September 28, 2011
We've seen our fair share of inside-the-park home runs in 2011. Among those were a couple first career home runs that stayed in the yard courtesy of Chicago Cubs speedy outfielder Tony Campana(notes), who rounded the bases at Wrigley Field on Aug 5, and Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve(notes), who did so back on Aug 20.
In addition to the successful attempts, we also saw a highly amusing attempt that fell a little short, when Ryan Braun(notes) face planted coming around third on Aug 30 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
But what we haven't seen is all three put together. Yes, I mean an inside-the-park home run that was the first of a player's career, that also included a face plant.
That all changed on Tuesday night, when San Francisco Giants third baseman Conor Gillaspie(notes) took the plunge, dusted himself off and still crossed the plate during their 7-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
Gillaspie's comical trip around the bases came in the seventh inning. With Brett Pill(notes) on first, Gillaspie lined an Esmil Rogers(notes) pitch into right-center field, which of course at AT&T Park means Triples Alley. Pill scored easily from first as Rockies right fielder Ty Wigginton(notes) struggled to run the ball down. Then, as the throw finally came back towards the infield, Giants third base coach Tim Flannery decided to wave Gillaspie all the way around.
The move appeared to be disastrous at first, as Gillaspie took a face-first spill coming around third. However, at the exact same moment, Wigginton's throw eluded both Rockies cutoff men. This allowed Gillaspie to regain his feet and beat the throw from Rockies first baseman Jordan Pacheco(notes), who ventured all the way across the diamond to retrive the ball.
Naturally, there was some question about the scoring of the play initially. But since Flannery was already waving Gillaspie home when the throw got away, the scoring was actually pretty easy.
Home run. No questions asked.
And quite a thrilling home run.
"Honestly, I was pretty embarrassed," Gillaspie said. "I didn't want to get up."
Yes, but what about the moment you realized nobody saw you fall because they were watching the Rockies embarrass themselves behind you?
"At that point, I looked over and I saw the guy didn't have the ball. He was still trying to get it," Gillaspie said. "I figured I'd just go for it. I was happy just to hit the ball."
Good call. Just get the ball in play. Especially against that suspect defensive alignment Rockies manager Jim Tracy continues to run out there. In fact, you might recall me specifically pointing out Tracy and general manager Dan O'Dowd's poor judgment in tabbing Wigginton an outfielder, even in the most desperate of situations, during my Detention Lecture?
I rest my case.