Yoenis Cespedes hits mammoth homer, later acts sheepish for showboating

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

The spacious and pitcher-friendly expanse that is Oakland Coliseum?

Yeah, doesn't look like it's going to be much of a problem for Yoenis Cespedes.

Playing in only his third major league game, the A's rookie outfielder launched what will end up being one of the most impressive home runs this season. A two-run straightaway rocket to center field, the blast bounced off a facade and provided Oakland's lone bright spot in a  7-3 opening night loss to Seattle on Friday. Hit Tracker Online estimated the homer's distance at 462 feet.

Cespedes' swing was so swift and the results so titanic that the 26-year-old rookie reacted with a hop and extended gaze toward the ball's eventual destination. That didn't please Seattle pitcher Jason Vargas at all — especially since the A's were trailing 5-0 at the time — and Cespedes later realized he may have made a mistake by violating the unwritten rule of watching the ball too long.

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He's not on the island any more, he said.

"I followed the ball, but I don't like that to do that again," Cespedes said via the San Francisco Chronicle. "I come from Cuba, where it's a little less quality games, so we do that. But here I don't want to do that."

Still, wow! That home run had a one-way ticket to the Oakland hills if Mount Davis hadn't gotten in the way. To put the distance in perspective,  Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing  did a little screencap of where the ball ended up.

As a Mariners fan who thought the shot should count for two home runs, Sullivan allows for the possibility that Cespedes had reason to celebrate:

He watched the hell out of that screaming warhead, and as you can see in the video, Jason Vargas didn't take too kindly to that. I imagine that Cespedes is going to be hearing about this for some time. But in Cespedes' defense, did you see the home run that he hit? It's possible that Cespedes wasn't showboating on purpose. It's possible that he was just stunned that his body is capable of doing that to an object.

Indeed, I got up out of my chair, pumped my fist, did a dance, then went outside to set off a bunch of fireworks after watching Cespedes leave the yard.

OK, well maybe I didn't quite do that entire routine, but it does also make me happy that Cespedes recognized that excessive celebration isn't quite the norm in American baseball. Since he already has two homers in his first three games, I suspect he knows he's going to be insulting a lot of big league pitchers just by swinging his bat.

Make sure you're ready for the season ahead ...
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