New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge put on a show at the Home Run Derby in Miami on Monday, blasting 47 home runs and winning the tournament in three rounds.
Judge, the MLB leader in home runs this season, hit balls in every direction – opposite field, center field, and towering home runs that hit the glass walls in deep left-center field at Marlins Park.
Judge also smacked the park’s retractable roof, which, according to Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci, isn’t supposed to happen.
According to Verducci, when the Marlins were designing the retractable roof, they wanted to ensure the roof would not be hit with a ball and, thus, not interfere with play. Verducci reports that they studied air density and temperature and the flight of battled balls and plugged it into an equation from NASA to determine the geometry of the roof.
They arrived at a height of 210 feet at its apex, sloping down to 120 feet in deep-right center. From there, the Marlins, working with MLB to have the structure approved, determined a rule: If a ball were to hit the roof and not go out, it would be in play. If it hit the roof and a fielder caught it, it would be out. If it was in foul territory, it would be a foul, and so on. According to Verducci, no one had hit the roof in a game or in practice during Marlins Park’s five-year existence.
Enter Aaron Judge:
In the first round, Judge hit what should have been a round-winning shot but instead smacked the ceiling and fell short of the wall. Officials then, for the first time, had to put the ceiling rules into practice – the home run didn’t count, keeping Judge at 22 home runs. He hit the round-winning 23rd homer shortly after.
Judge also reportedly hit the roof in batting practice that day.
According to Verducci, the Marlins estimated that Judge’s moonshot during the derby hit the ceiling at 170 feet – 17 stories high, after traveling 300 feet.
If Judge continues at his record-setting pace in his rookie year, more ballparks will have to be wary of their roofs.