April 19, 2011
His younger brother, Vai, a standout student and baseball player at the Air Force Academy — a 70-mile drive from Denver — was in attendance along with several fellow cadets. It was the only game of San Francisco's three-day visit to the Mile High City that his schedule would permit him to attend.
Vai was probably just hoping for a cameo appearance from Nate as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement, but manager Bruce Bochy instead decided to give the older Schierholtz brother his second start of the season, citing a need for his speed to help cover the spacious Coors Field outfield.
Needless to say, Nate's start must have come as a pleasant surprise to Vai when he arrived.
But leaving with a souvenir off Nate's bat after choosing a seat in the third deck of right field, a place where only 30 home runs had traveled in the 16-year history of Coors Field?
And yet that's exactly what happened. Nate Schierholtz, the defensive-minded outfielder receiving an extremely rare opportunity to start a game, launched a titanic solo home run into the third deck off Colorado's Esmil Rogers(notes).
That, in itself, is notable. But as Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reported, Vai was sitting 10 feet from where it landed.
"I saw them up there screaming a little while later," Nate said. "I'd guessed they went up there to yell at me, you know, from the same spot."
He didn't know they sat there the whole game. He also didn't know until afterward that one of Vai's buddies bribed a fan $25 for the ball.
"He had a ball in his hand," Nate said. "He said, `This is the ball.' I said, `C'mon. No it's not."
That is without question the best $25 ever spent at the ballpark.
Other facts, figures and quotes pertaining to Schierholtz's home run:
• The blast traveled an estimated 467 feet. According to Hit Tracker Online, it's the second-longest home run recorded this season behind Justin Upton's(notes) 478-foot shot off Chris Carpenter(notes) on April 12. Upton also owns the third-longest home run at 464 feet.
• This was the third upper-deck home run in Coors Field by a Giant. The first two belonged to Barry Bonds.
• Aubrey Huff's description: "It looked like a snowflake off his bat."
• Pat Burrell(notes) hit a three-run home run one batter prior to Schierholtz's. That home run snapped Esmil Rogers' streak of 228 batters without allowing a home run, which was the longest active streak among starting pitchers in the majors.
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