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The Anatomy of 700

All things 700.

St. Louis Cardinals v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Last night, Albert Pujols hit his 699 and 700th homerun.

The internet was there to capture it all — the pitch, the result, the reaction.

A story in images, videos, links, and Tweets.

The Pitch

We talked a week ago about the types of pitches that Albert was hunting for. His primary target has been fastballs and sliders middle or higher and primarily middle to away. 700 was a little more inside than usual, but Albert knows what to do with a slider that sits just off center.

Bickford threw three sliders in the at-bat. The first two were high and outside. Pujols took the first for a strike and watched the second for a ball, though it was in the zone. He was obviously thinking slider again. Here’s what he got:

80.8 mph
2331 rpm spin
44” vertical break
8” horizontal break

It wasn’t a bad pitch. It didn’t stay up or lack spin. It broke and broke hard. It just happened to break into Pujols’ swing path.

The Home Run

You can see from the graphic above that Pujols caught this one at 99.8 mph and a launch angle of 33 degrees. That’s not a particularly hard home run. But it had pretty much the perfect loft to get several rows deep into the left field bleachers. Not a bomber. But not a cheap homerun.

This one would have made it out of 28/30 ballparks.

The Call

This game was on Apple TV, which was kind of a bummer for technically challenged Cardinals fans. It did mean the game got national viewership, which is kind of awesome for the baseball world.

Was it a good call? Eh, I don’t know. It certainly wasn’t a bad call. Wayne Randazzo said what he needed to say and didn’t overtalk. I saw a lot of mixed opinions out there about it, so I’ll share former VEB’ers Ben Godar’s here to add a somewhat educated opinion to the mix.

It’s really too bad that Dan McLaughlin didn’t have the opportunity to make this call. I don’t know what he would have said, but I know it would have been well-considered, genuinely emotional, and probably mixed with a few tears.

Dan has called a lot of Cardinals games. He’s been the TV voice of the Redbirds for almost my entire life. Because he’s been almost exclusively a regular season, he’s missed being behind the mic for some of the club’s most historic moments. I wanted this one for him. Alas, it wasn’t to be.

At least he got to be with John Rooney and Ricky Horton on the radio call.

The Reaction

You wanted this to happen in Busch Stadium. With the schedule as it was, though, that seemed unlikely. That being the case, the next best place was Dodgers’ Stadium, the place where this late-career renaissance as a platoon-power hitter blossomed for Pujols.

Here’s the pitch and reaction, just field mics. No broadcasters.

The Ball

What would you do if you caught a ball like this one? Personally, I would give it back to Pujols and whatever he wanted to give me in return would be welcome. I can say that because I was home on my recliner and not in the left field stands holding history and a ball probably worth a million or so.

The person who caught it? Who knows what they’re going to do with it but early reports suggest they aren’t giving it back to Albert.

The Game

The Cardinals won. 11-0. The offense is back. And some of the kids got into the home run vibes. Here’s the boxscore:

And the scorecard from Stew over at Birds on the Black:

The History

Pujols now sits in fourth place on the all-time home run leaderboard. I love how Baseball Reference lists it by image as well as number.

And more historical perspective:

A little how it started, how it’s going:

The Continued Reaction...

I’ll update this with more content as stuff continues to come up. Check-in during the day.

I also love this Tweet here, which listed the probability of Albert hitting #700 at 7%. That’s actually a really high number.

Happy Saturday, Viva El Birdos! Enjoy this one.