CHICAGO — During batting practice Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field, the Nationals hitters put on a show. Much maligned as a unit much of the year for their lack of production, one thing is certain about several Nationals: they have some sickening power.
Later that night, Michael Morse showed that he can talk power with the best of them when he stepped to the plate in the sixth inning and hit a ball so far to center field that the first and only comparison that came to mind for many longtime Chicago scribes was Sammy Sosa.
Hittrackeronline.com measured the blast at 466 feet, the longest of the year for Morse in a season that seems to be filled with bombs. In fact, also according to Hittracker, 14 of Morse’s 20 home runs this year have been over 400 feet. Six have been longer than 444 feet. Tuesday’s blast was the longest home run hit at Wrigley Field this season — by 20 feet.
It tied him for the eighth-longest home run hit in the major leagues this season and produced an interesting moment in the clubhouse after the game when Morse was chatting with reporters about his 20th blast. Asked if that may have been the best one he’s hit all year, Morse paused and thought. Then for about two minutes both he and several reporters tossed out other ridiculously long blasts he’d hit this year. Suffice it to say, it was difficult to come up with an overall winner. Seeing the distance a morning later, clearly Tuesday’s was it, but there were plenty of other contenders.
Like… The 455-foot second-deck shot to right field he hit on the Nationals last homestand, visiting a place not too many others have gone in the history of the park.
… Or the 454-foot extra-innings bomb he hit in Arizona during an intense series with the Arizona Diamondbacks in early June.
… Or the 446-foot one he crushed to right field in Miller Park in Milwaukee during the first game of a brutal sweep for the Nationals but, looking back, was the start of Morse’s phenomenal surge at the plate this season and his first full series as the team’s every day first baseman.
As Morse continues to put together a remarkable season, one that could have him in contention for the National League batting title as well as on a few MVP ballots, Tuesday was not the first time he’s been compared to Sosa. Nationals coach Julian Martinez, who worked closely with Sosa during his time in Chicago, has mentioned the slugger’s name to Morse more than once.
Want to know how far all 20 of Morse’s homers have gone this year? Check out Hittrackeronline.com’s scatter plot below: