The headline suggests a value judgment I’m not actually making, particularly because I remember the three referenced homers quite well, and it was a fun night. Instead, I’m just talking about the EXTENSIVE AND SCIENTIFIC STUDY performed by the Cespedes Family BBQ chaps into the most irrelevant home runs of the 2021 season.
It is indeed quite stupid, but also quite fun!
🚨A STUPID INVESTIGATION🚨
There were 5,944 home runs hit in the 2021 MLB regular season.
Some were important. Many were not.
But which was the single most irrelevant home run of the year???
— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) December 15, 2021
Given the Cubs’ fall from contention by late June, you can already call it a given that they probably hit a lot of “irrelevant” homers later in the year. A relevant homer matters, both in the at-issue game, but also in the season-long outcome. By contrast, an irrelevant homer is the kind that simply doesn’t matter at all for the season or even for the game where it happens. I’d never considered trying to figure out the MOST irrelevant homers in a given season, which is probably why I found the post so much fun.
The post goes through the process of chopping down all 5,944 homers in 2021, first excising the ones that had even a 1% impact on the game’s outcome probability (which gets you all the way down to 489 pure garbage time homers), and chopping further from there.
By the Elite Eight, you’re down to a group that includes three Cubs homers, all from a single game in Miami:
How dare you call any Frank Schwindel home run irrelevant?!
I’ll spoil a little of the fun and say that none of the three Cubs homers were the “winner,” mostly for the reason I remembered them: they combined to make that game feel a little, “ooh, is this maybe gonna happen?” But, hey, three of the eight most irrelevant homers all season! Pretty special!
As for the game, the Cubs were in the midst of another massive losing streak – this one coming just after the Trade Deadline – and they went down 14-4 by the third inning. By the 8th inning, they were doing some fun things, but it wound up still not being particularly close: