According to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, the longest longball of the season heading into Sunday’s Cubs/Diamondbacks game had traveled 384 feet. Actually, there were two such shots, both fired by Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton. One of the participants in this game, Paul Goldschmidt, sat third with a 382-footer he hit about a week and a half ago.
But when Rubby De La Rosa piped a 95 mph four-seamer to Kris Bryant in the 5th inning, those aforementioned dingers got knocked down a peg. The ball was about knee-high and Bryant hit it as well as you possibly can, sending it screaming out to left-center at 111 mph. The ball was hit so high it was actually out of the frame of the WGN camera that attempted to track it, eventually striking the massive video board near its upper-left corner after soaring an estimated 495 feet.
Ay Dios mio.
Officials were forced to turn to dental records in order to identify the baseball but had to abandon those efforts when they realized its teeth had been vaporized. I jest — morbidly, at that — because I can’t really comprehend just how hard Bryant hit that thing and I’m forced to turn to humor to describe it. MLB.com didn’t even have the video up until roughly 30 minutes after the fact, likely due to fears that it was too graphic for public distribution.
Lucky for us, they eventually made the highlight available, though you must admit this is akin to the stuff you’d find on Cinemax in the wee hours of the morning. Turns out Bryant’s titanic blast was just a preamble though, at least in terms of scoring, as his teammates played a game of “Anything you can do, I can do not quite as well” in the 6th.
With Bryant on first base following a walk that loaded the bases, Miguel Montero lofted the 2nd pitch he saw out to left for the Cubs’ second grand slam of the series. It looked for a moment as though Javy Baez was going to make it back-to-back jacks when he whipped a 2-1 slider to left, but the ball had neither the height nor distance to get out. The leg kick was back, but I can’t blame Javy for selling out at that point in the game.
Bryant’s bomb was beyond description and the Montero mash was money, but the next Cubs homer was something different altogether. Jonathan Herrera taking a Silvino Bracho fastball out to right-center was the kind of random occurrence that makes you laugh, comfortable in the knowledge that the game is all but over.
It’s a good thing the Cubs added those homers too, because the bullpen allowed a couple to the D-backs in the 9th to make the final score a bit closer than is should been. Still, gotta love finishing off a sweep before heading out for an 11-game road trip bookended by 3 games in St. Louis and 4 in Pittsburgh. A lot of people have been talking about the playoff atmosphere at Wrigley of late, but that’s going to be ramped up significantly as the Cubs take on fellow contenders.
Enjoy your Labor Day weekend, friends, and please be safe.