In case you hadn’t heard, it’s David Ortiz’s final season and, if April is any indication, he’s going out in style.
On Friday, Papi broke open a tie-game in the 8th inning by blasting a shot over the Green Monster. Not only was his trot a speedy 25.44 seconds, but it was also in honor of sick boy back in Boston, who Papi had promised to hit a home run for earlier that day.
Ortiz followed his Friday night performance with another moonshot on Saturday. This one was a no-doubter that he took his sweet time on. Papi must have realized he went faster than usual on Friday night and decided to make up for it because the Saturday night trot, clocking in at 32.03 seconds, was Papi’s second-slowest home run of the Tater Trot Tracker era. That also makes it the fifth-slowest tater trot in baseball since 2010. Now that’s impressive!
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A quick note on Statcast: If you watch much baseball this year, you’ll no doubt be aware of the fantastic technology MLB has been using called Statcast. This is the MLB-wide technology that allows for computers to automatically judge home run distance, baserunner speed, optimum routes to flyballs, and more. One fun piece of data that Statcast has begun sharing this year is home run trot time (usually during notably fast trots, like this one or this one). I’m all for Statcast calculating and sharing these times on their own – it certainly makes it easier for me to find the really interesting trots! – but there’s one thing I should point out about their times.
Statcast uses computers to time their trots, which means that it is an algorithm and not a person who judges when the trot begins and ends. While I take great pain to make sure that my trot time ends at the precise moment the player touches home plate, the Statcast algorithm stops its clock some moments later. We’re talking only fractions of a second, of course, but that makes all the difference when timing tater trots. David Ortiz goes from 32.03 seconds on Saturday to the Statcast-calculated 32.4 seconds. Or Billy Hamilton gets shown as 16.2 seconds by Statcast when he really touched home in 16.08. It’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it’s important to remember whenever Statcast tells you about the “quickest (or slowest) trot of the Statcast era!”