What’s the Best Kind of Homer? A Revenge Homer, of Course

Reynolds pimps
Catcher Derek Norris watches the ball. Pitcher Jarrod Parker watches the ground. Mark Reynolds watches Jarrod Parker.

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.

Jarrod Parker, No-Hitter Etiquette

On the Dreaded Power of the No-Hitter Jinx

When A’s starter Jarrod Parker gave up an eighth-inning single to Michael Young Monday, it saved his manager some headaches. Parker is a rookie, had already exceeded his closely monitored pitch count, and, until Young reached safely, had not yet given up a hit to the Rangers.

Bob Melvin had already told himself that the eighth would be Parker’s final frame, regardless of the outcome. He was prepared to do what Terry Collins wouldn’t, just days earlier: capsize a no-hitter in progress.

Because it never came to pass, however, and because intentions are far less fun to criticize or defend than actions, we’ll turn our attention to Ray Ratto of CSNBay Area. Never one to subscribe to superstition (or even buy it off the newsstand), Ratto set about needling those on the collective edge of their seat during Parker’s gem.

In the seventh inning, he took some notice of folks on Twitter trying to draw attention to Parker’s feat without actually coming out and saying it, for fear of the dreaded jinx. From Ratto’s ensuing column:

Superstition lives in baseball, at least among the devout and experienced. Well, I am a man of science, in that I believe in evolution for some people. So I blurted out in response to one such devotee of tradition, “You mean JARROD PARKER’S NO-HITTER THROUGH SEVEN INNINGS? IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE TRYING NOT TO REFER TO?”

Did he jinx anything? Parker gave up his first hit two pitches later.

For those of you unfamiliar with Ratto’s style from his years at the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner, his response to the ensuing fallout paints a fairly accurate picture:

So it was my fault, except for the following things. Jinxes don’t exist, and superstitions are idiotic. There are no baseball gods minding the store for etiquette violations, and if there were baseball gods, they still haven’t fully explained the color line to my satisfaction, so to hell with them anyway. Plus, Parker wasn’t reading my Twitter feed at the time, plus nobody else in the dugout was, plus, they already knew very well he had a no-hitter, plus shut up.

Other than that, yes, it was my fault.

In Ratto’s mind, even if there was a jinx, he should be doubly thanked for sparing Melvin the fallout from having to remove a pitcher from his own no-hitter.

Seems like perfect logic from here.