David Cook, native of Missouri, kicks us off with his new single “Declaration.” Kind of a weird song choice (there’s no National Anthem at the HR Derby?) but that’s alright.
The order has been announced: Nelson Cruz, Prince Fielder, Brandon Inge, Adrian Gonzalez, Carlos Pena, Ryan Howard, Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols.
Right now we are watching some insanely stupid State Farm “Call Your Shot” thing where a middle-aged man who looks like he’s wearing panty hose calls which field he wants Albert Pujols to hit a home run to and then wins a car or something. It’s dumb. Get to the derby.
Nelson Cruz for the Texas Rangers is up first, he’s got the second most home runs in the American League with 22 and he’s just a rookie. Tonight he stays pretty much even between home runs and outs, ending the first round with 11 homers. He hits some absolutely monster bombs, reaching the 3rd and 4th tiers of the outfield searing. His longest was 471 feet.
Milwaukee Brewer Prince Fielder is the second batter and first for the National League. He gets a little shafted on coverage because the ESPN talking heads are interviewing Albert “El Hombre” Pujols and nobody seems to care that much about Prince. Weirdly, Prince isn’t wearing a hat, it looks funny. Also, he’s gotta be the fattest vegetarian on the planet.
There was talk before this started about some fancy-schmancy Doppler technology that is supposed to show us when a ball is leaving the park. I think Chris Berman is full of crap. Prince does similarly to Nelson Cruz, hitting 11 home runs too. His longest was 497 feet.
Brandon Inge is a utility player for the Detroit Tigers and is hitting third tonight. Inge pretty much screws the pooch, not hitting a single homer before he uses his 10 outs. Next!
Adrian Gonzalez, first baseman for the San Diego Padres, is up fourth tonight. He manages to not embarrass himself quite as badly as Inge did, hitting 2 home runs total. His longest was 416 feet. Weak sauce. Let’s get it going.
Hitting fifth tonight and representing the reigning AL champs Tampa Bay Rays is Carlos Pena. Pena is leading the American League with 24 home runs but does not get off to a great start, getting three quick outs before just squeaking one over the fence for his first home run. Overall Pena ends up witzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Wha? I’m sorry, I dozed off because Pena is taking so freaking long to get through this.
I blame his pitcher, McNulty. Seriously, he’s terrible. Somebody make a call to the bullpen, get somebody up in there. Pena finally ends up with 5 home runs total. His longest is 454 feet.
I hope Ryan Howard, Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols bring their A games because this is a really boring Home Run Derby so far.
Ryan “1 million strikeouts served” Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies is our sixth hitter tonight. He starts off much like Prince and Nelson, hitting about one homer for every out. The announcers draw our attention to Howard’s bling and seriously. He has like a geode in each ear. Howard ends up with 7 homers, his longest at 434 feet. All Pujols and Mauer have to do is hit 8 homers to advance.
The seventh hitter tonight is catcher Joe Mauer from the Minnesota Twins. If I was going to have an AL team, it’d be the Minnesota Twins. I really like their ball club. Mauer is a rare find in a catcher who has won two batting titles. Tonight he isn’t on fire and ends up with 5, which ties him with Carlos Pena. Mauer’s longest was 458.
As long as Pujols hits 6 homers, he’ll advance, but they add up the home runs from the first two rounds, so hopefully he’ll get more than that. Also, there’s a bit of pressure on him as the hometown guy, so hopefully he doesn’t go out and hit like 3 homers. That’d be embarrassing.
The Best Hitter in Baseball is the eighth hitter in round one, he plays first base for the St. Louis Cardinals. After two quick outs, he finally belts one to left center field but then gets five more quick outs before he finally gets his second and third homers. He has to get six to advance, five to get into a playoff for the last spot.
Down to his last out, he only has three home runs. Yikes. He squeaks his fourth home run out on the golden State Farm donation ball, but he still needs one or two more. Finally he gets his fifth home run. Maybe Pujols just knew I was bitching at home boring it was and decided to add some drama. Plus, he’s forced State Farm to add $34,000 to their donation just from his last two homers.
Pujols ends up with 5 homers, so he is in a playoff with Joe Mauer and Carlos Pena. Man. It goes Pena, Mauer and Pujols and they only get five swings TOTAL.
Pena’s first swing is a homer, then next is a foul ball, then a bloop into the outfield. He doesn’t do anything with his last two swings, so Pena ends up with one home run.
Mauer goes up hacking and wastes his first three swings on two hits to the outfield and a foul ball. His fourth swing is right at the base of the wall and then his fifth falls short as well, so Mauer ends up with a goose egg.
Big Albert really struggled in the first round and doesn’t start off well in the bat-off, hitting one to the outfield. However, his second and third swings are where Albert gets his groove back, as he sends them deep into the bleachers.
So our advancing players are Nelson Cruz, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols. In the second round they go in order of least amount of homers to most, so Pujols is up first. We’re also back to the 10-out format.
Albert Pujols Round 2
Pujols gets two quick outs before hitting his first homer to straightaway center, then gets six more quick outs. Poor Albert. However, he then rattles off three homers in a row, so with two outs left, he’s got 5 homers in the second round for a total of 10.
He gets the ninth out without having hit enough to advance to the finals but he takes the Golden Ball for a ride to the left field upper deck, so his total is now 11. He then gets the last out and ends up with 11 home runs total, which is probably not enough to advance.
Ryan Howard’s Round 2
By the time Howard has gotten to 7 outs, he’s put up 5 home runs, giving him 12 total and putting him in the lead. Pujols is all but eliminated. Howard then gets two quick outs but manages to hit the Golden Ball out three and ends the round with 15 total.
Nelson Cruz’s Round 2
Cruz has to be a little stiff, it’s been two hours since he hit his first round homers. It doesn’t seem to bother him too much, though, as he ends up with 5 for the 2nd round and 16 total.
If Prince Fielder can hit 5 homers, he’ll advance to the finals with Nelson.
Prince Fielder’s Round 2
Fielder gets three quick outs, then hits a couple dingers, then gets a couple more outs, then hits a couple more homers. With still five outs to give, he has tied Ryan Howard with 15 total, so one more homer advances him. And then he gets his last homer and it’s Nelson Cruz and Prince Fielder in the finals.
Fielder keeps going (because of the Golden Ball) and his next homer is the longest of the night so far at 503 feet. He finishes the second round with six homers, which gives him 17 home runs total.
Nelson Cruz is up first and he just starts lighting it up, hitting some humongous dingers. With five outs, he’s got five homers, but then he gets four quick outs without another home run. With the Golden Ball, he gets his final out and Nelson Cruz is done with five total in the final round.
Prince Fielder steps up and gets five homers on four outs, so he’s got six outs to get his final home run. The fans come to their feet to cheer as he takes another swing, though Fielder ends up getting three quick outs before he can hit his sixth homer of the round to win it all, a big homer to the straightaway center field.
Congratulations to 25 year-old Prince Fielder on his Home Run Derby win. His father Cecil Fielder, an MLBer for the Detroit Tigers, competed in three Home Run Derbies but never won.