Rays designated hitter Nelson Cruz hit an unusual home court in a game that at first baffled commentators and fans alike, but ultimately counted. Thanks to the unusual quirk at Tropicana Field, He extended the Tampa Bay Rays lead against the Sox in the first game of the ALDS on Thursday.
Nelson Cruz hit the controversial hit in the 3rd innings of Game 1 at Tropicana Field which is a domed ball field. The home run traveled so high that it struck the cat ride near the roof of the field.
A look at the contractions that disrupted the ball. Under the rule, and makes things clear. Any ball that strikes this structure is a home run. The Rays were ahead 2-0 at this point. Nelson Cruz hit Nick Pivetta’s hanging slider out to the left field. A couple of the Sox outfielders followed the hit.
At first, it appeared that Nelson Cruz’s strike had missed the home run as the ball dropped around 10 yards ahead of both the outfielders. But it still got declared a valid home run.
Commentators And Fans Initially Confused At Nelson Cruz’s Home Run
The announcers and fans were initially confused. But it became apparent that Nelson Cruz had managed to belt the ball high enough to hit the catwalks of Tropicana Field. These numerous catwalk rings are installed across the whole stadium.
It was the C or the D ring that got hit. The rule book was clear. Any batted ball striking the lower catwalks is a home run. It includes suspended objects and lights attached to one of the catwalks and even angled support structures connected to the rings.
Nelson Cruz at 41 years and 98 days thus becomes the second-oldest hitter to manage a post-season home run. He trails Julio Franco who managed two hits in 2001 when he was 43.
It is not a common phenomenon, but the catwalk got hit before. Prince Fielder slammed into it in 2013. Infielders were left confused before, as the ball bounced in a different direction or did not come down.