I am a big fan of the unique features in various ballparks, whether it be the Green Monster at Fenway, Tal’s Hill at Minute Maid, having to climb a ladder to get into your upper deck seats at The Cell, or the troughs and dog-sized rats at Wrigley. But when it comes to mixing enjoyable novelty with impressive feats of baseballery, it’s hard to beat McCovey Cove at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Seeing a home run ball splash down out there never gets old, nor does the mad scramble of kayakers and swimmers to retrieve said ball.
Ben Zobrist became the latest to create a soaked souvenir when he hammered a 1-1 pitch from Lincolnwood, IL product George Kontos 386 feet out into the China Basin Channel. In doing so, the Zorilla became only the second Cub to reach the water. Can you name the first? I’ll tell you at the end. This is the 17th season for Candlestick’s replacement, so I was pretty surprised to hear that Zobi Wan Benobi’s forceful blast was the 105th splashdown to clear the Arcade and Portwalk.
I guess that’s one moistened moonshot every 12 1/2 games or so, which isn’t too crazy. But Barry Bonds spent, what, eight seasons there. I’d have though he smacked 105 all on his own. According to the Giants’ official Splash Hits List, however, Bonds bashed only 35 such drenched dingers.
Of course, that number represents 78 percent of the Giants’ splash hits (45) and 58 percent of the total hit by all teams (60) through the 2007 season. Only 45 home runs have found the water in the eight-plus seasons since. Say what you will about PED’s and all that, it’s still pretty interesting.
Zo’s big hit is just another in a string of exploits in what is looking like a potential career year. Not a bad addition to the team.
Oh, the first Cub to put a ball in the Cove: Corey Patterson on August 7, 2004.