Miami’s Stanton Goes Way, Way Out of Dodger Stadium

Frederick Dennstedt photo/Only five home runs have ever been hit out of Dodger Stadium.  Giancarlo Stanton hit the most recent, Tuesday night.

Frederick Dennstedt photo/Only five home runs have ever been hit out of Dodger Stadium. Giancarlo Stanton hit the most recent, Tuesday night.

By Glen Sparks

Giancarlo Stanton blasted a pitch nearly to Silver Lake on Tuesday evening at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Stanton, a 6-foot-6-inch, 240-pound slugger for the Miami Marlins, belted an 85-mph cutter thrown by Dodger starter Mike Belsinger. The ball traveled 475 feet before landing beyond the stadium’s left-field pavilion, if it did in fact land at all.

Stanton, a hometown guy who graduated from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks and who was recruited to play football by UCLA, joined a select group of players who have hit balls completely out of 53-year-old Chavez Ravine. Willie Stargell did it twice for the Pittsburgh Pirates, in 1969 and 1973. Mark McGwire did it once while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, in 1999. Mike Piazza did it the only time for the home team. He belted out a ball during his Dodger days, in 1997.

Incredibly, Stanton’s homer ranks just No. 3 on the 2015 tape-measure list. Nelson Cruz of the Seattle Mariners hit a ball that went about eight feet farther. Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays hit one that beat Stanton’s homer by six feet. Stanton, meanwhile, once rocketed a baseball 494 feet, in the high-altitude of Denver’s Coors Field on Aug. 17, 2012. Last year, at sea level in Miami, he sent a baseball on a 484-foot ride.

Here is the question, though: How do the stats guys know just how far a home-run ball travels? I wrote a post April 17 about Mickey Mantle’s epic 1953 home run that he hit at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. Supposedly, the ball stopped 565 feet from home plate. Supposedly, the guy who relayed that figure to reporters used a tape measure to calculate the exact distance. Turns out, he didn’t.

Not surprisingly, stats guys these days use some high-tech gadgetry to measure homers. One system is known as “tale of the tape.” This estimates how far a ball would have gone had it not hit a seat or other obstruction. “Tale” requires using a detailed rendering of the stadium, one that includes measurements from a host of angles. The spotter marks the exact location of the landing point and also checks the elevation of that stadium section. He then must decide if the hit is a line drive (1.2), a normal fly (0.8) or a high fly (0.6) based up the arc of the ball.

The numbers help determine how many feet the ball would have traveled horizontally for each foot in elevation that the ball was hit above ground. So, let’s say the ball stops 410 feet from home plate. The formula is: (410 + {58 X .08}) = 456.4 feet.

The second measurement is known as “True Track.” With this, two camera follow the ball as it flies through the air. By using a virtual 3D grid of the ballpark, the cameras can calculate where the ball is in relation to the grid. Then, it’s a matter of calculating the position of the ball and the position of home plate on the grid. ESPN uses True Track, which like Tale of the Tape, estimates how far a ball would go if nothing had gotten into the way.

Stanton’s solo crush job (in an 11-1 loss) was his eighth home run of the season. He led the National League last year with 37 round-trippers despite missing the last few weeks of the season after getting hit in the face with a pitch. He has 162 home runs in his career and is only 25 years old. The odds seem good for Stanton to once again hit a pitch or two out of Dodger Stadium.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s