Brandon Allen of the Athletics launched a home run deep into the third deck of Yankee Stadium last night.
If you didn't see it, check out the video first.
When I saw it land, I thought it was absolutely crushed. But then a few things about it seemed sort of weird. First, his teammates didn't actually have a very strong reaction. Second, on the replay, it doesn't really look like he got all of it.
Enter ESPN Home Run Tracker for the explanation. The home run went only 428 feet, just the fifth longest hit on August 23, 2011. The speed off the bat was 108.7 MPH, towards the higher end but nothing particularly special. How the hell did it appear to go so far, then? The answer is in the elevation angle which, at 34.8 degrees, was the second highest of yesterday's homers.
Simply--he golfed it. At its apex it reached 139 feet, the highest of all of yesterday's homers. Basically, he hit it hard and at just the right angle to land in the upper deck, even though many other lower-angle homers would ultimately go farther.
In the same game, Eric Sogard hit his first career homer and also golfed it. It was yesterday's only homer at a higher angle than Allen's, but it was slower off the bat, had a lower apex, and just got over the wall.
Thanks to everybody's favorite blog administrator, Neil, for some helpful discussions about this post topic.