Testee Award Winner: David Ortiz's "Tater Trot"

Several years ago, as part of their “Just Do It” campaign, Nike created a series of commercials centering on the theme: “Chicks Dig The Long Ball”. Following his 360 foot shot around the Pesky Pole last week against the Texas Rangers, however, Boston Red Sox designated hitter, David Ortiz, out-did the sportswear manufacturer’s popular promotion by calling attention to the aftermath of his actions, rather than the actions themselves.

Chicks may have dug the long ball back in the 90s, but these days “Big Papi” prefers to arouse them with his “Tater Trot”, as opposed to his Tater Shot.

The rule of thumb for fans on home runs has long been to either wonder how far a home run traveled, or how fast it found its way into the seats. Neither question matters when Ortiz is the subject of the swing because all anyone really wants to know is: how long did it take him to get around the bases?

Since we live in a time when every measurable statistic is recorded in Major League Baseball, few fans should be surprised to know there is a website that has tracked such extremely important information since 2010. It’s called the “Tater Trot Tracker”, and according to the site’s calculations, Ortiz’s cruise around the infield the other night timed out at 32.91 seconds.

32.91 seconds, according to assistant professor of mechanical engineering and biology, David Hu, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, is nearly 61% longer than it takes the average elephant to empty it’s bladder. Presumably the elephant has no control over the situation, however.

Question: Why does David Ortiz cruise around the bases slower than an elephant urinates, yet as relaxed as an Iowa farmer driving a John Deere tractor through a cornfield?

Answer: Because he can.

Generally speaking, any hitter who angers a pitcher with a lazy trip around the bases after a home run should avoid blinking the next time at the plate. Roger Clemens, for example, would ensure any hitter paid dearly for such a breach of etiquette by aiming a “fastball that got away” from him right at the player’s head.

Ortiz gets away with it though.

His breezy jogs are so routine that he recorded seven of the ten slowest Tater Trots last year. Presumably, after 18 years in the league, 433 home runs, and three World Series rings, not to mention an OPS of .929, he has established himself as one of the league’s elder statesmen, who pitchers are unable to intimidate.

More precisely, Ortiz has the balls to slow poke his way around the bases without fear of retaliation.

Any player who has the audacity to admire his homers while standing at the plate, and with a bat still in his hand, is demonstrating some serious balls. To follow up such a long glorious look into the stands by setting the record for the slowest Tater Trot provides a nuanced example of how the Testee Award is determined.

In the world of sports, the Testee Award is all about demonstrating Testiclees, or just “Clees” for short.

David Ortiz has reliably and repeatedly thrown down the Clees in the clutch; his 12th inning homer in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, for example, was “Classic Clees”. Subsequent to the bombing at the Boston Marathon last year Ortiz made his memorable speech at Fenway Park and reminded fans that “this is our (expletive) city!”. For most of his career he’s been the face and character of the Boston Red Sox. His incredible swag is embedded in the character of the team.

The style of his home run trot, however, is his signature response to hitting a ball into the stands, and it’s become a separate and remarkable story of its own.

In essence, breaching baseball etiquette, by taking your time around the bases — without fear of retaliation….  is pure Clees

And for that, the David Ortiz “Tater Trot” is the Testee Award Winner of the week.


Thanks for reading! “Testiclees” is a freelance writer, based in Seattle, who lives out his real-life under the fictitious name of Scott Gentry. Readers can view his blog at testeeawards.wordpress.com, interact with him @testeeawards on Twitter, email at [email protected] or “like” on Facebook. Give us a follow while you’re at it – @LastWordOnSport, and “Like” our Facebook page!

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