The 2012 Major League Baseball season concluded with the best hitter on the planet striking out looking on an 89 MPH fastball right down the middle. Baseball is weird. If baseball wasn't so crazy, and things happened the way the majority of us think they should happen, Miguel Cabrera would have murdered that pitch 15 rows deep in left field. But he didn't. Lucky for us, there were many, MANY more awesome home runs that actually DID happen in this gloriously strange season. I'm here to show you the best of the best, some of which actually suck. I find them all incredible and hilarious in their own ways. Enjoy !
BALL GO FAR
Giancarlo Stanton Hits A Baseball 494 Feet:
This is the first of Stanton's multiple appearances on this list, and with good reason. The guy is a tank. He's laughably strong, and even if you wanna credit Coors Field with the distance of this bomb, it's safe to say that Stanton supplied the bulk of the power. Something always worth watching in these home run clips is the catcher's reaction as soon as the ball is hit. The slow-mo shot at :39 of Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario jerking his head away in disappointment is just hilarious. I also like the left fielder just hopelessly watching the ball fly into the seats. Sums up the Rockies' season pretty well. My favorite part has to be at :11, the fan that looks legitimately angry to have not caught the ball. Dude, do you see where you're sitting ? You're like 50 rows up in dead center field !
Edwin Encarnacion's Upper Upper Upper Upper Decker:
Edwin Encarnacion showed up this year with a decent track record of major league power, but not THIS kind of power. This dinger was Edwin's 36th of the year, and this dinger was just stupid. I'm not entirely sure if the pitcher/victim, JP Howell, fell down after the pitch (:03) in fear that his life/career might be in danger, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me. Sure, hanging 80 MPH sliders down the pipe usually get crushed, but like this ? Nah.
Nelson Cruz Is A MONSTER:
Nelson Cruz isn't really that good of a baseball player anymore, but he can still hit the ball really freakin' far. Before the pitch, Cruz, like most hitters in a 3-0 count, doesn't look very interested. Most batters should, and often do take the next pitch no matter what. However, if fringy reliever Bobby Cassevah puts it on a tee for you, you should probably do what NC-17 does here. I'm extremely amused by the left fielder running back as if he even has a CHANCE at catching it. Not so much. I also love Elvis Andrus' awkward high-five attempt with a distracted Michael Young at :40.
Cameron Maybin Apparently Has Power:
Maybin's power hasn't quite developed the way some scouts envisioned, but he's still young, and there's still time. However, in this July contest, Maybin unleashed one of the more shockingly distant homers of the year. 3-1 count, Trevor Cahill throws an 89 MPH meatball, and Maybin does the rest. The fan that retrieves the ball at :16 is great, as well as the left fielder that started running back towards the ball and then was quickly like ohhhhhhhh nevermind around :08. Always the little things. Also, WOW THAT WAS DESTROYED.
Nelson Cruz Punishes A Guy Named Frieri (almost a good pun):
First off, the bat Cruz is using in this clip is enormous. Closer Ernesto Frieri was freakishly good after being traded to the Angels, and this isn't even a bad pitch. 95 low and in, and Nelson golfed it WAYYYYYYYY back, like way back way back. Just demolished.
Justin Maxwell Does What Most People Do In Coors Field Except A Lot Farther:
Justin Maxwell can hit baseballs really far, sometimes. He can't do much else, but any moderately compelling skill will get you a spot on the Astros. Point being, the dude can do things like this, and that's worth something. The most astounding part of this video is the absurd number of Rockies fans in attendance for an afternoon game against Houston. If you pause the video at :06, you'll see a common sight for Rockies fans. Pitcher looking down in dismay, batter happily beginning his trot around the bases. Oh, Rockies :(
Besides the fact that he looks like he really has to poop before he pitches, Luis Mendoza is one of those pitchers that you might watch simply because there's a good chance he's gonna give up a bomb like this. In this case, Travis Hafner just obliterates a curveball over everything in right field. I can just imagine a KC fan with seats in right, waiting for a home run ball after countless Jeff Franceour fly outs. "Oh here finally a ball that's hit towards me yay here it comes oh no wait not that far oh man the Royals just stink :( "
BJ Upton Hits A Foul Ball Over 9,000 Feet:
The player known as Bossman hit a career high 28 homers this year, but this foul ball might actually be more impressive than any of those. I don't really know what to say. I'm highly entertained by the fan who gets the ball at :13 and is just like "okay, so that happened" and then his buddy giving him a pat on the back. Those guys are like 200 feet up at the back of the dome !!! BJ's facial expression at :22 is just priceless.
