I was struck by how effortlessly Cano and Gonzalez, etc., hit the ball 400+ feet in Tuesday’s Home Run Derby and it got me to wondering whether they use regulation baseballs or use special “juiced” balls to make the competition more interesting. Does anyone know?
I don’t know whether they do, but if you look at who was throwing (I wouldn’t call it pitching) you’ll notice that the hitters weren’t exactly facing Cy Young winners.
I’ve seen reserve infielders hit 400-foot blasts during batting practice, so I’m guessing it’s fairly easy for genuine power hitters to hit five or six of them if someone throws a ball so fat it’s just one step above hitting off a tee.
Right, it’s not that the balls are different; it’s that the pitchers are trying to throw home-run balls, and the batter can take as many pitches as they want between swings so he gets to pick only the ones that are right in his wheelhouse.
I have read in the past ,the balls are more tightly wound. They say Titleist on them.
Where did you read this?
All they’d really have to do is put the balls in a dehumidifier. Dry balls go farther than wetter ones. See also: Rockies, Colorado.
They weren’t hitting them 600 feet. Those were pretty awesome blasts, but that’s what major league hitters do with 74-MPH meatballs.
You see players in regular games hit them that far, too. Just before the All-Star game the Jays won a game against Philadelphia in which they hit three 400+ foot homers in one inning, each further than the last, and the last one was an awe-inspiring shot off the restaurant in centre field. Any of them would have looked great at the Home Run Derby. It’s just that when the pitchers are trying to get you out, it’s rare to square the ball up that well.
In a regular game, the hitter is in a reactive position. He must defend himself from a pitcher who will throw unpredicable pitches, and he has a limite number of chances and is usually forced to swing at a less-than-optimal pitch. The opportunities to actually hit a hanging meatball right voer the plate are very rare. In a home run derby the batter does not need to react; he just watches them go by, free of worrying about strikes, until he wants to really tee off on one.
If you were to reconstruct the Derby so that batters were not allowed an unlimited number of balls - say, they get 20 pitches and that’s it - the distance of the homers would go down, becaue they would have to put more effort into reacting to the ball where it was pitched.
Right next to the article on Sidd Finch.
[sub]well I thought gonzo was being funny there[/sub]
I read somewhere they were considering using metal bats to make the HR derby more exciting…
I can’t imagine why they would do that. Watching 150 home runs isn’t exciting enough?
The Titleist part was a joke. the tightly wound part was not. They could hit farther if someone was throwing a 90 mph fastball for them. But it is harder to hit so not as much fun as the slo pitch balls.
You mean Robinson Cano’s dad doesn’t want to hurl some chin music at him?