The 10 best atmosphere-scraping moonshots from this season in honor of the moon landing
On this day, 46 years ago, the Apollo astronauts finally landed on the moon. After their rocket had blasted off from Earth and reached that barren driving range, Neil Armstrong took a step out of his vehicle and said, "Whoa. I must have taken a wrong turn at Poughkeepsie."
Of course, that wouldn't stand for the American populace, so they re-dubbed his audio so that on July 20, 1969, every man, woman and child heard, "This is one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind."
In honor of that and thanks to the NASA-like Statcast™ machine, today we celebrate man reaching the cosmos with the greatest moonshots from this season. But rather than merely go by greatest distance traveled, we are highlighting those that scraped the edges of our atmosphere with the highest launch angle.
10. Brandon Belt - 42.56 degree launch angle
According to the Canadian legal definition of aircraft, being "any contrivance used, or designed for navigation of or flight in the air," this home run ball counts as aircraft. Which also means that Brandon Belt should be put in jail as he was piloting it without a license.
9. Jose Altuve - 42.87 degree launch angle
Rumor is the Houston Rockets were thinking of changing their name to the Houston Jose Altuves as according to an anonymous source, Altuve has "proven he's a more effective delivery vehicle of objects into low-Earth orbit than a mere rocket."
8. Dexter Fowler - 42.98 degree launch angle
Did you know that this home run almost convinced movie executives to greenlight a second "Mars Needs Moms" film? It's true.
7. Jose Bautista - 43.23 degree launch angle
Carl Sagan once wrote about this home run: "There is perhaps no better a demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world viewed from this dinger."
6. Brian Dozier - 43.95 degree launch angle
A number of people called the police when they saw this home run, worried that all time had stopped while the ball hung in the air.
5. Hanley Ramirez - 44.97 degree launch angle
This home run proved that we're living in a Truman Show-esque universe as Ramirez's dinger clearly scraped against the top of the artificial sky and did not float through the cosmos forever.
4. Mark Teixeira - 45.12 degree launch angle
When this landed, scientists were hopeful that it had picked up some outer space bacteria. Turns out, it was just mustard.
3. Nelson Cruz - 45.12 degree launch angle
When the announcer said that this ball had a "lot of hang time," he wasn't kidding. He was just a young child when the ball was hit and was receiving social security benefits once it landed.
2. Bryce Harper - 49.04 degree launch angle
You know those photos of Pluto that we're all so excited about? Yeah, they were taken by this home run.
1. J.D. Martinez - 49.74 degree launch angle
Martinez's home run has never actually landed. No, this ball actually knocked the moon out of orbit and took its place in the sky as Earth's best friend. And the ball that fell? That's the last remaining moon rock as the rest was destroyed by Martinez's galaxy-shaking blast.