That Mark Reynolds crushed a 457-foot homer off Oakland’s Jarrod Parker Monday should not come as a surprise. The guy had already hit one that far this season, has two of the 16 longest hit this season (according to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker) and has hit eight more than 400 feet in just over a month.
This one, however, was special. It was a revenge blast.
Reynolds was unhappy after Parker had drilled him in the shoulder in the first inning, two batters after Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera had hit back-to-back homers. The action was sufficiently questionable for plate ump Angel Hernandez to warn both dugouts.
So after Reynolds connected in the fifth, he took several slow steps to first before starting to jog, a deliberate message. (Watch it here.)
He elaborated after the game, telling the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “I normally don’t pimp anything, but he hit me near the head. I don’t mind getting hit—it helps the on-base percentage—but when you come near the head. . . . I was on a mission right there, to hit a ball as far as I could, as kind of payback for hitting me almost in the head.”
It’s not like this kind of thing is new. In 2006, Albert Pujols responded to an earlier strikeout celebration by Oliver Perez by hitting a homer, then flipping his bat.
In 2004, Ken Griffey Jr. homered off of Josh Beckett, then stared into the Marlins dugout—a message to Jack McKeon, who had been fired in Cincinnati four years earlier, and blamed Griffey for it. (Tension in the ballpark quickly rose.)
Welcome to the pantheon, Mark Reynolds. You’re in some pretty heady company.