are absolutely confident that Prince was hit on purpose, and a number of Braves fans seem to think so too (though there are plenty who deny it). Cox and Venters deny it, of course, but they pretty much have to. This is the third time this year (and second time this weekend) that a Braves pitcher has hit either Ryan Braun or Prince Fielder after a home run, so it’s understandable that Brewers fans might be a little suspicious.
But maybe Prince had it coming. He does tend to watch big flies on occasion. Here’s what I wrote in a comment over at Brew Crew Ball:
If the Braves (or their fans) are complaining over Prince’s swing, then they’re just looking for something to worry about. Yes, it was a big, emphatic swing, but his body language on the swing was completely in line with the energy he put into the uppercut. When he decided to swing that big, there was nothing he could do about his body. In short, he swung so hard he lost his balance, and there was only one thing to do.
It’s no different then when a player hangs on the rim after a dunk in order to regain his balance. There’s a penalty for hanging on the rim for no reason, but an unbalanced guy has plenty of reason to do it and will never get called for it.
After the swing, Prince was nothing but respectful when running. He got out of the box fast, and didn’t do any fancy stomp on the plate when he got around. The trot itself was 22.96 seconds, which isn’t slow at all (though it’s not fast either – it’s pretty average for Prince).
As I said, you have to be looking for something to complain about if you’re blaming Prince for that…
I still believe that. Who knows what happens on the field, though. Accidents do happen. All we can do is speculate. But with Bobby Cox at the helm, Prince Fielder at the plate, and a recent history of “accidental” beanings, I have to side with those who are suspicious of this beaning today.
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It’s been over a month since Juan Rivera hit a home run, so I almost forgot just how slow he is. This 27.15 second trot is his second-slowest trot of the season, and only one-second slower than his average trot speed (26.1 seconds). He wasn’t alone with a slow trot yesterday, though. Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips also clocked in with a 26.71 second trot, but part of that is due to being stuck behind Edinson Volquez on the basepaths.
All this talk already, and we haven’t even mentioned the fact that Tony Gwynn, Jr., hit an inside-the-park home run last night – his second of the season. His first inside-the-parker came on June 13, when he raced around the bases in 15.34 seconds. This trot was even quicker than that, and might have been even quicker still. Gwynn said that his “feet weren’t quite right” when rounding third, and that kept him from getting to top speed. It makes one wonder just how fast he could do it if he were able to get up to top speed. As it is, this was the fourth-fastest inside-the-park home run trot of the year – and barely slower than Bengie Molina‘s triple from the other night.