Exactly 178.9 feet. That is the distance from third base to home plate to first base. It’s 88.9 feet from third base to home plate, and then another 90 feet from home plate to first base. Those numbers seem simple enough, right?
Just ask freshman relief pitcher John Michnick that question and see what he says.
The College’s baseball team was on its annual spring break trip to Winterhaven, Fla., when rain caused the team’s game to be postponed on that Tuesday. In search of some “team event” to do, the coaching staff decided the team would attend that night’s University of Central Florida baseball game.
“Right when we walked in, (the staff) spotted us right away,” Michnick said. “25 college kids all dressed in TCNJ shirts, we had to stick out.”
The employees at the park asked the team to choose four people to participate in the first annual hot dog race at UCF.
“I immediately volunteered,” Michnick said. “No one else wanted to.”
Head coach Dean Glus volunteered fellow freshmen Steve Rosen and Mark Mari. With one spot left to fill, the team unanimously decided on freshman catcher Matt Facas.
“He looked like a little kid before his first roller coaster,” Michnick said.
Ten minutes later, in between the top and bottom of the fourth inning, a hot dog, mustard, a Diet Coke can and a regular Coke can appeared in front of third base, some more reluctant than others.
“The plan from the beginning was to stop Facas from winning, no matter what,” Michnick said.
As the race began, Mari, the Diet Coke, got out to a huge lead and looked to have the race won easily. Michnick and Rosen were jostling for second, with Facas not far behind in fourth.
“I looked and saw Steve coming up on me, so I tried to take him out,” Michnick said. “I just ended up taking out myself instead”.
As you can see on UCF baseball’s Vine page, Michnick, the hot dog, seemed to trip over his own feet.
“It was definitely the rain’s fault,” Michnick said. “The field was wet. I would’ve won if I didn’t trip.”
Michnick gathered himself and continued down the first base line as the UCF fans started to heckle him.
“The best one I heard was some kid yelled ‘Hey, I bought you for a dollar,’” Michnick said.
Michnick bashfully trudged across the finish line, to reunite with his teammates, who “just thought it was hilarious.”
Facas responded to Michnick’s plan by saying he actually tripped Michnick.
“I guess the tables turned on that one,” Facas said.
After the race, Michnick begrudgingly took the long walk up to the second level, by the rest of his teammates.
“They all thought it was hilarious,” Michnick said.
Every team member in attendance would probably agree, that as Michnick put it, “it was the highlight of the trip.”