Dodgers leave their marks in San Francisco

Anyone who has ever been to AT&T Park in San Francisco will tell that, in spite of being home to the Dodgers most-hated rivals, it is – hands down – one of the most beautiful ballparks in all of baseball.

Opened on April 11, 2000 and having gone through a series of name changes – all of which involved the corporate name changes of the park’s primary phone company sponsor – AT&T Parks boasts of several things. First, and perhaps the most misleading, is their claim of having the most consecutive sellouts in MLB history. While this may indeed may be true (although many baseball fans undoubtedly question this), an AT&T sellout crowd of 41,915 is what Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully would have referred to as “a nice crowd on hand tonight” at Dodger Stadium, where it takes over 50,000 to qualify as a sellout.

Regardless of your personal feelings about their team, AT&T Park in San Francisco is among the most beautiful in all of baseball. (Photo credit – ballparkpilgrimages.com)

But aside from its breathtaking view and that questionable consecutive sellouts thing (which ended this season due to the Giants absolutely abysmal season), one of the most popular features about AT&T Park is what they affectionately call “splash hits.”

A splash hit is a home run hit to right field that clears the right field bleachers and splashes down in the waters of McCovey Cove, which borders the ballpark on its southeastern side in San Francisco’s famous China Basin. To do so, a batter must hit the ball approximately 400 feet and clear not only the right field bleachers, but also the Arcade and Portwalk that runs along McCovey Cove.

As you might expect, the Giants list only their own splash hits on AT&T Park’s Splash Hits counter, which is located on the brick wall in right field. That being said, they do include splash hits by visiting teams on their website. As you also might expect, the majority of Giants splash hits belong to admitted PED user Barry Bonds (35).

AT&T Park’s ‘Splash Hits’ counter remained at 68 for nearly two years until Giants sluggers Brandon Belt and Denard Span finally combined to up it to its current 72. (Photo credit – Eric Risberg)

But what many Dodger and baseball fans may not know is that of the 42 visiting players who have hit splash hit home runs to date, five have been Dodgers. In fact, the first-ever visiting splash hit home run belongs to former Dodgers catcher Todd Hundley, who splashed down on June 30, 2000.

After a considerable splash hit drought, the second Dodgers splash hit came on July 20, 2011 and was, coincidentally, hit by another former Dodgers catcher – Dioner Navarro. It would then be another five years before the next Dodgers home run landed in McCovey Cove, that one belonging to Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson on June 12, 2016.

This is where things get both interesting and fun, at least for Dodger fans, that is. This past Tuesday (September 12, 2017), Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley launched an 88-mph Johnny Cueto fastball that splashed down in McCovey Cove. And then the following night (September 13, 2017), Dodgers rookie phenom and Dodgers current 2017 home run leader Cody Bellinger absolutely crushed Giants left-hander (yes, left-hander) Matt Moore‘s 93-mph fastball that not only splashed down, but was estimated at 445 feet by Home Run Tracker.

Although initially estimated at 441 feet, Home Run Tracker later put Bellinger’s splash hit at 445 feet.
(Video capture courtesy of SportsNet LA – Click on image to view video)

In the grand scheme of things, splash hits aren’t really that big of a deal. They won’t guarantee you a spot in the sacred Halls of Cooperstown (other than perhaps an honorable mention in the museum), but for Bellinger, sending one into the drink was significant for the 22-year-old Scottsdale, Arizona native and likely 2017 National League Rookie of the Year.

“You always see it growing up, watching Barry Bonds do it,” Bellinger told reporters, after the Dodgers 4-1 win over the Giants on Wednesday night. “To actually do it is pretty cool.”

There’s crushed, and then there’s Cody Bellinger crushed.
(Video Capture courtesy of SportsNet LA)

Giants fan ‘McCovey Cove Dave’ ended up with Bellinger’s 37th home run ball. He made it abundantly clear that he wasn’t about to give it back to a Dodger. (Photo credit – Jesus Quinonez)

While the great Otis Redding may have enjoyed sitting on the dock of the Bay and the great Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley and first baseman Cody Bellinger most definitely left their marks in San Francisco.

