Too Bad It’s Only Spring Training, Because That Means We Will Never Know How Far This Miguel Cabrera Home Run Traveled
It didn’t quite go over the tiki bar as the color analyst suggested, but one thing is known: Ball go far.
“The ball nearly landed in the players’ parking lot behind the stadium. A bartender at one of the tiki bars along the left-field concourse said the ball hit the back fence behind the bar, about 100 feet beyond the left-field fence.”
My official guess — using an actual tape measure, Google Maps’ satellite view of the stadium, the park’s dimensions and a careful eye on what that ball soared over as it exited the stadium — is 445 feet. That feels extremely conservative. Alas, we will never know the official footage because most teams don’t do homer measurements in spring training, which is just lazy.
More amazing to me than just this sheer show of force is how Cabrera hit that ball. Watch the replay of Cabrera’s swing from the first-base dugout at the 0:45 mark. That pitch is up by his letters and doesn’t allow him to extend his arms. Look at just far he has to pull his hands in to get to that ball.
So, Cabrera faced a pitch above the strike zone, cutting into his body, that kind of handcuffed him. And he hit it into Georgia.
I’d say he’s ready for the regular season.
The NFL Combine is attractive viewing because we like to watch the elemental power of the human body. Faster, higher, stronger. Just how far can we go as a species? The combine is the answer to that question within a certain segment of the population.
Way too many people — usually those who gab at your local pub or get paid to gab on local talk radio — use the numbers that come out of the combine to predict a player’s future in the NFL.
Instead of gleaning the most about a football player looking for a football-playing job by watching them actually play football, these prospective employees get run through a glorified physical fitness test, the results of which could either add or subtract millions of dollars from their bank account.
There are some teams (read: Raiders) that put too much weight into the overall value of the combine as well. So, what happens to these “Workout Warriors”? Here is a recap of the best performers in the top four combine events (40-yard dash, broad jump, vertical leap and bench press, in my opinion) over the past 10 years.
Screw the shuttle drills. There is a raw appeal to faster, stronger, higher. Agility is the offspring. Plus, no one ever watches in awe as someone runs around a series of small orange cones.
Notes: The lengths of the jumps and leaps will be presented in inches. Each player in the bench press does reps of 225 pounds, and the 40-yard dash, obviously, is presented in seconds.
On to the feats of athleticism!
Michael Vick is a player who gets hurt a lot. Just take a look at his injury report history, minus that little “suspended” gap in the middle. And that list doesn’t even include Vick’s sprained shoulder in 2002 nor his broken leg, which forced him to miss 11 games in 2003.
Of course, Vick doesn’t want to get hurt. Every NFL’er wants to find a way to play 16 games and then some every season. But after a while, players have to come to terms with whom they are. And Vick, in a radio interview Saturday, sounded like a man who knows exactly what kind of player he is.
When asked what he will do to stay healthy for the entire 2013 season, Vick gave this answer:
“If you think about what I endured and how many hits I took (last year), I stayed upright for seven games and took about 180 hits,” Vick said. “It is what it is. I am going to train the way I train, I’m not going to change anything. I’m going to be who I am and I’m not going to change. I think everybody just has to accept it.”
I love it.
Maybe there is something wrong with Titus Young.
I mean, really wrong. Some time down the road, perhaps we will find out that he is a tortured soul, haunted by personal demons and private childhood memories. Maybe something will come to light that makes us look back on his actions with a better understanding, a more sensitive touch with a pinch of empathy, if I may be so bold. It kind of happened with Brandon Marshall.
Until that time, it’s hard to not just shake your head and laugh in disbelief at what Young has “accomplished” in the past nine months:
Sucker-punched a teammate; became the ultimate freelance receiver; got suspended by the Lions for insubordination and then was basically told to go home for the rest of the year; went kamikaze on Twitter; got cut; signed with the Rams and got cut by them after nine days.
And that was just 2012-13. He was acting like a jerk long before then.
If you click that last link, you’ll see what Rams head coach Jeff Fisher had to say Friday when he released Young, and if you read between the lines, you can basically tell that he and the organization didn’t like what they heard from Young during their “extended interview process.”
There is something romantic about the phrase “pitchers and catchers.” Every team in every sport has opening day and training camp. But in baseball, those unique-but-not-really-unique words truly signify — at least for me — the start of another season. Pitchers and catchers gets me excited. It gets me turned on.
Yep, that’s the good stuff.
Mmm-hmmm. Stretch. Mmmmmmmmmm …
Oh, that’s so hot.
OK, that’s enough. I’m getting a little sweaty.
All in all, it’s just a few players throwing around on a field out of uniform. But dude, it’s baseball! And it’s freaking back!
I just know I’m going tear up watching the first pitch on opening day (again).