If they ever stage a strongest man competition in Major League Baseball during his career, slugger Evan Gattis of the Atlanta Braves probably ought to be the favorite.
Here's the thing about Gattis hitting a 486-foot home run Sunday afternoon: A stiff breeze at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia was blowing in. The elements probably were the only thing keeping him from having a 500-footer — not to mention a three-homer day. Still, Gattis can say he owns the longest home run in the major leagues this season.
“I figured someone would hit one further, (Giancarlo) Stanton or somebody, but whatever, it all counts as one,” Gattis said. “And we lost the game today. Just ready to get after them in Miami.”
Gattis' first homer of the day was 10 feet longer than a Hunter Pence home run at Coors Field hit Aug. 27, and it's the longest homer at CBP by 46 feet over a shot by Domonic Brown of the Phillies. It landed on the center field concourse, well beyond the grandstand, and appeared to hit a female fan in the arm on the fly as she walked by. It also appeared that whomever retrieved the ball handed it to her. Brotherly Love in Philly!
Gattis also hit a second home run — it wasn't nearly as long — and he accounted for all of Atlanta's runs in a 3-2 loss to the Phillies. At least Philly winning allowed left-hander Cole Hamels to be effusive in his praise of Gattis' strength. Via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Hamels told reporters after Sunday’s game he knows Gattis’ balls are gone in any ballpark. Gattis hit another one 385 feet to left field on a first-pitch curveball to tie the game 2-2 in the seventh.
“I felt like I was throwing a golf ball out there and he had a driver,” Hamels said. “He’s probably going to be in that strongest man competition at the end of the year. Definitely going to vote on him because he’ll win. It was impressive.”
Hamels dropped his head in the fifth, like he thought Gattis had taken him deep again, but center fielder Cesar Hernandez tracked that one down on the warning track.
“I guess if the 50 mph winds blowing in didn’t keep it in play, it definitely would have been off the wall,” Hamels said. “Or through it.”
With the Braves losing, Gattis wasn't acting terribly impressed with himself. That's OK, we all can do it for him.