Ben Revere has batted 506 times in the major leagues. He does not have a home run. He is not the only regular this year to be held without a dinger - both Chris Getz and Jamey Carroll are similarly dingerless - but Getz and Carroll have homered in the past. Revere has not. Revere is still searching for that elusive number one.
We've written before about Revere's first attempt to create a home run out of a simple ball in play. It seems cheap, like an inside-the-park home run shouldn't count the same as a regular home run, but with Revere, it might be the best he can do. Why do I say this? Consider his spray chart, from Texas Leaguers:
These spray charts don't show where the balls were hit. These spray charts show where the balls were fielded. Those six balls hit to the track - those had all bounced there. Ben Revere has so little power that the outfielders can afford to play shallow enough to read the catcher's signs.
So an inside-the-park home run - sure, it's not the same as an outside-the-park home run, but it's a home run, and it represents Revere's best shot to leave behind the homerless and join the ranks of the homered, alongside players from Barry Bonds to Chad Tracy to Damian Rolls. Hallowed company, in part.
I suspect that Revere knows this. It's why he went for glory last month in Detroit, ultimately getting gunned down at the plate. And it's why, Tuesday night, he went for glory again, this time at home against Kansas City. In the penultimate game of the season, Revere saw an opportunity, and he went after it.
You can watch the video highlight here. If you don't feel like it, though, this is how the play began:
It's important to understand that Revere didn't hit the ball particularly hard. He hit a soft low liner into left-center. It was the center fielder diving for and missing the liner that opened the door. Some players - most players - need to crush a pitch to hit a home run. Ben Revere's best chance comes on bloopers like these. Revere might never smash a ball into the upper deck, but Albert Pujols will never hit a homer on a flare to the outfield.
As soon as Jarrod Dyson came up short, the crowd erupted, knowing full well what they might see. And as soon as Jarrod Dyson came up short, Revere knew full well what he was going to do:
Revere was rounding second at full speed by the time the ball was recovered from the warning track. I don't know if that put him on a good pace for an inside-the-park home run. I don't know if that put him on a bad pace for an inside-the-park home run. I suspect the latter, because the third base coach told Revere to hold up, and the announcer in the highlight said "Revere to third, and they're going to hold him" rather matter-of-factly, without a hint of surprise.
The surprise came when he said "No! He goes through the stop sign!" But he probably shouldn't have been surprised. Nobody should have been surprised. Revere knew what he was going to try to do from the moment his flare hit the grass, and he wasn't about to let some authority figure in funny pants tell him to stop.
This was the moment the dream died. Alcides Escobar threw home low, but Salvador Perez made a terrific pick, and had the ball in his glove in good position with Revere still a solid 15 feet away. At this point, there was nothing for Revere to do. He couldn't exactly try to run Perez over. He couldn't try to jump over him, or slide beneath him. Revere was dead, and hoping for a miracle that didn't come.
Maybe that shot looks familiar. There's a reason for that.
Two times in two months, Revere has come tantalizingly close. Two times in two months, Revere has busted his ass around the bases in pursuit of his first career home run. Both times, he was gunned down at the plate. Ben Revere is not a player who builds his game around home runs, but he and the rest of us have to wonder if that goose egg's ever gonna hatch.