 

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3 Responses to “Dodgers leave their marks in San Francisco”

  1. CruzinBlue says:

    Thanks for the history lesson 53. Utley and Bellinger’s splashdowns were definitely fun to watch. May there be many more in Belly’s future!

  2. McCoveyCoveDave says:

    Thank you Ron for doing such a great job with the history of McCovey Cove. Giants fans consider me the unofficial historian of McCovey Cove. I can tell you even which fan recovered each splash hit.

    Anyhow, I was the fan who grabbed the splash hits from both Chase Utley and Cody Bellinger. I love baseball & I love chasing HR’s.

    Giants fans call me “McCovey Cove Dave” as I chase so many of the splash hit HR’s hit into McCovey Cove, but I also chase HR’s on land. My first minor league HR snag was hit by Dodger Cody Bellinger on 9/19/15 when he was a member of the Rancho Cucamonga Earthquakes. That night he hit a deep HR into the parking lot of San Jose Municipal Stadium and I was listening on radio to the broadcasters HR call. I ran amongst the cars that night and grabbed Cody’s HR on one bounce. I met Cody later that night and he signed it for me. So when he came to AT&T Park this year, I was determined to grab a HR from him from my kayak! His HR last Wednesday was the longest McCovey Cove HR since Barry Bonds hit one 5 feet further on 8/21/06. I had my work cut out for me as two other fans where in better position to grab the Bellinger HR. I am the fastest paddler of the fans and in the end that helped me edge out one key kayaker who had a lead over me. I’m a Giant fan, but I’m first a fan of baseball and I appreciate great talent. Cody is great talent and I’m proud that I was Iucky enough to grab his 37th season HR. I’m pulling for him to hit #39 soon and become the all time rookie HR champ of the NL. I have no doubt he will get it. So for now, I have his last 2015 HR next to his first splash hit at my house. At least with Cody I have shown that while I am 61 years old, I’m capable of chasing HR’s on both land and sea!

    Next year, I will e chasing his HR’s at both AT&T Park and at the Oakland Coliseum when the Dodgers visit.

    As a footnote, I grabbed four HR’s last week. I also grabbed Jose Altuve’s 23rd season HR on 9/9/17 using my mitt at the Oakland Coliseum and I grabbed Denard Span’s splash hit #76 at 11:10 pm on 9/11/17. The game was delayed do to thunderstorms and I was the only kayak fan that made it to the end at 2:10 am. Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m a happy crazy!

    One last thing, this is not Cody’s last splash. I study players batting tendency’s and with his stroke, hitting splash hits is going to be an annual thing for him!

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      It is a pleasure to (e)meet you and an honor to have you visit our site, Dave. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      I will make no bones about it, I (and many/most who frequent this site) absolutely, positively and unequivocally HATE the Giants. That being said, I (and many/most who frequent this site) absolutely, positively and unequivocally love the game of baseball every bit as much as you do. As such, that kind of makes us kin – albeit in a Hatfield and McCoy sort of way.

      Your Bellinger / Utley splash-hit story is incredible and, in fact, you even got a shout-out from Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser on SportsNet LA, and from Charlie Steiner on AM 570 LA Sports Radio that night.

      Although I am blessed to receive media credentials for the Vin Scully Press Box two or three times per homestand, I am also a longtime season ticket holder out in the Left Field Pavilion (front row right in the power alley). As such and as you might imagine, I am also a home run ball collector. I was blessed to get Manny’s 550th (which I gave back to him in exchange for a signed replacement).

      However, at 63 years of age, I am not nearly the ball hawk that I once was and the competition out there seems to be getting younger as I am getting older … which I’m sure you can relate to even as a spry 61-year-old.

      Anyway, thanks again for dropping in on ThinkBlueLA.com and don’t be a stranger – even if you ARE one of THEM. lol!

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