Byung Ho 'Parks' one in rare Target Field area

Mammoth homer to batter's eye in center amazes Twins players

Byung Ho 'Parks' one in rare Target Field area

MINNEAPOLIS -- A day after Byung Ho Park crushed a mammoth homer over the batter's eye at Target Field in Saturday's 6-4 win over the Angels, the Twins were still buzzing about the blast.

Park connected on a 79-mph slider from Joe Smith, and deposited the ball into the new section in center field above the batter's eye called "Catch." The homer left the bat at 108 mph and traveled a projected 451 feet, according to Statcast™.

"Watching some video from the game yesterday, they did a quick pan of our dugout as the ball sailed into whatever that level is called, and it was fun to see that," manager Paul Molitor said. "That was maybe the funnest part of that game, just seeing how we reacted to that home run. But he's settling in. He's still got a ways to go before he's fully acclimated here, but it was nice to see that."

Bartender who caught Park's HR

Park's power isn't a surprise given that he hit a combined 105 homers over the last two seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization. But his homer went into an area that's only been done a few times, as the only other Twins player to homer over the batter's eye in center is Jim Thome. The Twins estimated the homer at 461 feet, and ESPN had it at 466 feet, which would be the longest homer hit in Target Field history, beating Thome's 464-foot blast in 2011.

"I knew it was gone right away, but then you see where it lands," third baseman Trevor Plouffe said. "I told him there are only a few guys who go there. Josh Hamilton, Miguel Cabrera, Jim Thome, Giancarlo Stanton. That's about it, man."

Plouffe, who holds the Target Field record for career homers with 49, said it's even rare to see a player hit one that far in batting practice. He said he's excited to see what Park can do once he settles in.

"I was telling Andrelton Simmons he's got real pop, but he's just adjusting right now," Plouffe said. "But it's definitely real pop."

The Twins recovered the baseball from Park's homer, and plan to display it where it landed.

"There are not very many that go up that way, even in batting practice," general manager Terry Ryan said. "He got that one. When it left the bat, I didn't anticipate that's where it was going. He's a strong guy."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.