The Joy of the Internet, Pt. 2

I wrote one of these posts a while back about trying to figure out which game Bunk and McNulty attend in a Season 3 episode of The Wire. This time, I’m curious about a different game, and we have a bit less information to go on, so it took a bit more digging to find.

The intro to the Drake song “Connect” features the call of a home run being hit. Given that it probably required getting the express written consent of MLB for this sample, my guess is that he got it recorded by an announcer in the studio (as he implies around the 10:30 mark of this video). Still, does it match any games we have on record?

To start, I’m going to assume that this is a major league game, though there’s of course no way of knowing for sure. From the song, all we get is the count, the fact that it was a home run, the direction of the home run, and the name of the outfielder.  The first three are easy to hear, but the fourth is a bit tricky—a few lyrics sites (including the description of the video I linked) list it as “Molina,” but that can’t be the case, as none of the Molinas who’ve played in the bigs played the outfield.

RapGenius, however, lists it as “Revere,” and I’m going to go with that, since Ben Revere is an active major league center fielder and it seems likely that Drake would have sampled a recent game. So, can we find a game that matches all these parameters?

I first checked for only games Revere has played against the Blue Jays, since Drake is from Toronto and the RapGenius notes say (without a source) that the call is from a Jays game. A quick check of Revere’s game logs against the Jays, though, says that he’s never been on the field for a 3-1 homer by a Jay.

What about against any other team? Since checking this by hand wasn’t going to fly (har har), I turned to play-by-play data, available from the always-amazing Retrosheet. With the help of some code from possibly the nerdiest book I own, I was able to filter every play since Revere has joined the league to find only home runs hit to center when Revere was in center and the count was 3-1.

Somewhat magically, there was only one: a first inning shot by Carlos Gomez against the Twins in 2011. The video is here, for reference. I managed to find the Twins’ TV call via MLB.TV, and the Brewers’ team did the MLB.com video, and (unsurprisingly) neither call fits the sample, though I didn’t go looking for the radio call. Still, the home run is such that it wouldn’t be surprising if either one of the radio calls matched what Drake used, or if it was close and Drake had it rerecorded in such a way that preserved the details of the play.

So, probably through dumb luck, Drake managed to pick a unique play to sample for his track. But even though it’s a baseball sample, I still click back to “Hold On, We’re Going Home” damn near every time I listen to the album.

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