Jamie Moyer Throws A 72 MPH Fastball To Giancarlo Stanton; Hilarity Ensues:
Easily one of the more famous home runs of the year, this bomb came off of Stanton's bat at a ridiculous 122.4 MPH. So many things to discuss, with the broken scoreboard, the fact that holy crap Jamie Moyer was still pitching, the fact that seriously what did you think was gonna happen, etc etc. I've watched this several dozen times now, and what I notice is the catcher at the VERY beginning. He's looking over at the Rockies dugout, where he presumably just got the sign for what pitch to put down for Moyer. He's basically giving it one last thought before the inevitable. Of course 22 (!!!) year old Giancarlo Stanton was gonna hit a grand slam off of 49 (!!!) year old Jamie Moyer. Of course.
Giancarlo Stanton Hits A Cole Hamels Changeup Really, Really, Really Hard:
Cole Hamels has one of the more devastating changeups in baseball, but this is a prime example of what can quickly go horribly wrong if you keep it over the plate to the wrong guy. Stanton's your man, Cole ! I'm a bit confused at :36, when the Marlins broadcast labels this as a "Pool Home Run".
Hanley Ramirez Hits A Double To Center Field Oh Wait That Is Actually A Home Run How Did He Do That:
Hanley had quite a disappointing season with the Marlins before being traded to the Dodgers for a bag of chips and Nate Eovaldi, but this home run stands alone as the one that I genuinely still can't comprehend how it got out of the park. Off the bat, it looks like a double, maybe even a single to the left-center field gap. But no. Oh no. This just kept going and going and going. The unsuspecting female fan shielding her face from the ball at :07 is funny, but you can't blame her. She had three and a half seconds from the moment Hanley made contact to when that baseball was coming straight for her face. Unreal bat speed, with the vintage Hanley follow-through/leisurely trot around the bases to boot. Awesome.
Justin Upton Makes You Want To Draft Him Too High In Every Fantasy League For The Rest Of Time:
Not too much to say here, other than that it is really difficult to hit home runs at Petco Park and Justin Upton made it look embarrassingly easy. It's such a sweet swing. The thing that throws me off here is at :38 when the announcer says Upton "didn't try to do too much" with the pitch. That's a baseball phrase that usually applies to a single poked through the hole between third and short, not a 430 foot bomb to center field in the most pitcher-friendly park in baseball.
If that's Upton "not trying to do too much", I wonder what it looks like when he DOES try to do "too much". Oh yeah, it's this (BONUS CLIP aka my favorite home run of all time):
Adam Jones Takes #NATITUDE To A Whole New Level:
Often times when home runs are hit, you have a second or two to admire them as they head towards the seats. In this case, Jones just pulls it as hard as he possibly can and then a second later it hits the foul pole. Home run. Not much time to process what actually happened. It's important to note where the catcher sets up for the pitch (low and away), and where the unfortuante ball actually ended up (right down the freakin' middle). "Taking advantage of a rare mistake by Edwin Jackson", proclaims the announcer. Yeah, no. Not so rare. This happens quite often.
Rickie Weeks Still Has Ridiculous Bat Speed Despite Hitting .230:
The Weeks brothers, both Rickie and Jemile, have been known to have an incredible amount of bat speed. This is a solid example, as Rickie drills one and almost kills an innocent and most likely depressed Cubs fan sitting right next to the left field foul pole. The home run is cool, sure, but the thing I noticed is how excited the fan is to have the ball at :10 ... and then seeing the ball thrown back on the field at :16. It's Wrigley tradition to throw the ball back when the homer is from another team, but in this case, the fans with the ball genuinely look happy to have caught it ! Don't give into peer pressure ! Anyway, yeah. Rickie Weeks can still do things like this.
Yoenis Cespedes Has CORE STRENGTH:
If you don't understand the title for this one, do yourself a favor: take 20 minutes out of your day and watch the most random, hilarious and impressive workout video ever created. Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kREZHmOR1bg
Anyway, this was one of the most exciting home runs of Oakland's confusingly epic season of walk-offs, and it's really something. The amount of torque Cespedes produces in this swing is just crazy, and he almost ends up on one knee, much like Adrian Beltre does after the majority of his swings. When Cespedes takes his helmet off at :23, you get a solid sense that he really hasn't done much to maintain those eyebrows at all in his 27 year existence. But that's the way he likes them. Ain't nobody gonna tell him otherwise.
Melky Cabrera Does Something Interesting Before Getting Suspended For Steroids Ugh Why Melky Why:
Here we have San Francisco Giants enigma Melky Cabrera hitting a home run off of Marlins former ace Josh Johnson. Johnson actually hits his spot perfectly, but in a(nother) season of improbable Melky things, this improbable Melky thing was bound to happen. When he hits it, Melky has this brief look of "oh crap, didn't mean to do that", as the ball sails towards foul territory. But like most of the bombs in this category, it just kept going.
