In the thrilling world of baseball, few plays can match the adrenaline rush of an inside-the-park home run. The perfect alignment of factors required for such a feat to occur was on full display in a recent game featuring Rays outfielder Luke Raley.
Raley delivered one of the most extraordinary inside-the-park home runs we’ve ever witnessed. Subbing for Jose Siri in the sixth inning, Raley took a first-pitch slider from Ross Stripling and sent it hurtling towards right-center field at Oracle Park. The ball narrowly stayed within play off the brick wall, but what happened next was nothing short of miraculous.
The ball ricocheted off the brick wall and bounced perfectly atop the separate padded wall in center field before continuing its journey towards left field. Outfielders Wade Meckler and Michael Conforto could only watch helplessly as they chased after it.
While Raley may not be Bobby Witt Jr. when it comes to base running, he’s no slouch either. Ranking in this season’s 86th percentile for sprint speed, he had more than enough pace to cruise around those bases and score standing up.
The odds of replicating that bounce off the wall are astronomical – perhaps even impossible – which is why MLB fans were left utterly gobsmacked by what they’d just seen.
Twitter users weighed in on this once-in-a-lifetime play:
Matt Holder (@MHolder95) pondered about potential outcomes if different rules applied: “Had the ball gone over the fence after hitting the wall…would it be a homer or ground rule double? Also, what a helpless feeling as an outfielder lol.”
Jackson Roberts (@jrobertsbsbl), who has been watching games at PacBell/SBC/AT&T/Oracle Park since childhood commented: “That’s [sic] wonkiest arcade bounce yet by far.”
Folzybear (@folzyfantasy15) echoed similar sentiments: “They could do this a thousand times and there is no way that bounce happens again.”
Indeed, every baseball game has something new to offer – sometimes even defying all odds.