TOYS AND GAMES: Most Unlikely Home Run

ESPN.go.com recently ran an blog entitled, “Bartolo Colon and the 10 Unlikeliest Home Runs Ever Hit.” If you haven’t read it, it’s entertaining, but I take exception with Colon’s home run being anointed the most unlikely.

I’ve got to go with the one hit by former Tampa Bay pitcher Esteban Yan, a feat which the writer,  David Schoenfield, ranked fourth.

On June 4, 2000, I found myself at Shea Stadium covering a Mets-Devil Rays game–this was before the “Devil” had been exorcised, when Yan stepped into the batter’s box ready for his first-ever professional at-bat. Mets right-hander Bobby Jones delivered a strike on the first pitch, Yan swung and made contact, sending the pitch over the wall in left field, 365 feet away from home plate.

Okay, you’re thinking that’s unlikely, but why is it the most unlikely, right? Well, it’s all about what happened before he hit the home run.

First, a little backstory. Everybody loved Yan, who always wore a smile. He could also sweat like no man I’ve ever seen. Teammates joked he could sweat in Alaska.  Most days, Yan one could find Yan inside the clubhouse playing some unknown card game with light-hitting shortstop Felix Martinez. Usually one would be playfully calling the other a liar and flying cards would punctuate the accusation.

Now, consider this, Martinez, who had never homered in a major league game, homered on the pitch before Yan homered.

What are the odds of two light-weight hitters hitting back-to-back homers for their first homers in the major leagues? Particularly when one of the two was a pitcher.

Yan never hit another homer and Martinez hit just two more. What I saw that day was Ripley’s, I’m telling you.

bchastain19@gmail.com

TOYS AND GAMES: I Don’t Like to Talk Politics, But…

I don’t like to talk politics, but…

Does anybody else wish that a moderate third-party candidate would swoop in from nowhere to win the Presidential election? Based on how the race is shaping up, I’ve got to believe such a third-candidate might actually have a chance. Where is Pat Paulsen when you need him?

 

Attending graduation at the University of Georgia left me impressed with the Athens bar scene, the campus, and the ceremonies, highlighted by Ryan Seacrest’s commencement speech.

Plenty of proud-parent moments were on display as were the students’ smiles, which screamed, “Got my sheepskin. The world is my oyster. ” Obviously, nobody wanted to be a mood killer by telling the graduates that they will now work the rest of their lives. But it’s all good, right?

 

Upon awakening after a night of the aforementioned Athens bar scene, I told Patti I’d give her $10 if she could smell my breath for 10 seconds. I guess the offer wasn’t as appealing as the “what would you do for a Klondike Bar” dare. She declined.

 

Finally, while in Detroit over the weekend, I went with the “Motown” Pandora setting. That resulted in a sweet walk, “Nowhere to run baby, nowhere to hide…”

 bchastain19@gmail.com