What do you do if you’re playing in your first career game at the big league level in front of the home fans against your biggest rival? Well, if you’re Steve Hill of the St. Louis Cardinals, you hit a ninth-inning, opposite-field home run to register your first career hit (in only your second career at-bat). Ultimately, the Cards lost the game, but with Hill’s home run leading off the ninth and the being the first of a five-run inning, it looked to be something special. There’s no doubt it was special to Hill, though (whose swing isn’t exactly a mirror image of Prince Albert’s).
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Derrek Lee seemed to be a shoe-in for this honor when he ran his second homer of the day out to a tune of 26.29 seconds. But Ryan Zimmerman was not to be outdone, crushing a ball into the left field seats and taking his sweet time admiring the flyball.
If there’s ever going to be a factor that I’ll have a hard time controlling for when I review the tater trot data, it’ll be how teammates standing around home plate waiting to congratulate the home run hitter slow down the runner. And I’m not talking about walkoffs – just your everyday, run-of-the-mill home run trot where the on-deck batter (or baserunners) huddle around the plate to high-five the hitter. This happens when the bases are full or empty, and it’s never consistent. And it’s a big reason Mike Young didn’t get a 17.0 second trot, as he had to slow considerably because three other Rangers were waiting to meet him at the plate. I guess we can’t complain about the 17.98 second trot he did get, though.