8. Rowdy’s Boston bash
Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox – April 11, 2019
Baseball is a sport that combines intrinsic quirk with minute detail. From Wrigley Field’s ivy-covered brick walls that must be kept in check ruthlessly by the Cubbies grounds-crew to the Rogers Centre’s retractable roof that must be closed if wind speeds exceed exactly 64 km/h, baseball is filled with unique objects that carry interesting and detailed backstories often tied to extremely precise numbers.
The sole red seat at Fenway Park is no exception. Implemented to mark the longest home run ever hit at the oldest active MLB ballpark (a 502 footer off the bat of Ted Williams in 1946), the red seat has stood as the benchmark for every hitter who digs in at Fenway, almost daring batters to take a go.
Well, in mid-April, Rowdy Tellez took a go, and whether he actually got there or not is still up for debate. Bringing it back to my quirk and detail analogy, in the Statcast era, baseball seems to have lost some of those unexplainable, bordering on mythological, moments that have made up much of its history prior. Well, in 2019, Tellez gave us another.
Statcast said the dinger travelled 505 feet, passing Williams’s mark. However, to the naked eye, it landed well in front of where the red seat sits in the right field bleachers. Some say it hit off a sign well above the stands and fell back down. Some say Statcast just can’t handle the peculiar dimensions of Fenway Park.
The distance of the bash still sits blank on Baseball Savant. Professors tell us to never end a story with the phrase “we may never know” but I see no other fitting conclusion. Tellez’s blast could have unseated Ted Williams as the longest homer in the storied history of one of the sport’s last great coliseums. Or, it could have just been another run-of-the-mill April home run. We just might never know. The Blue Jays lost, 7-6.