We all know what Sidney Crosby
can do on the ice, but on Wednesday afternoon the Penguins captain displayed his all-around athletic skills by hitting a home run at PNC Park during batting practice with eight of his fellow Penguins teammates.
Stepping into left-handed batter’s box a la Pirates rookie slugger Pedro Alvarez, Crosby smashed the fifth pitch he saw off the base of the wall in right center field not far from where Alvarez delivered his game-winning hit on Tuesday night.
As soon as the ball left Crosby’s bat, Dupuis knew what Crosby’s near miss meant.
“We are going to be here all day if he doesn’t put one out,” said Dupuis half-jokingly.
Crosby, who played baseball until the age of 13, didn’t hit a home run during his first go-around, but a shot off the fence located just above the Clemente Wall in right field that missed clearing by inches made him all the more determined to take one yard.
About 20 minutes later Crosby stepped to the plate again, and after about 15 more swings and three more near misses – including a ground-rule double – the Penguins captain quickly drew his hands through the hitting zone and connected on a belt-high inside pitch and delivered a mammoth 370-foot home run to right field.
“It was halfway up the deck there above the Clemente Wall – pretty impressive,” former Pirates first baseman Sean Casey said.
“I’ve never done that before,” smiled Crosby just seconds after hitting his blast. “I had a little bit of an edge because of I am a lefty. To be able to come out here was awesome and to be able to put one out was great.”RELATED ARTICLE: Penguins Spend the Day Bonding During Batting Practice at PNC Park
Pirates rookie second baseman Neil Walker, a Pine-Richland native and avid Penguins supporter, participated in batting practice and he came away impressed with Crosby’s hit.
“He obviously has some serious hand-eye coordination,” Walker said. “I think he would catch on pretty quickly. He is a natural athlete. That was quite a shot right there. That was all of 360-370 feet. That’s some serious strength there’s no doubt about that.”
Following his hitting barrage Crosby wanted to say thank you to the Pirates for allowing him and his teammates the chance to spend a late-summer afternoon bonding at the ballpark.
“It was nice for the Pirates to have us out here,” he said. “We appreciate it. A lot of us don’t normally have the chance to do something like this.”