I'm posting this early because I didn't want to wait to talk about Jay Bruce and the Reds. The Slowest and Quickest Trots will be up later today (though I sincerely doubt anyone's beating Bruce in the "quick" department...).
Now this is how you celebrate a walkoff win. I suppose it helps when you're walking off into the playoffs...
On the first pitch of the ninth inning, in a game the Reds were losing 2-1 into the sixth inning, Jay Bruce electrified a crowd of thirty-thousand Cincinnati fans who had been waiting fifteen years to reach the playoffs. The ball caromed off the batter's eye in centerfield, but the game was over before that. Jay Bruce knew it the moment the ball hit the bat - sprinting out of the box with his hand raised without any hesitation. Houston centerfielder Jason Bourgeois knew it too, looking all but defeated as he watched it go over from the warning track. Bruce was running so hard that it felt like he was back at the plate by the time Bourgeois turned around.
I wish I could tell you definitively how fast Bruce rounded the bases. It's easily the fastest walkoff knock of the year. But with the huge crowd of teammates at the plate and the thundering crowd at Great American Ballpark, I just can't. Both camera crews - Houston's and Cincinnati's - changed to the crowd shot right as Bruce reached the plate, though the Reds crew did linger a bit longer than the Astros.
The 16.92 seconds is measured on that Cincinnati feed and, if you watch closely, you can see that they cut away right as Jonny Gomes starts to leap on the pile (he's the guy who runs out to the edge of the home plate circle as Bruce approaches the plate). In a later part of the six-minute highlight, when the broadcasters are showing a slow-motion replay of the home plate celebration, you can see that Bruce appears to touch home plate right as Gomes is landing on the pile. The official time, then, is probably a tiny bit later - maybe 17.0 or 17.5 seconds. The measure time of 16.92 seconds will do well enough, though.
And congratulations to the Reds and their fans. Doing the Tater Trot Tracker all year and watching 5,000+ home runs, I've grown to like quite a few of the Reds players (Scott Rolen, Chris Heisey, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, etc.) because of the way they trot out their homers. It's fitting, then, that the biggest home run of the year comes from them and gives us such a memorable trot. Enjoy the playoffs.
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It's been a long time since we last had someone squeeze their way onto the top ten slowest home runs of the year without an injury, so it's pretty wild to see it happen on the same day as Jay Bruce's walkoff. But it happened. You can thank Big Papi for that. Of course, he merely drops himself off the list. The next slowest trot was Todd Helton's 25.88 second trot for Colorado.
I think we covered Mr. Bruce pretty well above. The only other sub-twenty second trot was from Travis Snider, who rounded the bases in 19.31 seconds.