Philadelphians, today, were treated to a one-of-a-kind lunch break when local sports hero, Jimmy Rollins, pushed the limits of baseball in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for ‘Longest Batted Ball’ at Red Bull Ball Park Cranks. Shutting down Benjamin Franklin Parkway for an hour and a half, Rollins swung an altered bat produced by sports scientists and received over 50 pitches from his team’s Bullpen Coach.
Falling just short of the record at 463 feet, Jimmy not only achieved a personal best (previously 420 feet under conventional conditions) but also took home three other Guinness World Records including The ‘Most Plate Appearances in an MLB Season’, ‘The Most At-Bats in an MLB Season’ and ‘The Earliest Person with 30 Homeruns, 30 Stolen Bases, 30 Doubles and 20 Triples in a Single MLB Season’.
Getting distance is hard enough to do but today technology gave me another 40 feet.
“I knew it was going to be difficult but with the science and technology behind me, anything’s possible,” said Rollins. “Getting distance is hard enough to do but today technology gave me another 40 feet.”
Forming a partnership with two esteemed university sports science and physics professors and using state-of-the-art equipment, Rollins’ aim was to reach his full power-hitting potential. Already a difficult feat, the weight of the ball, the speed swing of the bat, and bat manipulation were just some of the influential factors. However, variables such as wind speed and air humidity were beyond human control
“It’s hard for any man to hit a ball that far,” said Bullpen Coach Mick Billmeyer. “The wind was against us today but I still think Jimmy did a great job."
Over 3000 cheering spectators lined the barriers, displaying their team spirit and hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite hometown athlete. On a warm summer Monday, with the Philadelphia Art Museum as the backdrop, Rollins may not have made history but he definitely opened the book of what’s possible.