Nelson Cruz hit his 8th home run of the season on Sunday afternoon in a Rangers win over the Angels. That might be underselling things a little. Nelson Cruz massacred a baseball thrown by Bobby Cassevah for his 8th home run of the season, to push across the Rangers 4th and 5th runs that would end up being the deciding runs in a 7-3 victory. There, that’s a little better. In animated .gif form, that home run swing looked like this:
Everyone in this .gif, despite being professionals, can’t help but watch this home run. Cruz pimps the home run like he usually does, the umpire can’t get his mask off fast enough to watch it, the catcher drops his glove defeatedly and watches it in what you can only imagine is wonder and amazement, and Cassevah himself knows it’s gone, doesn’t want to watch, but right at the end turns because he just has to see how far it went.
In screen capture form, that ball was located here:
You’ll notice the 3-0 count. You might think that on 3-0, Cassevah was just trying to ease a fastball over for a strike. In actuality, the catcher set up on the inside corner as seen here:
Compare that to the picture before of the actual pitch location, and you see that Cassevah only missed his target up slightly. When viewing the location of the pitch according to PitchFX, it really wasn’t that terrible of a pitch.
Also, according to BrooksBaseball’s PitchFX tool, it was one of three sinkers thrown to Cruz in this at-bat. This one was the fastest of the three sinkers at 91.5 MPH (the other two were 89.0 MPH), and it also had approximately 8 inches of arm-side run, so it was no cupcake. However, it ended up here:
Bobby Cassevah had a rough outing (1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K), and this was the last pitch he threw. Unfortunately for Bobby Cassevah, it was one of his best pitches, but it was thrown in a 3-0 count to Nelson Cruz, who was sitting dead red with a green light.
The reported distance of this home run was 484 feet. If you look at that screen capture of where it landed, appropriately in front of the MONSTER energy sign, that looks about right. The 484 feet is reported by the Hit Tracker tool, which began tracking home runs in 2006. This was the longest home run the Hit Tracker has ever recorded in the Angels stadium, by forty feet. This was also the longest home run hit thus far in 2012.
484 feet is the distance of 242 “Boomstick” hot dogs. That is the length of 83 Yoshinori Tateyamas. 484 feet would have been long enough to be a home run to dead center field in the old Polo Grounds. It is just one foot shorter than the longest home run hit in Rangers history (the 2010 blast by Josh Hamilton).
A slam dunk is still only worth two points. This home run would have been worth two runs whether it went 484 feet, or had gone 331 feet over the short wall in left field. However, watching Nelson Cruz coil and explode on a 3-0 fastball with everything that he had can only be described with one word: awesome.
Peter Ellwood is a Senior Staff Writer for Shutdown Inning. You can email him at Peter.Ellwood@shutdowninning.com or reach him on Twitter @Peter_Ellwood