Thome's Catwalk Shot! 
Lots of players and coaches expressed their opinion that Thome's homer off the 2nd ring in Tropicana Field was the hardest ball they'd ever seen. This is certainly not true, it is most likely due to everyone's unfamiliarity with seeing a home run interrupted so high above the field. Also, some people probably think that hitting the 2nd catwalk requires a harder hit, but actually it is much closer to home plate, and thus requires only a higher trajectory.

According to Hit Tracker, Thome's shot went would have traveled 422 feet if it had not struck the catwalk: a long homer, but nowhere near Thome's best (which by the way is not 511 feet - the ball he hit at Jacobs Field that generated that "guesstimate" did not go nearly that far, either.)

Thome's 422 foot catwalk homer

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Justin Upton and Ryan Howard to the top of the board! 
On April 5, Justin Upton went 466 feet in the thin air at Coors Field, and Ryan Howard went 462 feet at the Great American Ballpark, taking the #1 and 2 slots on the true distance leader board.

Howard's bomb was actually held back a bit by a breeze and the cool temperatures, and on a 70 degree calm day at seas level would have carried 467 feet - an impressive early posting on the Standard Distance leader board.

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Nationals Park data will be delayed... 
Just a quick note about the new Nationals Park. In order to make good observations, we need to have an extremely accurate scale diagram of each ballpark, and for Nationals Park, we don't have that yet. Most parks' diagrams were made with the benefit of a satellite photo, but those are not available yet for the new Nats Park. I am going to have to create the diagram the same way I made the Tropicana Field and Metrodome diagrams: a lot of detailed photos and a whoel lot of trigonometry.

This is a time-consuming process, and in fact there aren't really enough good photos around yet, so I am going to hold off on posting data for Nats Park until I have the diagram right. It's more important to me to have the numbers be right than to rush the diagram. Thanks for being patient...

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Hit Tracker Blog 2008 
Well, last year was a tough one for blog entries, but I'm going to give it another shot. Hopefully with some new automation for merging weather and batting events, I'll have more time this year to post on Hit Tracker topics.

Greg Rybarczyk
Hit Tracker

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Aug. 30, 2007 - A Good Day for Blasts! 
In Philadelphia, Ryan Howard launched a 469 foot homer into Ashburn's Alley, and Pat Burrell hit two balls out, one nearly into the arms of the Philly Phanatic, during a dramatic, come-from-behind 11-10 walkoff victory...

In San Diego, Arizona's Mark Reynolds hammered a Chris Young offering more than halfway up the second deck in left field, covering 445 feet for the longest homer at PETCO Park so far this year. Reynolds also "owns" Turner Field with his 467 foot homer there earlier this month. With his PETCO Park bomb, Reynolds joins an elite list of ML players who own the longest home run in more than one ballpark:

Alex Rodriguez: Metrodome, Yankee Stadium, AT&T Park
Mark Teixeira: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Safeco Field
Vladimir Guerrero: Angels Stadium, Kauffman Stadium
Prince Fielder: Dodger Stadium, Minute Maid Park
Adam Dunn: Great American Ball Park, Miller Park
Mark Reynolds: Turner Field, PETCO Park

Unfortunately, earlier this month, Reynolds also tied a ML record by striking out in 9 consecutive plate appearances. This sort of performance brings back unpleasant memories of last year's surprise long-distance homer king, Reggie Abercrombie; Abercrombie hit a 481 foot homer for his first career long ball, and several other tape measure jobs, and then proceeded to strike out nearly in nearly 1/3 of his AB's. Let's hope Reynolds can get some consistent high contact rates while preserving the power - if so, he'll keep Hit Tracker humming...

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