It’s an adage among baseball fans that there is no more exciting play than the inside-the-park home run, and New York Mets fans have been blessed with a few very entertaining “inside-the-parkers” in their history. There’s an obvious thrill to seeing a player known for their speed sprint around the bases without the ball ever leaving the yard. There’s also a certain charm to seeing a player NOT known for their speed somehow, against all odds, end up with an inside-the-parker.
In recent years, the Mets have certainly been on the short end of a couple inside-the-park home runs. The very first pitch of the 2015 World Series, thrown by Matt Harvey to Alcides Escobar, ended up as an inside-the-park home run thanks to some unfortunate misplays in the outfield. I’d like to think that I still had complete faith that the Mets could win the World Series after that, but it was such a deflating way for this monumental series to start that, I admit, I lost some hope.
On a much more positive note, the Mets have also hit several inside-the-parkers themselves in recent years, 28 total in their history. Stadiums constructed these days tend to have less cavernous outfields than did older stadiums, so the phenomenon is fairly uncommon.
However, even the Mets are not totally immune to the occasional “missed dive-turned-inside-the-park homer” that goes their way.
Here are a few recent Mets inside-the-park home runs to jog your memory, though hopefully not as fast a jog as it took these players to circle the bases.
June 18, 2018: Brandon Nimmo
When the Mets, or any team for that matter, go to Coors Field, the public expectation is that the ball will be flying out of the ballpark. Leading off the game on a warm June day in 2018, Brandon Nimmo decided that he’d rather homer at Coors in a more unconventional way.
On an 0-2 count against Colorado Rockies starter Tyler Anderson, Nimmo lofted a fly ball to deep right-center field, where it landed between the outfielders and took a hard bounce off the wall away from both of them. Nimmo is known for always sprinting to first base, even on a walk. He put his speed to good use here, leaving the batter’s box at a breakneck speed and never slowing his pace until he had touched all the bases for a leadoff inside-the-park home run.
The “happiest man in baseball” had a wide grin on his face as he high-fived everyone in the Mets dugout after completing his home run trot. It was the first inside-the-parker of Nimmo’s career, the Mets’ first inside-the-parker since Ruben Tejada in 2015, and the Mets’ first leadoff inside-the-parker since Angel Pagan in 2009.
“It took a funny bounce [off the wall], so something was working my way for that first at-bat,” Nimmo said in a postgame interview. “That was pretty cool and a great way to start it off. Just kind of loosened things up after that.”
That inside-the-parker was part of a 12-run barrage of support that the Mets provided Jacob deGrom, and also was the second home run in as many at-bats for Nimmo (his power stroke provided the go-ahead home run for the Mets vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks the day before).
If there is any baseball player I trust to always run hard enough to turn any outfield misplay into a potential inside-the-parker, it is definitely Nimmo.