Usually we focus on the Worst of the Night each morning here at Horsehide Chronicles. But maybe we shouldn't always traffic in the negative—especially when someone does something so impressive that it can't help but be celebrated as Best of the Night.
If there was any question as to whether Ryan Braun was pressing at the plate (chasing bad pitches, as Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel reports), trying to erase all of the questions about his offseason drug testing controversy with a few good swings, he may well have finally done so Monday night in San Diego.
Braun hit three home runs as part of a 4-for-5 night in the Milwaukee Brewers' 8-3 win over the San Diego Padres. Joe Wieland was the victim of the first two blasts, while Ernesto Frieri served up Braun's third long ball of the night.
No part of Petco Park could contain Braun, as he hit each of his homers to a different part of the ballpark.
His first shot went opposite field over the right-center field fence. The second one was a bazooka shot into the upper deck of the Western Metal Supply Co. in left field (does anyone sitting on that terrace ever expect to catch a home run?). Braun's final homer was just over the fence in the left-center gap, sending a Padres fan into a giddy hop.
“It was just one night,” said Braun after the game. “There’s no doubt this is one of the more challenging, if not the most challenging places to hit home runs in the league. It’s been a challenge for me and for us this year."
Don't get all modest on us, sir.
The reigning National League MVP had a chance to hit four consecutive homers, coming to bat in the ninth inning. Braun came close to that fourth one, sending a drive deep to right-center, very close to where that first home run landed. It landed on the warning track, and Braun ended up with a triple.
In any other ballpark, that probably would've been a home run. Petco Park didn't rob Braun of much Monday night, but it likely cost him a fourth homer.
Still, three home runs and a triple is certainly a fine night of work at the yard. Over the past 50 years, Fred Lynn is the only other batter to have pulled off that feat, doing so for the Boston Red Sox in 1975 (that bit of trivia comes from the aforementioned Mr. Haudricourt).
In one night, Braun's OPS went from .822 to .994.
Clearly, such an undertaking wouldn't be necessary if the Padres could just put nine Ryan Brauns in their lineup.
Yeah, moving in the fences would probably be less expensive. And more scientifically feasible. But cloning a team of Brauns is something the next Padres ownership group might want to consider.
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