Every day when you go the ballpark, or in my case, turn on your computer/TV to watch the proceedings at the ballpark, there’s a chance you could see something you never thought you’d see in your lifetime.
And while spring training games don’t have the same weight as a regular season tilt, watching Maikel Franco hit an inside-the-park home run is a pretty hilarious and awesome thing, even in a fake game.
During the Phils’ walk-off 6-5 win over the New York Yankees on Saturday, Franco belted two dingers, the second of which was a bizarre inside-the parker that had to be seen to be believed.
In 1023 career plate appearances, Franco has hit a grand total of two triples, so watching him lumber around the bases as Yankees center fielder Dustin Fowler put up his hands in surrender of a perfectly reachable ball that the umpires weren’t going to let him simply decide not to play was quite the spectacle.
And while Franco has come into camp a bit more streamlined, he acknowledged the unlikeliness of him hitting an inside-the-parker after the game, saying, "Hey, how about my speed?"
Franco went yard with a more conventional dinger in the fourth inning, a mammoth bomb to deep left field that contained no flukes whatsoever.
Franco hitting taters is a welcome sight for everyone starved for Phillies baseball, but let’s not get too worked up about Franco just yet. After all, he fooled everyone a bit last spring when he went yard nine times and put up 23 RBIs in 22 games, with an OPS of 1.054.
Still, there are fewer things more fun in this world than Maikel Franco home runs.
But Franco wasn’t the day’s only star. Two youngsters left their mark, the first being first baseman Rhys Hoskins, who hit this huge blast to center field in the sixth inning, immediately after Franco’s inside-the-parker.
That may be the crispest, loudest, clearest crack of the bat you’re going to hear this spring. Hoskins will start the season at AAA, but hopes are high the right-hander will be able to follow up on his 38-homer season last year in home-run happy Reading.
The other young player making noise these first few games is outfielder/first baseman Brock Stassi, who is trying to make the team as the last reserve on the team. Stassi hit a dinger in Friday’s loss to New York, and followed that up with the game-winning, walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth Saturday, driving in Hoskins, who had doubled just ahead of him.
Stassi certainly hasn’t hurt himself with his early play so far.
Finally, prospect Mark Appel, who will start the season in the Lehigh Valley rotation, showed confounding stuff once again.
In the fifth inning, he entered and started things off with an impressive strikeout of Clint Frazier.
But he followed that up by surrendering a couple hits and then uncorked this wild pitch that allowed two runners to score.
An inning later, he recovered to throw a 1-2-3 inning, so that was good. But it’s clear his problems from the stretch will not be solved overnight.
All in all, it was only officially Game No. 2 (I’m not counting the game against the college kids, sorry) and your Phils were running around out there, pitchin’ and catchin’ and hittin’ crazy inside-the-park home runs, so everything is A-OK.