Friday, July 1, 2016

Coastal Carolina and monsters

Hats off to the Chanticleers, newly crowned college baseball champs. They done the small town of Conway, South Carolina right proud.

Idle thought: The U of South Carolina calls its teams the Gamecocks, right? A chanticleer is a rooster. They must have a thing for male chickens in the Palmetto State. Regardless, it's a pretty good bet they get woke up fairly early in the morning.

Yessiree, CCU can crow, sorry, as kings of the hill. They slew the might dragon, sometimes known as Arizona. They got a little help with an apparent bad call at home plate where one of the Wildcats appeared to have slid in safely. Also an error committed by an Arizona infielder that led to four unearned runs. And they barely held on at the end as the Wildcats threatened in the bottom of the ninth. They were one hit away from an entirely different outcome. But it didn't happen and CCU sits on top of the NCAA baseball world. Three cheers for roosters.

One Dustin Johnson is quite happy himself. The laid back recent champ of the US golf Open is an alumni of CCU. What are chances of that happening? Maybe that will put a little more oom-pah in his next 350 yard monster drive.

Speaking of which, a few other monster shots happened earlier in the world of Major League Baseball. Guys hit someone ridiculously long home runs, not the least being Yoenis Cespides clouting one an estimated 460 feet. Hitting a baseball that far is impressive indeed.

Or is it? Consider what has happened in the past. Among others, some pudgy first baseman for the Detroit Tigers named Norm Cash hit homers that supposedly traveled well over 500 feet. Mickey Mantle supposedly hit the longest recorded home run ever -- some 585 feet. Reggie Jackson drove one into the lights high above the roof in Tiger Stadium. How far did THAT go? These days players have custom made bats, workout regimens (see stronger) and the balls themselves are reputedly juiced. The pitchers are throwing as hard or harder than they ever did. So how come nobody can even approach 500 feet anymore? Even during the steroid days, the super-brutes didn't hit balls as far as some of the old timers.

It defies logic when you think about it. Could they have had it all wrong back then and overestimated the footage? But by THAT much? Maybe. Still, that ball crashing into the light tower....... Given the technology available today, it's a pretty safe bet they can nail down the footage on any home run fairly accurately. And the comparison between then and now isn't just a matter of a few feet. We're talking well over 50, and approaching 100 in a few cases.

The old Yankee Stadium measured 465 to the left-centerfield wall. Balls were hit over it. What's considered a "monster" shot nowadays might well have been caught for just a long out.

Something definitely doesn't add up.

Nonetheless, congrats to the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina. They can strut like the roosters they're named after. Hey, a national championship ain't exactly chicken feed.

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