Numerous Phillies fans witnessed something on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park that they most certainly had never seen before, at least not in person. J.T. Realmuto, a catcher for the Phillies, fired a shot to deep center field. Michael Harris, a center fielder for the Braves, made a heroic try to make the grab, but he was unsuccessful. You’ve read the headline; the ball came crashing off the wall and toward right field. You anticipate the outcome.
J.T. Realmuto hit a home run inside the park.
It was the first time since Rafael Devers, a third baseman for the Red Sox, accomplished it in 2017. That was the 18th inside-the-park home run in playoff history. A Phillies player had never done it before. also lacked a catcher. (Data from Stathead search)
Of course, Realmuto is not your typical catcher. He can run. In comparison to last year, he stole 21 bases this year. Realmuto’s sprint speed this season, according to Statcast measures, was at the 86th percentile for all players in the big leagues.
That wasn’t all speed, though. Realmuto wanted that strange bounce off the wall despite having to place the ball in the deepest portion of the ballpark.
Eddie Rosario of the Braves couldn’t have done much in left field to assist Harris, and Ronald Acua Jr. hadn’t moved much from right field.
These days, with smaller ballparks and faster players with better arms than ever, a play must just come together like a perfect storm in order for an inside-the-park home run to occur. For Realmuto and the Phillies, it did.