Well, I've been saying it all year, and it finally happened tonight: David Ortiz became the first player in the 2010 season to take more than 30-seconds to trot around the bases after a home run. With four of the top five slowest home run trots of the year already - all four of which were clocked in at 28.95 seconds or slower - it seemed inevitable that he would be the first to break the half-minute barrier. With his laser beam down the right field line in the second inning of tonight's game, he finally did it.
A trot like this doesn't come without help. Papi is certainly one of MLB's premiere home run watchers, usually taking a second or more to watch the path of the ball and compose himself before he leaves the batter's box (Vlad Guerrero and Alfonso Soriano are two others in the same camp). But standing in the batter's box and watching the flight of the home run isn't always a bad thing. Long fly balls pulled into the corner can very easily end up foul, and it's not uncommon to see the batter spend an extra second in the box as he waits to see where the ball will land. Ortiz's home run tonight was of that type, though he did seem to spend more time in the batter's box than most people like.
Even more, as he left the batter's box to run towards first, he very briefly ran into the home plate umpire, who had run out from behind the catcher and raced up the line a bit to get a better view on where the ball ended up. You can't see that in the highlight above; I only noticed it on the ESPN feed, as they cut to commercial. Still, I can tell you with pretty good confidence that the umpire did not obstruct Papi enough to be the sole reason he spent 30-seconds on the basepath. That's the product of a slow-moving man who shows no desire to speed anything up.
One might say Papi is the perfect example
of the "Savor the Moment" t-shirt.
Just for fun, I thought I'd break Ortiz's home run into it's main parts (leaving the box, touching the bases, etc) and compare it to Adam Rosales, the quickest (non-inside-the-park) trotter in the game. It might help put Papi's trot into perspective:
(Click "Read More" to continue reading.)
Seconds After Contact David Ortiz,
1.91 Makes first move to leave batter's box 5.69 A few steps past 1st base 8.10 Touches 2nd base 9.13 Rounding first base (1-2 steps before bag) 11.7 Touches 3rd base 15.89 Touches home plate 16.39 Touches 2nd base 22.71 Touches 3rd base 30.59 Touches home plate
In case it wasn't clear to you before, it should be now: David Ortiz is **slow** around the basepaths. I was hoping to animate a comparison of the two batters, but I am not exactly competent in Flash or other video. Hopefully this table will make due.
"can we set a pool on his longest trot time? I want 35.50 #bigpapi #strollinginthepark"
Great question. With such a prolific May - in terms of both total home runs and average trot time - there's a lot of room for Ortiz to add to his record. So what say you: just how long will Ortiz's longest trot time be this year? Will it be the slowest trot of the year, or will someone somehow pass him? If it's not the slowest trot, what will the slowest trot be?
Give me some numbers in the comments. If we have enough guesses, we might even be able to make this a contest (maybe for a Tater Trot Tracker t-shirt?). Have at it.