Nothing like an inside-the park HR

A triple is fun to watch, but not as much as an inside-the-park homer -- or anything that brings you to your feet.

Originally Published: August 9, 2004
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
It seems like just yesterday that I heard a broadcaster say, "Maybe the most exciting play in baseball is the triple." Oh, wait ... it was yesterday, and I think it was Bert Blyleven. Either him or the guy who was filling in for Dick Bremer and gets excited about infield singles. Anyway, that's what I've been hearing for a long time: that the triple is the most exciting play in baseball.

I'm not so sure about that, though. I used to believe it, but these days it seems most triples don't even include a close play at third base. And if there's not a close play, then how exciting can it be? How exciting is a triple? Since the 2000 season, batters have tried to stretch a double into a triple 4,628 times, and they've been tagged out only 6.5 percent of the time. Ho-hum.

Inside-the-park home runs are a different story, though. Over the last five seasons (including 2004), batters have tried to circle the bases 93 times, and they've been out at home 26 percent of the time. What's more, because there's an extra 90 feet involved, there's also that much more time for the excitement to build, as we track the ball and the runner toward their intersection at the plate. So while the triple is exciting, my vote goes to the inside-the-park homer.