Michael Cuddyer Hits A Pop Up To The Shortstop But Oh Wait We Are In Coors Field So It's A Homer:
If there was ever a video that briefly defined the Coors Field effect, this is probably the one. Michael Cuddyer basically hits a pop fly. Everyone on the field assumes it's a pop fly. The pitcher, Jose Arredondo, doesn't even turn around at first. The third baseman actually points up as if to signal a pop fly at :02. Lucky for Cuddyer, he's in Colorado. Sometimes I watch Coors Field highlights with the Jordin Sparks song "No Air" in the background. It's an interesting experience. I'd be a huge proponent of a remix entitled "Tell Me How I'm Supposed To Post An ERA Under 5.00 With No Air" - Jordin Sparks featuring Skrillex and the entire Rockies pitching staff. Yeah, that should totally be a thing.
Asdrubal Cabrera Hits Baseball Really High; Accidentally Produces Dinger:
Asdrubal, oh Asdrubal. Something odd that I notice about many home runs hit at Progressive Field is that the camera always pans WAY up to the point where for a second you're like "oh my god he hit that ball 600 feet didn't he". This is a perfect example. If you pause the video at :05, you might think that ball is the farthest home run in the history of the world. Granted, this was indeed one of the highest hit home runs of the year with an apex of 137 feet, but Indians broadcasts do this ALL the time, and it drives me nuts. In reality, it was just over the right field wall.
Jed Lowrie Does What Most Small Scrappy White Kids Tell Themselves They Could Probably Do At Minute Maid Park:
This one is just absolutely hysterical. Everything about it. Scrawny little Jed Lowrie golfs a bad pitch about 320 feet into the hilariously short porch in left field at Minute Maid Park. Where else can the ball bounce off the left field wall and be fielded by the shortstop ?! The best part for me is big fat Carlos Lee rumbling around third base. This actually might be one of the funnier things I saw all year. When the ball is first hit, you can see Lee walking confidently towards third base at :03, assuming it's a home run. When the ball caroms off the wall, Lee quickly realizes "oh crap, I should probably score". This is absolutely brilliant. WITH A LEAD, it took Carlos Lee 13.2 seconds to score from second base. For comparison sake, on July 15th, Reds superfreak Billy Hamilton, who broke the minor league record for stolen bases this year with 155, hit an inside-the-park home run for Double-A Pensacola. It took him 13.8 seconds to round the bases. Just hilarious.
Billy Hamilton's inside the parker:
Miguel Cabrera Hits Baseball, Chone Figgins Attempts To Play Left Field:
This one is much like the oppo-taco Miggy hit off Matt Cain in Game 4 of the World Series, except significantly funnier because Mariners. First, we see Chone Figgins trying his best to track this fly ball from :03 to :09, with no avail. Then you notice the pitch location on the FoxTrax at :35, which makes it look like the pitch was either going to hit Miggy, or go behind Miggy. It seems a bit exaggerated.
Todd Helton Hits A Walk-Off Home Run And Oh By The Way The Ball Was In The Air For Seven Seconds:
As a Rockies fan, this was probably the best moment of the season. It meant nothing in the grand scheme of things, but then again, none of this stuff does. It was a walk-off home run after an obnoxiously long rain delay, as evidenced by the lack of fans and messy infield. Basically, this was the highest hit ball of the 2012 season, with an unfathomable apex of 162 feet high. Much like the Asdrubal homer, if you pause the video at :08, you might think the ball is actually going to leave the stadium, never to return. Sure enough, the ball landed about three feet beyond the right field fence, barely to the left of the foul pole. It had a relatively unimpressive True Distance of 366 feet, but it was by far the most exciting and dramatic hit of CLOLorado's tragically disastrous season, and I'm glad it happened. Side note: I love the guy who has the ball at :20, wearing an Indians jacket (?!?!).
Josh Hamilton Hits Another Stupid Josh Hamilton Home Run:
Josh Hamilton did a lot of completely nonsensical things this year, like hitting four home runs in one game. While that was obviously more impressive, I found this one notable because of the bizarre angle at which the ball comes off the bat. When the ball leaves the screen, it looks like it's headed towards space. Hard to fully understand it without watching it, but of course that's the entire point of this whole thing, so watch the video ! What happens at :32 is something I began noticing in the middle of the 2011 season. It seems that whenever a Ranger hits a home run, especially at home, he returns to the dugout to an audible hyena like squeeling that I'm 97% sure is Ian Kinsler. You can hear it :38 when you see Hamilton giving an unseen teammate a high-five and just...I don't know. The Rangers are an odd team. I love it.
So there. My 22 (21) favorite home runs of the 2012 Major League Baseball regular season. I'd like to conclude this piece with my all-time favorite home run call. This was actually from the 2011 season, but it's absolutely fantastic, and I wanted to share it. Take it away, Brandon.
Brandon Inge Hits A Walk-Off Home Run, Sends Everybody Home:
Thanks for reading. Feedback and comments are much appreciated.