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Home run derby running diary

This is what was running through my head while watching the 2006 home run derby:

7:58: The experts just made their picks. John Kruk picks Troy Glaus. Steve Phillips picks Ryan Howard and says he has "light tower power." Any clue as to what he's talking about? And did he make that up or did Karl Ravech feed him that line? Speaking of Ravech, he picks David Ortiz.

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8:00: Big & Rich are performing. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about new musical acts, but I've never heard of these guys. All I know is the lead singer is rocking an Abe Lincoln-like hat and they keep singing about a ying-yang.

8:07: The players are introduced. The highlights are Florida's Miguel Cabrera doing a fake tip of his hat and Howard walking the wrong way when he is introduced.

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8:09: More expert picks. Joe Morgan picks Ortiz. Chris Berman picks Jermaine Dye. And Ravech says there are alot of Phillies fans in attendance since Pittsburgh is not far from Philly...even though it is a six hour drive. That's okay. I'm still a big Ravech fan.

8:15: Miguel Tejada is the first competitor. The announcers tell us that three batters are using Ramon Henderson, the Phillies bullpen coach who pitched to Bobby Abreu last season.

8:21: Tejada hits the money ball out. A tribute to the ABA? Nice touch. Three homers total. That probably won't be enough to move on. However, on a bright note, fans cannot complain that Tejada didn't run out ground balls, and word has it that Tejada arrived to the field two hours early.

8:29: Lance Berkman hits one into the Allegheny River, but finishes with only three homers. My buddy bet 10 dollars on Berkman. Oh well. He won some money on Italy winning the World Cup. And yes, he has a gambling problem

8:40: Cabrera hits his fifth home run and Berman immediately tells us that it was 458 feet. How do they get these measurements so quickly? Meanwhile, the camera spans to the most creative sign of the night so far that reads Hit it here, I chug a beer. No word on whether or not it was David Wells carrying the sign. Meanwhile, Bonnie Bernstein interviews Ivan Rodriguez and asks him what is different about Detroit this year. Hmm...wonder if he's heard that one before. Cabrera ends with nine bombs.

8:48: The announcers talk about how Glaus has struggled in past home run derbies, but Harold Reynolds says he has done well in other home run contests. When do these take place? Do players just head to the park in the offseason and have private contests that Glaus excels in? We used to have home run derbies when I was a kid. A homer was in the street at first, but then we switched it to across the street as we got older. The final twist was when we added the rule that someone in the outfield could rob homers. Maybe that's what Reynolds was talking about.

8:54: Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca is pitching to David Wright. He flies out on his first swing to left field, and a guy who looks to be about a foot taller than the rest of the kids catches the ball. Did this guy run on to the field? Why is there one 18-year-old running around with a bunch of fifth graders?

8:58: Wright hits his eighth homer, and the camera focuses on Cleveland's Grady Sizemore who looks like he either just woke up or was hanging out with Ricky Williams earlier today.

9:00: And now the worst sign of the night: "Papi has pop." Pure genius.

9:02: Wright puts on an impressive show, slamming 16 homers to take the lead. He also curses twice, but his words are bleeped out. Good stuff.

9:08: Dye steps to the plate as guest announcer A.J. Pierzynski grabs a mic and says his teammate has no chance. Pierzynski goes on to mention how he offered to pitch to Dye, but Dye declined. Hmm...I wonder why. As Dye slams seven homers, Pierzynski speculates that his bat is corked and the balls are juiced. Meanwhile, the White Sox catcher talks about how difficult it is for a lefty like himself to bat in the AL Central. Somewhere, Michael Barrett is smiling.

9:17: I love how Ortiz spits on his hands and rubs them together before batting. I might start doing this before I sit down to blog. If every player looked like they were having as much fun as Big Papi on an everyday basis, the ballpark would be a much better place. Ortiz hits 10 bombs.

9:33: Howard says his idols as a kid were Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. I wonder how old they feel right about now.

9:40: Howard struggles at first but ends up hitting eight homers and advancing to the next round. Each gold ball hit out means $21,000 donated to charity. Howard slams four of them as guest commentator Ortiz yells, "He's donating!" Who will be the first Sportscenter anchor to steal this term? I think it has potential. Picture Scott Van Pelt screaming, "Albert Pujols gets a hold of this one and he is straight DONATING!"

9:46: Wright begins the second round with a pair of bombs. As a Phillies fan, I can only hope that his performance triggers some type of curse that causes the Mets third basemen to struggle for the remainder of his career.

9:49: For the 523rd time tonight, the announcers remind us that for the first time this year, the first round score carries over into the second round. Wright finishes with two homers but has a total of 18 (because the first round score carries over). He looks tired though and won't have much of a shot if he reaches the finals.

9:51: Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon joins the announcers and says he has $100,000 riding on Big Papi to win. He later informs us that he was playing dominoes with John Daly and Charles Barkley earlier in the day. Ortiz hits three to increase his total to 13 bombs.

10:05: Cabrera hits a shot that is caught by a fan in the first row of the outfield stands. It is initially ruled an out, but then Cabrera is given credit for the homer. No word on whether the fan was Jeffrey Maier.

10:13: Bonnie Bernstein interviews Astros manager Phil Garner and asks him about the young sluggers in the National League. Garner refers to "all the stuff that's going on" to make the point that the young talents are not getting enough attention. Does Bud Selig prohibit managers from saying the word steroids? Big Brother is watching.

10:19: Howard advances to the finals against Wright with an impressive second round performance. After one of the replays, Harold Reynolds says something like, "That's one of those where you just pose because you know you got it." For the record, H.R. slammed 21 homers in his career.

10:26: Chris Berman yells "MEATBALLS!" I'm not sure what's going on at this point. How is this thing taking three hours?

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10:44: Howard wins while hitting a Mastercard sign that gives one fan 500 free flights. Is that legit? I hope the winner has friends. Who gets on a plane 500 times? Maybe I misunderstood the promotion. For the record, the Phillies haven't won a World Series in 26 years and haven't made the playoffs in 13 years. However, they now have produced back-to-back home run derby winners.

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