The Murphy Homer / Non-homer

large_murphIt doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, because even without Danny Murphy’s homerun, the Mets still eek out a win by one run.

But, there’s one thing bothering me about the fly ball he hit to the right field corner in the sixth inning of last night’s ballgame.

While everyone else is focusing on where the ball “hit” or “didn’t hit” the Subway sign, I’m looking at where the ball landed on the field, and what it did afterward — which was bounce toward the right field wall, and into the Modell’s sign.

Now, the Subway sign / overhang is a full eight feet in front of the Modell’s sign. So if the ball deflected off the Subway sign, how did it continue toward the Modell’s sign, rather than reverse direction and roll back toward the infield?

That one TV angle that makes it look as though the ball seemed to change direction while in the air in front of the Subway sign, I think, may be an optical illusion. I don’t think it’s possible to change direction via a deflection, and then change direction again after hitting the ground. You’d have to impart some very weird overspin on the ball, and that generally only happens with towering fly balls (the kind Dave Kingman used to hit). Murphy’s shot was more between a line drive and a high fly ball, and I don’t know that it could’ve had the type of overspin necessary to bounce that way. It looked to me like it had backspin.

Any physics experts out there to impart some wisdom? No doubt this issue is going to come up again at some point.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Ravi May 28, 2009 at 3:58 pm
    Given the Mets rather dubious history with luck (Tom Seaver lottery and Black Cat Magic notwithstanding), I’d say don’t question last night’s call, and enjoy this streak of good fortune while it lasts.
  2. gary s May 28, 2009 at 5:55 pm
    shea was a dump, but at least when the ball cleared the fence, it was a homerun and we didn’t need a 10 minute replay to figure out what the heck happened.the overhang in right is a joke.kind of like the wilpon’s running a mlb franchise.ask your best player, david wright what he thinks of hitting in citifield..
  3. joe May 28, 2009 at 6:31 pm
    I’m not so much concerned with last night’s call as future calls. I could be wrong, but I get the feeling there will be more balls soaring toward that overhang, and perhaps something should be done now (move or change the color of the Subway sign?) to avert future confusion.
  4. Andy May 28, 2009 at 7:10 pm
    Had everything else happened the same, the Mets still win by 2 runs. Castro followed Murphy with a double, which would have driven Murphy home had he been on 2nd. Really the instant replay only netted the Mets 1 run, not 2.
  5. Murph May 29, 2009 at 1:20 am
    I agree with Gary S:
    The overhang is a joke.
    Oh, sure, Mets fans fondly remember the old Tiger Stadium. What??? Oh, that’s right, we don’t give a [F. or S., your choice] about the Tigers, or their lousy old stadium.

    Having ANY signs on the outfield wall is bush league. Remember back when only the minor leagues had signage on the outfield wall, how bush league it looked? Yup.

    Having a yellow & white sign on a part of the field that has an impact on the game is stupid, and should be eliminated. Rookie stadium mistake? OK. But move that Subway ad next year, or whenever the contract runs out.

    Hanging out after softball tonight, with neither a Mets or Yankees game on TV, reminds me of how much NYC misses a good Knicks team. Dolan!!!!!

  6. joe May 29, 2009 at 1:53 am
    Andy – you’re assuming that Ramon Castro would’ve received the exact same pitch with a runner on second, as he received with the bases empty. That’s not always the case.

    Murph – I agree 100% on all counts. I remember when the ads on the OF walls began appearing and thinking, wow, that’s so “bush”. Now when I go to Citi, there are so many ads all over the place I have a bit of trouble finding the various scoreboards.

    Heck, next thing you know MLB uniforms will have advertising — like patches on their sleeves (oops, guess they already do, except they’re disguised as “Citi Field First Year commemorative” patches)

  7. wlaadair May 29, 2009 at 11:52 am
    The Wilpons had Wright, Murph and Evans test the home run issue last September, all three managed to hit at least one out, but in all fairness, it was batting practice pitching, not live game pitching.

    Considering that Wright had pneumonia last September when he did hit the home run, the Wilpons probably thought the dimensions were fine.