When a player hits a home run during a game, they can try to hit it to a certain area, but it’s really hard to aim for something specific. Babe Ruth may have called his shot, but it’s not like he said “I’m hitting it to Marge in the back row of that section over there!”
On Tuesday night, Detroit Tigers outfielder Justin Upton hit a fantastically impressive home run. That he hit the homer isn’t why this is impressive — with 227 homers over his 11-year career, he’s pretty good at hitting them, and hitting them far — but it’s where the ball landed.
The Tigers were playing the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field, and in the eighth inning, Upton came to the plate. He was facing pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen, and on the 1-1 pitch, Wilhelmsen threw it low and out of the strike zone. Not “this pitch is on the ground” low, but low enough that most batters wouldn’t think about swinging at it.
But Justin Upton isn’t one of those batters. He took on the challenge of that low pitch and golfed it with amazing power. The sound of the ball off the bat was an extremely satisfying “thwack,” and the ball just exploded through the air over center field. The announcers were absolutely amazed at Upton’s monster blast, but where it landed was somehow even more amazing. The ball managed to fall into the camera well in straight-away center field.
It’s just a little cutout in the center field wall, but the ball managed to find its way there — after traveling a massive 454 feet. Upton spent six years with the D-backs, so homering at Chase Field isn’t exactly a novel thing for him to do. Including last night’s homer, he’s hit 72 dingers there. But none of the 71 previous home runs had landed in that little camera well.
Even for a prodigious home-run hitter like Upton, that’s a rare and impressive feat.
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