The inside the park homerun is widely considered one of (if not THE) most exciting play in a baseball game. The thing is, these inside the park homeruns are usually reserved for young guys with plenty of energy and the ability to get a few lucky hops on a ball they hit. Well, 34 year old Denard Span threw that playbook out the window in a 12-6 win against the Boston Red Sox.
The film of the hit is well worth watching. The center fielder makes an awful play on a well-hit ball, and Span wasted no time getting on his horse rounding the bases in a season-best record of less than 16 seconds. Span has always been known to steal a base or two, topping out with a season best of 31 in 2014 — but now that he is a bit older it was refreshing to see the Rays’ elder statesman still be able to leg out an incredible play like that. While it was only his third homerun of the year thus far, Denard has been playing the pivotal role of leader on a Tampa Bay Rays team that desperately lacks veterans and relies heavily on young players. If nothing else, now Span will hold some bragging rights over his younger teammates and proof that he’s still got it on the diamond.
Meanwhile, Span’s .379 OBP is a career high — certainly a promising sign for the Rays who picked up Span in a controversial trade this offseason. One thing you’ve got to love about Span is the excitement and energy he brings to the ball club, and that coupled with his leadership abilities make him the type of guy that teams (even rebuilding ones like the Tampa Bay Rays) can never get enough of. Perhaps other MLB squads will be calling the Tampa Bay front office asking about Span come trade deadline time, but my gut is telling me the Rays will not be keen to part with Denard as he is quickly becoming a fan favorite, despite this being his first season with the team.